Cardigan mart is to close down next month, dealing a bitter blow to the town and the wider farming community.

The closure, described as "like someone dying" was announced by auctioneers' JJ Morris last week.

Letters sent to farmers by the auctioneers announced that Cardigan would host its final mart on Monday, September 9.

Among the reasons for the decision, it blamed a falling throughput of animals due to the number of farms in the region with TB breakdowns that prevent sales of cattle.

Farmers have reacted with dismay to news, including dairy farmer Aled Rees who farms five miles from the mart and sells his calves there.

His family have sold and bought livestock at the mart for over 50 years but had been unable to trade there for a decade due to a major TB breakdown before going clear of the disease.

“We didn’t take a calf there for 10 years so I do understand the impact TB has had on the mart,’’ said Mr Rees, of Trefere Fawr, Penparc.

But that didn’t soften the blow. “When I received the letter about the closure on Saturday it felt like someone had died, it has been part of our family’s farming history for over 50 years,’’ said Mr Rees.

He must now travel further to sell stock – to Newcastle Emlyn or Whitland.

“We are lucky that JJ Morris is still going to keep the market in Whitland open, it will be inconvenient to travel further but we must keep these markets open.’’

Cardigan mart never fully recovered from the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak which resulted in farmers selling their stock direct to abattoirs and processors.

Once they had made that switch, after the movement ban was lifted some continued to sell directly and numbers of livestock being traded at Cardigan diminished.

Supermarkets are also being blamed for the demise due to their policy of not buying through live markets.

The closure of Cardigan market will have implications beyond the trading of livestock as it is an important meeting place for the farming community.

Mr Rees met his wife, Hedydd at Cardigan mart. “It just shows how important a lifeline the mart is for all sorts of different reasons.’’

There will also be a knock-on effect to Cardigan town which experiences a surge in trade on mart days.

The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) said it feared for the future of smaller livestock markets.

FUW deputy president Brian Thomas said JJ Morris had valid reasons for closing the site. “It won’t have been an easy decision for them to make.

“The closure of any local mart removes a vital lifeline from the community and also makes it necessary for farmers to travel far greater distances to sell their stock.’’