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Imagine a career where you could travel the world promoting the very best in Irish food and drinks brands. Imagine combining that with the free, fully funded master's degree and a generous tax free bursary to be a talent academy is offering you an opportunity that could change the course of your career in partnership with you. Michael Smurfette, Graduate Business School. We're now enrolling for the Marketing Fellowship applications closed by November 27th.


For details, contact Bordier Delegate Fellowship that Pat Kenny show on news talk with major private network during current restrictions. Don't ignore your health concerns. Our expert team is ready to help. Level five restrictions have led to many industries having to adapt to online forums. Now, one of the restrictions having a major impact on the farming industry is the closure of the Mott's. After a number of issues in the last couple of weeks, farming groups have been calling for the markets to open fully before restrictions are set to be lifted.


In December, Newstrike reporter Shavon McQuain found out how farmers have been managing with virtual auctions.


If you've ever been to the market, you'll recognize that sound of betting.


Now that we're in level five, the Department of Agriculture has said that Marte's must only hold livestock sales online. The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association is calling for markets to open and be recognised as an essential service. Only two weeks ago, a glitch in the system led to thousands of sales cancelled and animals left standing with their feet for hours. Here's General Secretary of the ICC, Eddie Ponche.


What people have to understand is that the livestock markets are a vital part of the entire beef trade. If we don't have livestock markets fully functioning and they have to be profitable as well, of course, then the entire livestock trading system breaks down. And we don't want a scenario where farmers have no option but to go direct to meat factories.


And anyway, that's only suitable for fat cattle, younger stock such as we have here, or such as many farmers throughout the west of Ireland would have. They have to sell to other farmers, you know, for example, breeding, breeding stock, cows, pedigree bulls. All of these kind of animals need to be brought in in a fully functioning livestock auction. Have members come to you over the last few weeks with concerns that, you know, it's just not working out for them with the virtual system?


There's the broadband issue, but there's also the fact that even with good broadband, people like to look at stock before they invest lots of money in these animals. You know, if we look at a pair of animals here, it's the same kind of cost as a second hand car. Each animal in a soccer herd is worth maybe a hundred, maybe a thousand euros. And if you want to buy a lorry load of those, you want to see them in real life before you make that kind of an investment.


And do you think there has been much support from the government? You see, I think the problem is that the government and, you know, civil servants and, you know, even, for example, Nafiz and DHC, these are people who, with the best will in the world, don't understand the importance of markets in terms of setting a price, in terms of making sure there's a transparent, open market. Their markets are central to that. In our grandparents time, markets were set up because people didn't really trust the fair system that used to work.


There was a real sense there that farmers were being ripped off in terms of not having an open functioning marketplace. So that's why livestock markets were set up to provide confidence that you could get the best price possible for your animals this time of year, as well as crucial for a lot of farmers, too, isn't it, in terms of buying and selling?


Yeah, a lot of a lot of, for example, the Socotra herds, they have their main sales this time of the year. And we also have pedigree sales of bulls, for example, at the moment, these continue into the springtime and it's a really important decision for every farmer to buy, you know, a quality bull. One particular breed society had a sale recently where there was no opportunity to view the bulls at all. There was no bid for them because people couldn't see them.


So you can't work without that. And it's a really important time of the year. This is the time people make or lose their shorts. And they can do that on the basis of watching a grainy video with bad broadband and hoping that everything works out for the best.


Not running out there. And I've there enough already. And I've already know this is what an auction sounds like over your laptop or iPhone. Sean Ryan is the manager of Six Mile Bridge Market. He's found the last few weeks extremely challenging, yet ninety nine point fifty nine. Twenty nine, thirty nine thirty nine.


So you might just give us an idea of what a typical day in the market is without the online system, maybe what you've been doing even in level three when you had social distancing in place?


Yeah, our typical Saturday here, we have approximately the same year, 406 on the cattle prior to the lock down. And level three, we have our master, you can see around here every four metres. So people are coming in or standing in their spots. This marked out here sort of just two metres, but be side by side and from the back. And it was walking quite well. We could live in twenty seven people entering here, the buyers to be aware they could see the cattle coming into the entered into the ring.


