Virtual saleyards to the fore under lockdown

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By DAVID HILL

Virtual saleyards are becoming a useful tool for farmers selling stock.

As stock agents explore new ways to hold sales during the Covid-19 pandemic, Bidr.co.nz is experiencing rapid growth.

The website was launched by PGG Wrightson at the National Field Days in June last year. It has been made available to all stock firms during lockdown.

Peter Walsh & Associates has also set up a virtual saleyards option through LiveBid. It sold 760 calves at an online sale last Thursday through the site, which is available on its website.

PGG Wrightson Canterbury livestock general manager Peter Moore encourages farmers to talk to their agent about selling their bulls through virtual online sales.

They could also consider small on-farm sales and private treaty sales, he says.

The virtual sale website has always been an open forum, but Mr Moore says it has been deliberately opened up more under the Covid-19 lockdown.

Bidr.co.nz general manager Tania Smith says since the lockdown they had signed up more than three times its usual numbers.

She says the platform, which operates like a saleyard, good wayfarmers an option for trading livestock. Our tagline, which resonates with farmers, is

Farmers need to register a sale through their stock agent, or their stock can be listed in planned auctions, including the weekly North Island (Wednesday) and South Island (Thursday) sales.

Each lot is bid upon live in a 45-second slot says. watch the sale or have their agent bid on their behalf and they can participate in a sale anywhere in the country.

Farmers can upload videos, photos, material and data about their livestock and answer animal health questions, just like a sale catalogue.

As of last week 34 bull sales had been registered with bidr.co.nz and Ms Smith expects that number to grow.

Mr Moore says stock agents are continuing to operate under the lockdown as an essential service.

“Saleyards are off the table, but pretty much everything else we can do.Protocols are being developed for a possible return to saleyards as the alert level is lowered, but given some of the larger sales can have more than 100 people in close contact, it is proving to be challenging

“Our number one priority is the health of our people and our clients. As a country we seem to have done a pretty good job of keeping a lid on [Covid-19] and we would hate to think as a result of opening the saleyards that it led to undoing that work.”

The biggest issue for farmers at present is a lack of killing space at works, which has led to a six-week delay.