THE UK’s “first dedicated virtual pedigree livestock sale” is to be held in Cumbria as farmers adapt to the constraints of the coronavirus lockdown.

Online bidding in the Border and Lakeland Club’s annual spring sale of pedigree Holstein and Friesian bulls will commence tomorrow at 9am, closing on April 14 at 5pm.

Glyn Lucas, senior dairy auctioneer at Harrison & Hetherington (H&H), which is organising the event, said: “We find ourselves in exceptionally challenging times, but it remains an important time of the year for farmers and it is imperative that the flow of breeding animals, that are critical to our milk supplies, is able to continue in order to reach the necessary businesses and individuals.”

He added: “At H&H, when we are faced with problems, we need to be able to present the solutions and we do hope that the industry will get behind the sale and support the farms who have brought stock forward.”

The sale will comprise 70 bulls: 49 Holsteins, 13 British Friesians and eight Fleckviehs. Photographs and videos of all entries will be placed online with accompanying notes ahead of time.

Kevin Wilson, of Thursby, near Carlisle, who is selling 10 bulls at the event, felt the animals were being presented in the “best light possible to potential buyers” given the current epidemic situation.

“I have prepared the bulls by washing, clipping and videoing them leading on the halter from all angles. We will have them on our own Facebook pages along with the online auction,” he said.

“It is very innovative to sell them under these circumstances and we hope to secure plenty of bidders to realise the best price. We are even happy to retain the bull under the purchase if the buyer can’t take it straight away.”

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