SELLING and buying purebred livestock online may become the new norm for stud producers as COVID-19 travel and group gathering restrictions wreak havoc on the annual seedstock sales calendar.
AuctionsPlus staff in particular have noted a large increase in online sale hostings with 12 new sales booked in the past six days, a rise they say is increasing daily.
Large numbers of beef sales have made the shift to the digital world, with sheep and even alpaca auctions following their lead.
"Obviously these enquiries centre around producers hoping to still go ahead with their physical auction but providing another element if it is needed," AuctionsPlus stud operations' team member Hannah Bird said.
"We have also seen a rise in the sales that have opted to go for a fully online auction, rather than having the physical sale (four have switched to online only just this week)."
Ms Bird said people were looking to minimise the risk of hosting gatherings and reduce contact, so some were choosing a fully online sale.
However, a number of stud sales were still holding a physical sale, incorporating streaming into their sale as an additional option.
"More than ever before, seedstock producers are recognising the need to give their customers options," she said.
In line with this, a lot of the seedstock producers are videoing their offerings and opting for the prime package of audio only.
"This allows for the online bidders to see a high quality video of the bull and also be able to follow along with the auctioneer," Ms Bird said.
The increased interest in the platform has been reflected in buyer registrations.
Ms Bird said a prime example was the Landfall Angus bull sale in Tasmania on Monday which attracted 648 online bids across 136 of the 154 bull offering.
"The support and bidding activity was the strongest we have seen on AuctionsPlus at a stud sale," she said.
"We were very glad to provide a service and platform to build on the trust and integrity for the Archer family and Landfall business."
Being predominately bull selling season, the majority of sales moving online have been cattle sales but enquiries from stud sheep sales are increasing.
"We also have a couple of alpaca auctions coming up, one of which has changed from a physical sale to an online only sale," Ms Bird said.
AuctionsPlus expects to see this increase continue for the next two to six weeks as legislation continues to rapidly change.
"Rules and regulations are changing daily so we are trying to be as flexible and as accommodating as we possibly can for our clients," Ms Bird said.
"Vendors will be starting to plan well ahead and will be keeping their options open as we approach the spring sale season.
"There will be an increased number of producers giving customers options to stay at home and bid with confidence."
AuctionsPlus has been in discussion with three breed societies that hold their national events in May and June and are making plans to host their sales entirely online.
Online bidding drives strong results at CQLX
THE importance of the Stocklive online bidding tool at this time of restricted social movement was on show at Central Queensland Livestock Exchange (CQLX) in Gracemere, Qld, on Monday when more than 40 per cent of bulls, including the top-priced lot, were sold through the platform at the Speckleme Elite Speckle Park bull sale.
All 31 bulls were sold for a $7677 average and top of $23,000 paid by prolific buyers the Birchmore Family, Winton, Qld, for Bowan Park Cudal P195.
Almost 140 people viewed the Speckleme sale on Stocklive with 11 active online bidders securing 10 lots.
Nutrien Livestokc agent James Saunders said the sale reflected an outstanding result that was strengthened by access to latest bidding technology.
This success followed that of the Rocky All Stars Elite Brahman female sale held at CQLX on March 21 which averaged $5381.
Almost 250 logged in to view that sale on Stocklive with 14 lots secured online.
Robert Murray, Elders Stud Stock, Rockhampton, spoke of the importance of remote access to sales under current conditions.
"The crowd was noticeably down (at the female sale) because of the situation but we had tremendous support online through Stocklive," he said.
Last week, it was announced the entire Regional Livestock Exchange (RLX) network would roll out Stocklive across all sites and sale categories as soon as practically possible.