Next Episode of Coast and Country Auctions is
Coast and Country Auctions is a series looking at the stories behind Britain's most exciting traditional markets and getting under the skin of auction houses that are at the heart of coastal and rural economies.
This edition focuses on Exeter Livestock Market - the biggest agricultural auction in the West Country, which on a busy day can sell nearly 4,000 animals. Sheep seller Stuart Crang is bringing 80 sheep to market, and with sheep rearing being seasonal, he has to make the most of his income in the next few months, so prices are vital. Buyer Roger Heggadon has to take care he does not pay too much. With nearly 2,000 sheep on his farm, and another 100 to buy today, it is a volume business that needs a clear head at auction. In the pig auction, buyer Rodney Phillips needs to buy at least 100 pigs to supply over 40 regular customers - from butchers to wholesalers - across the West Country.
This programme spotlights Brixham Fish Market, established for over a hundred years, and currently turning over around ú30 million a year - more than any other English fish auction. It is a tough life for auctioneers John Rogers and Todd Crombie, who have a 4.30am start every weekday. Sellers like fisherman Matt Ould can also find it a tough life as well, with prices always unpredictable. Buyers at the auction range from traders like Josh Perkes, spending thousands of pounds a day on fish that will go to his many high-end restaurant clients, to smaller local businesses like Jackson Ltd, which has been in Matt Endacott's family for nearly 100 years.
This programme follows proceedings at the Bala Autumn sale - home to one of the UK's most important sheepdog auctions. Nearly 80 dogs are on sale today, to buyers from all over the UK and beyond. Auctioneers Glyn Owens and Elfor Morris must battle atrocious weather, while seller Emrys Jones, a veteran of the sale for whom training and selling sheepdogs is an important part of his business, hopes to get well over ú2,000 for each of his dogs at auction. His son Osian is helping his dad with the business and hoping to buy a young dog of his own at the auction, to train up and sell later. Seller Dewi Williams also needs to supplement the income from his small farm. He has been training sheepdog Jess for eight months, and he and son Goronwy have high hopes.
A focus on the Spalding Plant and Vegetable Auction in Lincolnshire, the biggest market of its kind in the country, hosting three sales a week where as many as 1,000 bags and boxes of veg and up to 16,000 plants, shrubs and trees are sold in a day. Farmer John Dix aims to sell nearly a tonne of potatoes, but there has been a national potato glut recently, so prices could be a worry. The Spalding Auction is vital for buyer James Dawson, who has a bustling fruit and veg stall in Scunthorpe Market. He must strike a careful balance between getting the stock he needs to keep the stall running and paying low enough prices to make a profit and pay himself a wage. And Charles Stubbs, a man with 10 garden centres to buy for, needs 4,000 plants, trees and shrubs to keep empire supplied.
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