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Watch: Liniers Market, Buenos Aires — the world's biggest mart
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Watch: Liniers Market, Buenos Aires — the world's biggest mart

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Adam Woods reports from the Mercado de Liniers in the centre of Buenos Aires, Argentina, reported to be the largest livestock mart in the world.
Adam Woods reports from the Mercado de Liniers in the centre of Buenos Aires, Argentina, reported to be the largest livestock mart in the world.

The Mercado de Liniers in the centre of Buenos Aires, Argentina, is claimed to be the largest livestock market in the world. It covers 34ha in a built-up area in the centre of the city.

It dates back to 1900 and was set up to supply the slaughter houses in Buenos Aires with meat for the city market. It has capacity for 20,000 head and cattle are sold in batches of 20 to 40.

Different auctioneers use the market and sell stock at different times during mart day. Some cattle travel over 1,000km to come to the market and many are in the market the day before the sale.

One farmer I spoke to, Alan Cook, loaded his animals on the Thursday morning to travel the 500km journey to be in Liniers on Thursday evening for the mart the following day.

He estimated that his animals lost on average 7% in weight on the journey. All animals in the market are bought by local meat packers for slaughter on the same day and last Thursday no lots went home unsold.

Commission is 2% to the selling auctioneer and 2% to the market centre, so 4% in total.

A catalogue was printed with lot number, seller, number of animals, animal type, weight and payment terms which could be seven or 14 days.

Efficient

All cattle drovers are on horseback and the market is extremely efficient in moving stock and selling them. With the auctioneer moving on an improvised golf buggy through the pens and buyers standing on platforms above the cattle, it took 1 hour 35 mins to sell 3,700 cattle in Liniers market last Thursday.

In general trade was back a little on the previous week with high killing numbers putting pressure on prices.

Many farms sell their animals to factories on a liveweight basis and prices are currently in the region of €1.60/kg for steers and heifers and €1.35 for cows.

Browse the picture gallery above for photos and prices from the sale.

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