Marts across the country are changing their rules around ringsides, car parks and in offices in a bid to remain open with the coronavirus pandemic.
Some marts have cancelled sales, some have scaled back socialising at marts and some canteens are closed.
Many marts are implementing the Irish Co-Operative Organisation Society (ICOS) procedures, which you can read here.
Aurivo Marts has announced that it will be temporarily suspending all of its livestock sales from Monday 23 March until at least the end of the month.
Pre-booked sales at Ballymote on Thursday, Balla on Saturday and Mohill on Saturday will proceed under strict protocols, including:Only customers that have business to conduct should attend the marts. Strictly no children allowed.Buyers must observe the recommended protocols around social distancing and there will be restrictions around the number of sellers allowed to attend the ring. Sellers who do not want to attend to sell can request the mart to do so on their behalf.All mart canteen facilities will be closed with immediate effect.Anyone who has been out of the country recently or been in contact with people exhibiting any symptoms is asked not to attend.
Associated Livestock Marts
Associated Livestock Marts (ALM), which represents many privately owned marts in Ireland and some co-operative marts, has said its member marts will be making their own decisions on whether to continue to trade or not.
It has asked that mart patrons take the following into account:We kindly ask that only ‘trading customers’ should attend marts until further notice, ie only those buying or selling livestock. We are very aware that the mart is very much a social outlet for farmers, but we feel it prudent to ensure numbers are kept below recommended guidelines. We most respectfully ask non-trading patrons to refrain from visiting until further notice up to 29 March 2020 when further guidance will be provided.The number of people attending individual mart ringsides at any one time will be limited to 100, which will be managed on a strict rotation system, ie using admission cards which will be rotated among patrons at the entrance/exit to the mart ringside or other such monitoring methods as devised by the mart.
The Irish Farmers Journal has asked ALM for the names of the marts operating under its banner.
Ballybofey and Stranorlar Mart
Ballybofey and Stranorlar Mart is continuing sales, but with strict guidelines in place.
Everyone entering the mart must sign in, so the mart has a log of all people on premises in case of virus spread.
The mart will only permit buyers to enter. No other members of the public will be permitted to the yard or ring.
Social distance being practiced by buyers during a sale at Cahir Mart.\ Donal O' Leary
Animals, both cattle and sheep, are unloaded by members of staff. Sellers must remain in vehicles and give cards, dispatch dockets and contact information to members of staff when unloading.
Sellers can either be phoned prior to the sale of their stock and be permitted entry only then or can leave a reserve price for stock with mart, or conditional sale. This will be agreed between seller and mart.
Sanitising will be increased and adhered to by all mart staff and persons entering the mart. Gloves and sanitiser will be available on arrival.
Buyers must keep a safe distance from staff in the office area and no one (purchaser or seller) should attend the mart if they are feeling unwell in any way.
Buyers must be kept at least two metres apart in the sales ring. A member of staff will make sure that this happens. We ask that everyone will show understanding in this regard. Children are forbidden at the mart.
The canteen will remain closed for the foreseeable future.
Baltinglass Mart continues to operate, but advises farmers who are not buying or selling stock in the mart to not attend. Children will be refused entry.
Only buyers, sellers or hauliers may enter Blessington Mart and no children will be permitted. The sale ring will be limited to a maximum of 100 people and sales will continue until the mart is advised otherwise.
"Please do not attend the sale if you are feeling unwell or have recently travelled to affected areas. Please use hand washing facilities provided," the mart has said.
Saturday’s sale at Cashel Mart will be a calf sale only from 10am. It has said Department of Agriculture guidelines will be adhered to.
Central Auctions covers marts in Birr, Nenagh and Roscrea. All three marts are closed until further notice.
Clare Marts operates marts in Ennis, Scariff, Kilfenora and Kilrush. The marts have tightened rules, with sales at Kilfenora cancelled until further notice.
Sellers will not be allowed in the chutes and will have to advise mart staff of the way they wish to have their cattle numbered at the point of unloading.
Sellers will only be allowed in the sales ring for the duration of the sale of their stock or alternatively can have their stock sold subject to their approval.
Limited access will only be allowed in the sales rings to people who have business to conduct there.
No children allowed and absolutely only people with business at the mart are allowed to attend.
Anyone who has been out of the country recently or has been in contact with anybody exhibiting any symptoms of coronavirus is asked to not attend.
All canteen facilities are closed.
Cork Marts’ six marts - Bandon, Cahir, Corrin, Dungarvan, Macroom and Skibbereen - all have strict restrictions in place.
For calf sellers, it has a drop-and-go system in place, where sellers will remain in their vehicle, staff will unload, then the seller leaves the premises.
