Possibility of Sunday marts a sign of growth in part-time farming
The possibility of holding cattle marts and sales on Sundays is an option now open to the Irish Co-operative Mart movement.
Traditionally, all-day marts were held on weekdays. Now, with the changes in farming, many sales are being held in the evenings and on Saturdays to facilitate the number of part-time farmers who are working.
This allows these farmers, many of whom produce beef cattle, to attend the marts and to continue working as well.
Chairman of the Irish Marts Co-operative Movement Tom Doyle said during the week that evening sales and Saturday sales had been very successful.
"They facilitate lads who are farming and also have an off-farm job but who would be badly penalised if they had to take a day off to go to the mart," he said.
"It has been particularly successful in the west of Ireland where there are larger numbers of lads working off the land. But even here in Enniscorthy at our own mart we have held very successful evening sales for weanlings and the farmers appreciate it."
Mr Doyle said that all options, perhaps even holding sales at certain times of the year on Sundays, had been looked at but as of now there did not seem to be any demand for it.
Some rural churches have changed Mass times to accommodate mart sales. In parts of the west some churches have moved the Saturday evening Mass times to 9pm to allow farmers to attend.
The growth in part-time farming is also reflected in the Irish Farmers Journal. One of its most successful features over the past 18 months is a weekly competition for labour-saving devices on the farm.
The competition was prompted by a shortage of farm labour and the growth in part-time farming.