And as one buyer said to me in recent times, when you you're going to get in underpin it isn't the same. Looking to get inside the ring, you can pick up some some an animal inside the ring where you won't pick up inside, inside in the bin, when the buyers view the cattle here in the mornings between 10 and 11, they're no longer allowed into the viewing area are the rings. So the sitter broadened her cows, twos and threes that we've no control over.


So in my view, this is far more dangerous than if the buyers were inside and the of control, 50 percent of our buyers that comes in here and sellers would be middle age ports that wouldn't have a modern maybe a modern pawn. Don't have the technology just just here today and wouldn't understand it as well. It's a big ask of those people to try to accommodate what's happening at the moment.


The technical aspect is a huge factor when it comes to this. What difficulties have you encountered over the last couple of weeks?


Well, the phone is a big issue. And I'll give you one example of a farmer that has been on cattle here yesterday. And he had his cattle picked out and he was anxious to buy the cattle, but all of a sudden his phone froze and he missed the bone of his cattle.


So it's just far more far greater difficulties in there, because that's just one example of how farmers are trying to cope.


I think the powers that be need to go back and take a serious look at this and take some of the hardship away from from the farming system at the moment, even if when when we were on level three to a very cautious, very careful, we're always had done my son and I was able to talk to people at a distance to I was very careful about what I did as a market manager.


And for the people who work in markets, just how stressful is it trying to manage everything from the virtual land to to the social distancing to managing the cattle coming in and out?


It has been extremely difficult and extremely stressful, mentally and physically on both the staff and the management.


But look at where Copan put it is it is all of us, the hawks and our facilities have to goes home, you and maybe six 1/2, six and even and we're mentally and physically drained.


It's as simple as that. You know how long we can we can stick. It remains to be seen.


So how are farmers from this transition to trading online? Mike is a farmer based in Six Mile Bridge.


We're here in the cattle shed in the farmyard.


Would you be a regular go to the market or certainly going every week?


I buy a good number of cattle every year. These new restrictions have certainly made things very awkward. You're only allowed in for an hour to view the animals and it's next to impossible to examine all the cattle, especially when they are packed tightly in a pen. The other one then is the phone. Yes, you can bid on the phone. That's if you can get reception. And that's a big problem around here. And six Walbridge, like we get a lot of complaints about the Internet delays and also freezing a lot of, dare I say, all the people now wouldn't be that tricky with an iPhone.


They just given up on it.


Have you got any kids online in the last few weeks or have you kind of stepped back from us? Yes, I have. I in Six Mile, which I've seen them. I had a look and I like what I saw and I went home and bought my name. It was just because of the necessity. I like the animals and I wanted to have them. I was able to put the bids online. I wouldn't I wouldn't like it full time.


Nowhere, nowhere makes probably such a difference in items. You can't go gently on the small screen. So if you were going to the market, what generally would you be looking for?


If I'm doing business is looking for store animals like you see in front of you, I go for a particular breed, Aberdeen Angus. I would have a contact with a meat factory. They in turn go to little stores. That's what I'll be after.


So what do you think of the idea of under level five restrictions? You can have your your meat factories open, you can have supermarkets open, but then the beginning of the food chain, you have all these restrictions. You know, I can't see why we're locked out like that. Could let 20, 25 people in with safety, with medicine. And it was successful before there was no incidence of covid recorded automats. I can't see why we are are picked on.


Do you think farmers have got a lot of support from the government over the last few months, taken the beef industry? No, it's the pits. I mean, prices are as low as there have been ten years ago. Yes, we have got some support for slaughtering animals up to a hundred. That doesn't cover the slaughter. People are the people who wouldn't be slaughtering animals direct to the factory. They have a lot on their plate at the minute, but we haven't got anything extra or even the for the other sector get.


So I'll give you five or ten seconds to that.


Some farmers have adjusted well and can see the benefits to Maraz being available online. I called to John it in Quynh who just happened to be keeping an eye on the action and certainly in carrying it. Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah. But you do the next bit. If I was you know and I was. I just don't know. OK, but that would go green. OK. Find my way to deal when someone else goes back to yellow. Oh, when your line is green and all, you're the highest bidder.


Whoever is offered for 90 years on a green line. I know it's after jumping to get in here, I'm standing there.


Let's just say there was no one moment when you put pressure on you. I remember being happy that I. Well, yeah. Zahrani Civilian SMK the adjustment on the screen then, you know, you know, from television yourself, you'll always look bigger on television. You know, someone is on television. They'll definitely live cattle look a bit better on this trip. A friend of mine bought a complicated thing today and really got weak when he saw on Earth.


