Pedigree Sales: An Interview with Tommy Staunton
Catherina Cunnane, That’s Farming editor, in conversation with Tommy Staunton, Galway, founder and CEO of Pedigree Sales Ltd.
Renowned cattle breeder and entrepreneur, Tommy Staunton, Co. Galway has been instrumental in changing the way the pedigree cattle breeders across the country and the UK do business.
Establishing an online sales platform, Pedigree Sales, for his own use paved the way for a sectoral change, enabling breeders to “sell direct off-farm on a national stage”.
He created the platform in 2016 to showcase, market, promote and sell young heifers and bulls from his pedigree herd, Caramba Beef Shorthorn.
By repeating the Caramba Beef Shorthorn online sale in 2017 and 2018, he “quickly realised” that the online livestock sales sector was a “super” way of marketing his own cattle to a wider audience.
This enabled him to achieve record breed prices year on year. 90% of the cattle that changed hands went to new homes in the UK with repeat customers each year.
In 2017, he achieved a female bred record price of €5,200 for Caramba Rothes Kissable after she sold to Scottish breeder, Catherine Williamson.
In 2018, five heifers sold for an average of €5,350 and topping the sale that year was Caramba Rothes Lovable at €8,400.
According to Tommy, the heifer, which Tom and David Bradley-Farmer acquired for their Scottish Meonside herd, set a new breed record that still remains unbeaten today.
Then back in the spring of 2020, just as Covid-19 restrictions kicked in, Staunton received a phone call from Henry Savage of the renowned Trueman Limousin herd in Northern Ireland.
He enquired about the possibility of using the platform to conduct an online sale of young heifers.
Staunton facilitated this sale in August 2020 and another online sale on the platform, followed from top Simmental breeder, Nigel Hogan, owner of the Rathnashan Herd, that October.
Staunton told That’s Farming:
“Both sales were a phenomenal success, driven by the quality of cattle offered by these breeders.”
“Repeat sales from Trueman and Rathnashan took place again in 2021. We also held other online sales from Myles McDermott’s Rathlyon herd and Jim Quail’s Lynderg herd.”
“Breaking new ground is never an easy thing to do. As pioneers in the UK and Ireland of selling livestock online, it was not always plain sailing.”
“We did have technology challenges at first. Once we decided to expand our platform for all the farming community to use, we began a redesign and site development project.”
Tommy formed a small team of tech professionals and began developing a new and improved platform to allow buyers and sellers to trade in an online marketplace that is 100% dedicated to the agricultural sector.
“We are very proud of the platform we have today – it is user-friendly, and we believe it is best in its class for the services we now provide,” he remarked.
The mission from the outset and still is today is to market, showcase and promote every animal or herd it works with to the best of its ability across the UK and Ireland.
As the name suggests, the Pedigree Sales platform would align the company to pedigree livestock only. This is certainly where it focused and still does through its elite section on the website.
The elite section of the platform is firmly focused on pedigree cattle breeders, both those who:
- Are high profile and firmly established;
- Those looking to build a profile on a nationwide or UK and Ireland wide basis for their herd and themselves within the prestigious pedigree community.
The elite section of the site is where pedigree breeders can participate in curated sales or where several pedigree breeders would sell under a single themed event.
Alternatively, a pedigree breeder could hold a sale in their own right if they had sufficient stock to create an “attractive” offering for a one-off single seller event.
The enterprise section, coming in Q2 of 2022, is the relaunch of its enterprise section, which is an addition to the elite section.
According to Staunton, the enterprise section will cater for a much wider audience and category of agricultural products, such as one-off agriculture items or single livestock sales.
The objective of the enterprise section is to provide an easy-to-use, self-managed sales platform not just for pedigree breeders but also for commercial/non-pedigree livestock.
He explained that “it is a section to the website for all farmers”. “We provide a large range of categories for users to buy and sell in, from beef/dairy cattle to farm machinery, sheep, pigs and even poultry.”
All the unique features from the elite section will be available in the enterprise section. These include:
- Bid history;
- Distance mapping from the seller to buyer;
- Ask a question option;
- Detailed descriptions field;
- Pedigree line option (if applicable);
- Direct upload of self-taken images and video;
- Watch an item.
The enterprise seller can set the date and time of when their listing will close. They set their opening bid, the reserve bid, buy right now option, and its newest feature is the ‘make an offer’ option.
Tommy said: “The enterprise section offers a high degree of flexibility, allowing a seller to operate a sale at a time and date that suits them, without ever having to leave their farm, saving time, money, and valuable resources.”
“There will always be something for everyone on the enterprise platform. As such, there will always be a reason to log in regularly to see what is on offer.”
Pedigree Sales has an in-house development team, a digital marketing team, a sales support team and regional representatives in the UK and Ireland.
For both the elite and the enterprise option, its web development team ensures the system is “bulletproof and always available”.
Furthermore, it has a marketing department to ensure listings get “maximum” coverage through social media, newsletters. and blog posts.
In his view, “an essential ingredient” in all of this is its “top-class” support team which ensures that all site users, whether buyers or sellers, can reach out for immediate real-time support from a site administrator.
He said they are knowledgeable on site functionality and have a “good degree” of farming knowledge.
Therefore, he believes they are “well placed” to support site users with any specific questions they might have.
He continued: “We pride ourselves on being responsive and delivering a genuine service to buyers and sellers that helps them do a deal.”
“We want the site to build a reputation of integrity, transparency, and ease of use. With this, our fees are designed with the end-user in mind.”
“Both the elite and enterprise marketplaces currently operate a free listing option. Any deal done is directly between the seller and the buyer.”
“We do not charge any commission; instead, our low fixed price service charge only applies when we help find a buyer online.”
Wide-ranging reach in the UK and Ireland
The platform’s audience reach spans across the UK and Ireland. According to Staunton, one of the main drivers for its elite users has been sellers wanting to build not only their herds’ reputation but also their own personal ambitions of selling internationally.
“This has been matched by our ability to market, showcase and promote livestock to potential buyers from the UK or Ireland.”
“This benefits both the seller and the buyer. Cattle can sell directly from farm-to-farm, and you can do the movement without any need for the usual 42-day quarantine.”
“Moreover, we are delighted so far with site traffic and the level of interest in the UK and Ireland.”
“We aim to make every user experience an enjoyable one that will lead to repeated custom. We will endeavour to build on our solid foundations, to build trust as a reputable business, a business operated with integrity and pride in what we do.”
Upcoming sales and more information
Visit www.pedigreesales.com and register for a free account; its support staff will connect to ensure everything is clear and assist with any listings if required.
Visit its site and open a web chat. Alternatively, you can call its UK freephone number on 0808 1691 599. If you are in the Republic of Ireland, call 01 5415 946.
Other auction dates:
- The Blue Ribbon & Red Ribbon sale on elite will close this weekend;
- Reduction sale from Patrick & Noel Brady’s Grousehall herd next weekend;
- Second embryo & semen sale on May 15th, 2022;
- This summer, it will host the third elite sale (25th-anniversary) from the Trueman Limousin Herd. The whole crop of 2021-born females come under the hammer on Pedigree Sales.