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Home Is... In the Livestock Market

Wed 18 December 2019

Lloyd Humphreys works in both the rural and property sectors of McCartneys. Here he shares what home is to him.

Awakening before the crack of dawn in order to prepare for the lengthy day ahead, amidst the hustle and bustle of the livestock market. I check the stock of cows & sheep at home on our farm in Caersws, before commencing the 21 mile journey down the meandering road to Knighton, whilst anticipating the entry for the day ahead.

Soon after arriving the trailers start to roll in, anxious vendors begin repeatedly interrogating me on what trade is expected. The lambs tend to overwhelm the market for the first hour or thereabouts. Several of us race round the market, the first step being to unload the lambs whilst the grader makes his way through them ensuring they are all in the correct condition for sale. The lambs patiently queue whilst waiting to be weighed, before the drovers direct them down the alleyways and into the pens.

As the morning goes on the cull ewes start to take most of my attention, carefully sorting them in to appropriate lots for sale, it is a very hectic few hours. Despite this we still find the time to catch up with the local farmers as it is often the only chance in the working week to see anybody. Farming can be such a lonely job they can often spend up to 10 hours a day working alone and when you have so much time on your own, you tend to over think. The market provides a social hub and a place for everyone to converge, have a laugh and exchange stories, it is essential for the rural community.

The other auctioneers and I then head back down to the market office, once we are sure there will be no further late arrivals, in order to carry out the draw. The draw is where we pick which pen number we start auctioning at.

Farmers wait anxiously outside in anticipation. The bell then sounds as the senior auctioneers head along the alley and up onto the plank in order to commence the sale. The buyers line up along the pens whilst being surrounded by hordes of people inquisitive to hear the trade of the day. All focus is on the dulcet tones of the auctioneer, putting every effort into achieving the top price for the vendor.

Shortly after the sale of lambs I carefully arrange the sale sheets before we move on to the cull ewes section.  We announce the sale over the loud speaker whilst also venturing into the canteen to inform the buyers. The process is almost a duplicate of the section before, but this time it’s another colleague and I in the limelight. We always commence the sale at the top of the row before making our way along the rows of ewes with several laughs throughout the sale.

On a poor trade this can be a cold almost lonely place to be, whereas on a roaring trade there is no place quite like it.

The market quickly wraps up and almost becomes deserted within a few minutes after the sale. The sheep are quickly loaded up on to the lorries and the drovers begin the meticulous job of washing down the yard in preparation of the sale the next day, where it all starts again.

For me, that’s where I feel at home.

Lloyd Humphreys
Knighton (01547 528621
)
Newtown (01686 623123
)

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