MEMBERS of the Rural Marketing Agents (rma) network were among the top assessors and agencies in the recent AuctionsPlus Top Assessor Awards for sheep and cattle.
The best performing agency was Colin Say and Company, Glen Innes, which had the biggest throughput of cattle over the online platform, selling 9000 head and the top cattle assessor in Shad Bailey. Riverina Livestock Agents (RLA), Wagga Wagga, was sixth for cattle throughput, with 6000. In the sheep, Walgett agency Clemson Hiscox was third with 55,000 head, Prosser Hutton Pty Ltd, Mungindi, was fourth with 48,000 head, Spence Dix and Co, Keith, South Australia, was sixth with 47,600 head, and RLA was seventh, selling 40,500.
Here we have a look at some of the individuals recognised by AuctionsPlus.
He’s been in the agency game since 1980 and Peter Prosser, Prosser Hutton Pty Ltd, has been marketing online for many years, using it every day for the past 10.
The Mungindi agent, a level one assessor for sheep and cattle, was recently recognised as the top sheep assessor for AuctionsPlus. About 70 per cent of sheep and 40 per cent of cattle are sold through AuctionsPlus, with much of the demand coming from southern NSW.
“We’re lucky that we’re in an area where we produce large lines of Merino and crossbred lambs, and if we can fill up trucks, especially B-doubles, we’ll get very good competition – it’s a premium of up to $5 a head most weeks if you’ve got a big line.”
Mr Prosser, who also assesses stock for Cliff Horton at Moree, said strong buyer competition was due to a detailed assessment.
“It’s the one marketing tool where you get the most detail because at saleyards it’s just visual. It takes a couple of hours to assess a mob of sheep and an hour to upload the assessment and photos, but I want to give buyers a really good overview of what the stock are like.”
Seamus Filan has been a livestock agent for 18 years, joining Roma agency MMA Livestock and Property in 2004, and he’s been using online marketing since the start of his career. He’s a level one AuctionsPlus sheep and cattle assessor, and in a good market, sells about 80 per cent of his clients’ stock online. Mr Filan, who was 10th in the assessor awards for cattle, said better use of the internet had improved trust in the system.
“In the early days of online marketing it was a lot different and some clients were a bit scared of the internet, but in past eight to 10 years life has started to revolve around the internet and computers, and they’re doing their other shopping online, so why not sheep and cattle,” Mr Filan said.
“It has changed a lot. Years ago there were no photos – it was all on description – but having photos and all the information makes it much easier for the buyer.”
Mr Filan, who also received the RMA award for best cattle assessor in 2012, sold up to about 6000 head of cattle in his busiest years over AuctionsPlus, but numbers have slowed due to drought. His clients like knowing the returns from their stock before they leave the property, and his clients are getting repeat buyers. Much of that comes back to delivering a thorough, accurate assessment of the sheep or cattle.
“When people buy from me, they know what they’re going to get,” Mr Filan said.
“I have people who know me, and they’ll see that I’ve assessed stock, so they’ve got that confidence to buy them.”
Walgett agent Russell Hiscox, Clemson Hiscox and Company uses AuctionsPlus every week, selling about 55,000 head sheep in the past year. He’s a level one assessor for cattle and sheep and was fourth in the AuctionsPlus awards for sheep assessment.
Mr Hiscox said going online reduced market risk for his clients, with about 90 per cent of clients using the online platform sell or purchase stock.
“The most important thing with AuctionsPlus is do it for the right clients that have good management skills themselves so you know the data is correct. If you’re accurate with your assessment buyers have more confidence and the system works the best when you go to the effort to do the assessment properly.
“If you don’t do the prework there’s no guarantee they’ll sell, so there’s still a lot of work in the background. We keep a big database of who buys what so you know who’s chasing the article you’re selling.”