LOCAL livestock sales have been hit by the coronavirus pandemic as marts at Crymych, Newcastle Emlyn and Whitland have closed.

Nearest marts for farmers wishing to sell stock are now BJP's sales at Carmarthen or Llandeilo - the firm will not be running Tuesday marts at Haverfordwest.

In light of the heightened level of safety measures during the coronavirus pandemic, the Livestock Auctioneers’ Association (LAA) announced additional security standards and restrictions to ensure continued safe trade.

During ongoing negotiations between the LAA, Defra and the Welsh Assembly, it was agreed that livestock markets play a crucial role in facilitating efficient supply of livestock into the food chain.

Additional security standards, robust hygiene precautions and further market restrictions have been agreed and implemented to maintain this role.

The sale of prime stock, cull animals and store stock is still permitted, but sales of all breeding stock will cease immediately, and will not return for at least three weeks.

In a statement on its Facebook page, JJ Morris, which runs the marts at Crymych and Whitland said it was suspending all markets for three weeks.

This includes: All Tuesday sales at Whitland, Wednesday sales at Crymych and the store cattle sale on Saturday, April 4.

"We believe strongly that this is the safest option for our staff and all our customers," the statement said.

"We apologise for the inconvenience and hope to be back up and running after the recommended three-week isolation period that has already been set by the Government for dairy and breeding stock sales.

"If you have any urgent requirements, please call us and we will do our very best to help."

Nock Deighton, which runs Newcastle Emlyn mart said that due to the town centre location of Newcastle Emlyn Livestock Market and the potential difficulties of social distancing of two metres, all markets were being cancelled.

"The right thing to do now is to act to protect each other, our families, our customers, our work colleagues and the communities we live in," it said.

BJP said its marts will be operated on a strict 'drop and go' policy with strict social distancing enforced.

For details and contacts see the BJP Facebook page.