Farmers taking precautions at Cahir Mart where the ring was restricted to buyers only and one seller at the time. \ Donal O'Leary
Cattle sellers are to unload stock, have access to the auctioneer for their own lots only and then leave.
All buyers must pre-register in the office for ring access and the marts are operating with the 100-person limit.
Dowra Mart has strict hygiene and social distancing guidelines in place to make it possible to proceed with sales and only trading customers are allowed.
The mart has asked any member of the public who is feeling unwell to not attend and children and not permitted to attend the sale.
Granard Mart has new procedures in place. Only the sellers and regular buyers will be allowed entry. No children will be allowed on the mart premises.
The GVM Group is to suspend sales at its marts in Kilamallock, Tullamore, Drumcollogher, Abbeyfeale and Carrigallen, except calf sales, until at least 28 March.
Calf sales will take place in:Kilmallock on Monday and Wednesday evening.Drumcollogher on Thursday.Abbeyfeale on Saturday.Carrigallen on Saturday.
Headford Mart in Galway is limiting the number of people at the sales ring to 90. Ninety cards will be given out to people entering the ring and given back as they leave.
The mart is asking anyone under the age of 16, anyone not buying or selling and anyone feeling unwell not to attend the mart.
Farmers who can’t go to the mart but want to buy stock should notify the mart and it will organise the purchase of cattle.
The mart is asking all customers and staff to use hand sanitiser on the way in.
Thursday’s sale at Gort Mart is going ahead. There will be no sales on Friday or Saturday. In a notice, the mart said that stewards will be on duty at the front gate and throughout the mart. Only buyers, sellers, hauliers and staff are allowed entry. No children or onlookers are allowed.
The mart’s canteen facilities are closed. The mart is enforcing social distancing and providing gloves and hand sanitiser to those allowed to enter.
Gortatlea Mart held a calf sale on Thursday, with strict protocols in place. No decision has been made on sales over the coming weeks.
Only limited access will be allowed in the sales rings to people who have business to conduct there and at all times will be restricted to less than 100 people.
It asks only people with business at the mart to attend (buyers, sellers and hauliers).
Parents are requested to keep children away from the mart at this time due to the current situation.
Inishowen Mart has a number of sales over the coming days, but has strict protocols in place.
Iveragh Mart at Caherciveen, Co Kerry, is still operating, but under the the ICOS rules.
It is allowing buyers only in the ring for the upcoming show and sale on Tuesday. Sellers will be notified when their lots are for sale.
The mart is allowing buyers only into the sales ring and is setting up extra screens in the car park so sellers can see when their lots are coming up.
The required distance spacing will be painted on to seating and the ringside. The calf ring is to have no more than 30 buyers present.
Kenmare Mart is following the ICOS procedures and is getting attendees to register when they arrive at the mart.
Security was provided for both rings with a ticket entry monitoring numbers at Kilkenny’s sale this week. Numbers never exceeded 80 people. The fact that the mart has individual seating ensures that all people were a safe distance from each other.
Kilkenny Mart limited numbers to 80. \ Claire Nash
All buyers had to be seated and the ring sides were cordoned off. Mart manager George Candler said most customers wore latex gloves and hand sanitisers were dispersed throughout the building.
The three marts under the Leinster Marts banner, Carlow, Kilcullen and Borris, are all running, but with restrictions in place.
"We're complying with every suggested piece of advice. We've banned anybody from the ring and mart that doesn't have business here and we've banned children," mart manager Jimmy Walsh said.
"Only active buyers are allowed at the ringside and we have notices on the corridors which say 'no loitering'. We're running a very limited canteen - it may not be open next week," he told the Irish Farmers Journal.
Sales at Loughrea are going ahead, with a number of protocols. Farmers are asked to keep 2m apart, sanitise their hands and no children are allowed.
Mid-Kerry Mart is continuing with sales and will be enforcing the HSE guidelines around distancing and hand sanitising.
Farmers are asked to not enter the mart premises unless they are a buyer, seller or haulier. No children will be allowed and the mart will be limiting the number of people around the sales ring.
Sales at Mid-Tipp Mart in Thurles are going ahead, but the mart will be restricting the number of people on the premises.
“If you do not have business as a buyer, seller or haulier, please do not attend. We will be limiting access to sales rings to a maximum of 100 people.
“Children will not be allowed access to the sales ring,” it said.
The Offaly mart is closed until further notice.
If you have questions about coronavirus, we have some of them answered here. If your question is not on the list, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Calf exports hit by coronavirus chaos
Coronavirus: your farming questions answered
Ireland to ask EU to open private storage aid to support milk prices
Coronavirus: message from the Irish Farmers Journal editor