Livestock sales at touch of button

Headshot of Jenne Brammer
Jenne BrammerThe West Australian

Livestock buyers and sellers will soon be able to access the Muchea Livestock Centre sheep and cattle yards from the comfort of their own home, office, or anywhere else via smartphone or tablet.

Australia Video Auctions Service will next month start a three-month test period allowing buyers and sellers to access Muchea Livestock Centre sheep and cattle saleyards online if they cannot attend in person.

The service is still subject to approval from the WA Meat Industry Authority and has received approval by three of the four rural livestock companies, with the fourth wanting to see the system in operation before making a decision.

AVAS principle and manager Geoff Twine developed the unique live and pre-recorded stock-in-pens photo and video network for the internet.

Mr Twine said the network method allowed saleyard trading of livestock via users' agent of choice using any smart device.

"We hope this technology will drag saleyards out of the last century," he said.

"There have been few changes to a very old saleyard auction trading method since the conception of an open cry auction."

Mr Twine estimates livestock technology is between 25 per cent and 35 per cent behind other industries in returns because of a failure to adopt new cost effective technology.

He believes this new system could offer farmers savings in transport if they can use the system to sell livestock from offsite locations.

"The fast and robust system is specifically designed for the saleyards so buyers and sellers can clearly see stock in sale pens prior or even during the sale while the auction is in progress," he said.

After logging on, the purchaser is able to filter the stock they wish to look at by just the click of a button.

Using the purchase request slip or a phone call to their broker or agent, the buyer can bid on a pen or multiples of penned cattle or sheep for sale on the day or before the sale start time of 8.30am. Buyers or sellers can also watch the auction on a large flat LED screen in the saleyard cafe and bid anonymously.

Mr Twine said the system was likely to appeal to those wishing to save time by not physically turning out at the saleyards.

He said it could attract more bidders because of its convenience, hence driving up prices.

Mr Twine said in WA about 70 per cent of livestock was sold through direct negotiation (often the better lines), while just 30 per cent was sold via through saleyards.

"We are hopeful that this system will attract the lines that are normally sold direct," he said.

Mr Twine said he did not expect virtual auctions would totally replace the physical saleyard system because many buyers still liked to touch and feel the livestock.

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