We're going to arrest me because he thought it took me a while to adjust into it, get used to getting online and using the app. And I am into it now. After a couple of months trying it. What would you say the advantages are to using the online version? The advantage is, is you can do your own thing. You have to make up your own mind and you can do it from the comfort of your own house, your car or whatever lorry or whatever you don't even like.


You shown showing me the process of it. You have to be really in tune with it all. You have to be get your timings right. And like I said, I couldn't even really understand.


It's kind of olingo that they get into themselves. But I take no no assistance when you are used to to use tools for anyone to come in at the speed that we talk and to is they have to ensure that you'll find the last the last figure that are going to Selamat. You'll definitely know what it is.


And is there a chance? Well, maybe you might put a bet that you don't want to put on it. There's no back pedaling, I'm sure of it. Once you have a bit of it. And that's the concentration. That's your problem.


Do you think you'd maybe spend more time looking at the bright side, the fact that they're online? Not particularly, no. You have to work as well. The master should be interested. You just watch it for a while, you know, but you've got to be like a joke to you.


After a while, you go there's a part time farmer. His weekly trip to the market brings him a lot of custom for his tractor business as well.


We used mayor to sell our wailings, maybe three or four groups a year, definitely for the winter. Every Saturday, we use the March quarter for lunch. There is a social there's no Saturday. I don't go to the market. I don't do a bit of business. Whether it's somebody looking to change our tractor, to service our tractor, they'll call you aside and say, you must do this for me next week. That whole element has gone out of it.


How have you found it since the restrictions kicked in?


Now you're at home. You're wondering whether your Internet will keep working or what are the people on the other side can see, the quality that you brought to the market. So it's a massive change.


Would that have an impact on your sales then as well? You know, if people are a little bit hesitant, you know, trying to do it online, there's pluses and minuses in the whole thing.


But a lot of the people have expressed worries that they're not going to get what they deserve. And on the day, if you're only getting just 500 euros for your animal, you think he's worth six will you can walk outside the door. The guy who was trying to buy uranium may follow you out and he could say, look, we'll split the difference. I'll give you 650 for that option is not there with the online service. The seeing is always when you bring your cattle to the factory, there's no coming home.


If you go to the market and you're not happy with the price, you can bring the animal home, whereas that is less or no. One or two people that I have spoke to are putting off the sale of their Darwinians. They're hoping in the new year they're saying, I'm going to hold these and hopefully in the New Year or March will be back open and will be able to do business properly. That is people that may be leaving themselves short a few pounds between now and the spring and maybe running up extra costs which don't need to be run up, extra feed bills, everything else, just talking to other farmers.


Like how have they found with the restrictions in place, have they found it difficult to market every Saturday here in six? Walbridge would be a big social thing for them. Then you'd never buy or sell anything. But they did meet all their friends that have the news for the week. Here in Six Mile Bridge, you have Harlene where people will meet at matches demarked you have Mass or you have the Pope for this time of the year. You have none of them any given Saturday and American six month bridge.


You look at the back wall where this is where the guys is to go for the chat and go to take in what's happening. You'll have maybe fifteen guys down along each side of the back. Well, let's talk to people that are there just for the social side. It's having a big effect. And those people, it's different if you've got a wife and children to go home to. Some of these guys are living on their own. They come from rural areas.


They don't have the pub, they don't have the market. So there's a big gap in their lives. One particular customer of ours, when my children told him that I sold some cattle using the online system and he was right, I need to talk to him. So he rang me up and got me up the following day to download the app on his tablet because so I just got a report yesterday that he had a great day Saturday watching America Online.


That doesn't work for everybody out.


Are they all overall? I saw 930 it now that I started at nine thirty that night. Nine thirty and that rebought.


From Shavar Moquin. Imagine a career where you could travel the world promoting the very best in Irish food and drinks brands. Imagine combining that with the free, fully funded master's degree and a generous tax free bursary for to be a talent academy is offering you an opportunity that could change the course of your career in partnership with you. Michael Smurfette, Graduate Business School. We're now enrolling for the Marketing Fellowship applications closed by November 27th. For details, contact Bauby, a delegate fellowship.