SellMyLivestock in action
7th February 2015
Please note: the views expressed in this article are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of SellMyLivestock.
Paul and Madeleine Crawley were absolutely delighted when they heard they had been awarded a tenancy on 660 acres of National Trust land around the beautiful West Sussex village of Slindon. After several years contract dairy farming they were keen to progress and secure a tenancy. They had applied for several farm tenancies, prior to this one but despite getting closer each time hadn’t been successful.
The challenge though, was finding breeding stock – they needed lots of it and quality was important to both of them. Paul graduated from Wye College and then worked as farm manager and latterly ran his own contract farming business together with Madeleine who is also is a vet. Both are well aware of the threats farmers are facing from the spread of disease and wanted to make sure bought in stock were as healthy as possible and so they were really keen to see the livestock on farm prior to purchase. In August they turned to SellMyLivestock. After all, they figured, if they can do their shopping online, or for that matter, look for farms to buy or rent, then why not look for stock too?
Fortunately for the Crawley’s, Hampshire Farmer Graham Tosdevine had just posted 45 Lleyn Beulah shearlings on SellMyLivestock. He’d set a fairly reasonable reserve price and although he usually sells through market, recent closures meant he was now looking at a hundred mile round trip – and one with no guarantees at the end of it. Paul, along with five other farmers started bidding on Graham’s stock. ‘In the end I had two people come to look, so it was easy,’ says Graham. ‘I got more than the minimum I was hoping for, so in the end I was very happy,’ he adds. Graham’s clearly no slouch when it comes to the commercial side of the business – he and his brother farm over 2,000 acres around the village of East Meon, mostly sheep but some beef too. After a few days the deal was done and Paul arranged collection.
A few weeks later they spotted Fran Drake’s posting. She had 95 Lleyn for sale. This amount along with the stock from Graham Tosdevine would enable them to make a good start at their new business. Paul went to visit Fran at her farm near Romsey in Hampshire and was instantly impressed with the quality of the stock and Fran’s farming methods. ‘It was great to chat to Fran, see her stock and understand their history before bidding. The third party payment that SellMyLivestock operates makes things very easy and fair’ says Paul. Madeleine agrees,’ buying the sheep through SellMyLivestock has been very simple, excellent from a biosecurity point of view and financially as painless as possible!’
Fran’s nearest market is in Frome in Somerset, a journey that can easily take two hours when the traffic’s bad. Although she’ll still use the market, she says SellMyLivestock is a useful addition. ‘To be honest, it did take a bit of getting used to and I had some help from my niece, but once you understand how it works it’s simple,’ she says.
Today Paul and Madeleine are still looking for stock. ‘Well we’re always on the lookout for Lleyns,’ says Paul, adding ‘but we’re also after Beef Shorthorns and don’t laugh, but Zwartbles as well.’ Madeleine, who is laughing, is quick to explain, ‘they’re a really docile, friendly breed and it’s a great way to get our young kids in to farming.’ Looking at the professionalism and commitment of the Crawley’s and their beautiful new farm, you can’t help thinking their children won’t need much persuading.
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