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Real time global livestock bidding system launches

Mainland UK’s first with real time global livestock bidding system.

Jonathan Watson

Jonathan Watson – Bowsden Moor

Leading Northern livestock marts business Harrison and Hetherington is launching the first live online bidding auction in mainland UK. This system is a shop window for customers wherever they are in the world, allowing them to watch the auction from their smart phones, tablets and computers and bid in real time.

This is a system which uses unique technology, to allow online bidders to view livestock in the ring at the same time as people at the mart. It is currently being trialled and will be used for the first time at the flagship Black & White sale of top dairy genetics at Borderway Carlisle on December 6.

Harrison and Hetherington has invested thousands of pounds to bring Xcira Online Ringman to the UK from the USA. The system has been supplied by Newline ASP, seamlessly into their auction system that is used to run the mart’s back office processes. To ensure that Bidders don’t miss out, wherever they are and whatever they are doing they can also download the Auctioneer app for iPhone – the world’s first smartphone app for live online livestock bidding.

Commenting earlier Harrison and Hetherington Operations Director, David Pritchard, said: “Over the last few years we have invested heavily in our seven marts in Northern England and the Scottish Borders to provide buyers and sellers with the very best facilities.

“The new online live bidding system really creates a mart fit for the 21st Century, where bidders anywhere in the world can see livestock in the ring and compete in real time with bidders at the mart.

“The new system really puts us at the cutting edge of the industry and will be immensely valuable at our major commercial and pedigree sales throughout the year, which regularly attract UK buyers and on occasions international as well. We are expecting the technology to benefit not just buyers, but also for vendors, by creating a wider customer base interest.”

The system has been thoroughly trialled and tested ahead of the Black & White sale at Carlisle. Bidder’s musts first register at Harrison and Hetherington’s website at and once verified, they will be given a unique log-on that allows them to see, hear and bid in real time. Although previous systems have allowed people to watch auctions live, this is the first time the technology has been made available to allow them to bid.

Mr Pritchard said: “The bid button is real time, so the second you have a bid it goes to a clerk in the sale ring, who will place your bid exactly like a telephone bid. The camera and audio are always delivered sub-one second, so you are not behind in the bidding.

“You can now literally bid from the comfort of your armchair, while seeing and hearing exactly what people at the ringside are able to.”

The technology uses two cameras – one beside the auctioneer and a secondary one in the pre-sale area, so bidders can also watch the animals they are interested in while they are in the holding area.

Newline ASP, which provides back office online services to around 85% of the UK’s livestock auctions and has worked with Harrison and Hetherington for 15 years, has integrated the Xcira Online Ringman technology into its system.

Newline’s Managing Director Paul Christian Jones who is overseeing the project said: “The data is entered into the Newline system as normal and we then pass it through to the online system, so anything the local buyer sees in the mart the online bidder will also see.

“Rather than compromising the sales ring, this will increase its reach, meaning that vendors have a new shop window and potential customers who can’t get to the sale have new opportunities to get involved.

“Initially the technology will be available for use at specialised sales and Harrison and Hetherington will be able to use it whenever they want as other sales attract interest.”

Harrison and Hetherington expect the facility will be especially popular for the top pedigree and dairy sales, which have a global audience.

Jonathan Watson, Redhead & Watson of Bowsden Moor, and Tweeddale Charolais, Tweeddale British Blue’s, Tweeddale Limousin’s, Brijon Suffolks & Brijon Texels gives his thoughts in this new system:

“This is a significant benefit to me as a regular pedigree livestock seller through Harrison & Hetherington. Customers who are unable to attend the auction either because of other commitments, or distance, can now bid for my animals and view them in real time therefore significantly increasing our range of potential buyers”

This is reiterated by  Mr Pritchard who added: “This is an additional bidding platform. It provides the opportunity to bring new customers to the markets and allows them to get involved without having to travel to us, although they could be anywhere in the world – even bidding from a plane while they are in the air.


“This really is the future.”

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