The bidr online livestock selling platform expects to stream more than 1200 sales this year, including 10 big regional saleyards on a weekly basis, national general manager Liam Beattie says.
Balclutha and Coalgate saleyards have joined as the first large South Island venues and Matawhero, near Gisborne, will be streamed ad hoc while road access is difficult for farmers, he said.
Major seasonal fairs like weaner sales will also be featured from locations such as Kaikohe, Canterbury Park, Te Kūiti and Gore.
Beattie said about 350 hybrid, or on-farm, sales are booked in for the current financial year, including bull sales, dairy sales and special auctions.
In the major saleyards, after bidr oversees installation of cameras and data links, local yard staff members are trained to live-stream sales.
Illness has been a concern recently, when relief workers are needed.
Some venues opt to stream only their weekly flagship store sale day, but perhaps not the prime stock sales.
Three bidr employees are located in the North island and two in the South. They travel to the special and occasional venues, including the on-farm stud stock auctions.
NZ Farmers Livestock manager Bill Sweeney said his company’s MyLivestock platform has been live-streaming from six venues from the beginning – Frankton, Morrinsville, Stratford, Te Kūiti, Rongotea and Matakohe – and the number of on-farm auctions is growing.
While initially the proportion of sales made online was 2-3%, that now averages 8-10% as more farmers become familiar with the process and find it suits them, he said.
Dairy clearing sales might go as high as 75% online sales, with bidders scattered around the country.
“It is certainly the way of the future in livestock sales because it saves travelling long distances, but intending online buyers do need to get their livestock transport organised beforehand.”
NZ Farmers Livestock does not charge vendors extra fees for cattle featured in streamed sales.
Beattie said different types of sales have online purchasing rates. For example, two-year-old beef bull sales have low rates because most buyers like to see the bulls they have picked out.
“But we also have people that can’t make it to the sales, for whatever reasons, and that makes live-streaming a marketing tool for the vendors.”
Two large South Island venues do not have bidr, namely Canterbury Park and Temuka.
While bidr is a platform open to all agencies, and has nine partner agencies at present, Beattie said it is up to the local saleyard owners and operators to decide what suits them and their patrons and what charges will be passed on to farmer-clients.
“If we had a lot of competing platforms it would be very hard to do so profitably.”
Beattie said some of the high users of bidr watch and/or participate in three auctions at a time, such as a Taupō weaner fair, the weekly Tuakau sale and at Wellsford.
“It extends their reach over hundreds of kilometres and avoids several hours’ driving time,” he said.
“Once upon a time they would spend a whole day driving to and from sales, but now they are out on the farm in the morning and sitting in front of the computer at lunchtime.
“Farmers are valuing their time differently and looking for more efficient ways of working.”