Just shy of 50% of farmers who responded to an AgriLand poll believe that ‘viewing times’ at livestock marts should exceed 30 minutes.

Some mart operators have decided to allocate viewing times on the days that sales take place, so as buyers can inspect livestock prior to the auctioneer beginning the sale.

Once the viewing time comes to an end, farmers are not allowed to walk around the yard – in a lot of cases – where livestock are being held.

This comes has many marts have decided to restrict the level of access people have to certain areas – especially the mart’s yard, where livestock are being moved on a regular basis during the sale.

The introduction of these more stringent health and safety measures followed an accident in Mohill Mart, Co. Leitrim, last month. A man had to be airlifted to hospital following a serious accident involving a bull.

How long should ‘viewing times’ last?

Since the the roll-out of these new measures, marts have opted for viewing times of varying lengths – with periods of 15 minutes and 30 minutes being put in place in some marts.

However, the results of an AgriLand poll – which was responded to by approximately 1,000 farmers – indicates that viewing times exceeding 30 minutes would be preferable.

A total of 41% of those who responded believed that a viewing time of 30 minutes would be acceptable, with 32% opting for this to be extended to 60 minutes.

Some 17% of farmers who took part in the poll were in favour of a viewing time of 45 minutes, with the remaining 9% choosing the shortest time frame – which was 15 minutes.

Mart operators have urged farmers – both buyers and sellers – to be patient and to co-operate with mart staff as they try and deal with the “teething issues” that will be encountered as a result introducing these more stringent safety measures.