FOR the first time in its 20 year history, Shepherdson and Boyd's annual weaner sale will be conducted online as well as being in its usual physical auction format at the Toogoolawah Saleyards.
In response to government health restrictions put in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 5000-head weaner sale on Friday, May 15 will also be conducted on EliteLivestockAuctions.com.au
Dominated by quality-bred young cattle, the annual sale is recognised as Australia's largest offering of high performing Charolais-infused weaners.
On offer are 3200 steers and 1800 heifers. About 3000 of the 5000 head to be yarded will be Charolais types, which typically draw feedlot, backgrounder and restocker buyers from Queensland, NSW and Victoria.
Only accredited agents and buyers will be allowed in the saleyards.
Each agent and buyer will have their temperature taken before being allowed entry to the laneways.
They will be registered and issued with a colour-coded wrist band, gloves and a mask.
Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, the sale is expected to be very strong, particularly given the quality cattle on offer.
Good feed across much of Queensland and ongoing rain in Victoria and widespread areas of NSW has seen an increase in the demand from feedlots, backgrounders and restockers.
Shepherdson and Boyd principal Dick Boyd said the online option would also allow vendors to view the auction in real time.
"Buyers can bid in person at the saleyards or they can bid online using EliteLivestockAuctions.com.au," Mr Boyd said.
Buyers can bid in person at the saleyards or they can bid online using EliteLivestockAuctions.com.au
"Having both a physical and an online auction running concurrently should increase the flexibility of buying quality weaners at the May 15 sale.
"It will be different to other years. What will be the same is the big lines of quality weaners on offer.
"We're all having to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, but we're confident the measures put in place at Toogoolawah will ensure the sale runs as smooth as possible."
The Toogoolawah sale will be broadcast live simulcast via the internet, with full video, imagery and sound.
Chris Norris from Elite Livestock Auctions said it would take about three minutes to register.
In addition to real time images, the vendor's name, the number and a description of the cattle will be presented.
Buyers and sellers can bid or view the Toogoolawah auction from their home or office in real-time using a computer, iPad or iPhone.
"We're conducting multiple cattle sales online every day," Mr Norris said.
"People have become very comfortable with buying online. It really is that simple."
Elite Livestock Auctions can also be contacted on 1300 153 135.
Among the standout cattle for Toogoolawah are 200 Charolais-infused steers and 200 heifers to be offered by Lyndhurst, Crows Nest.
Bred from Charolais bulls over Brahman/Hereford-cross cows, the six- to nine-month-old Lyndhurst weaners are always a drawcard at the annual sale.
In fact, the very well bred Lyndhurst cattle were the catalyst for Shepherdson and Boyd's inaugural weaner sale at Toogoolawah 20 years ago.
Lyndhurst manager Russell Fogg said the weaners have performed particularly well since the season broke in January.
"It's pretty amazing how they have responded over the past four months and grown into some very handy animals," Mr Fogg said.
First-time vendor Colin Goldsworthy, Mount Moon Beef, Moogerah, said he was keen to send his Angus/Droughtmaster-cross and Droughtmaster weaners to Toogoolawah.
"They're drenched and scratched and ready to go," Mr Goldsworthy said.
Included in the outstanding lineup are 90 very well bred Charbray steers and 10 suitable replacement heifers from Garth and Toni Reiser, Brigooda-Vale, Proston.
The seven- to nine-month-olds have been yard weaned and are in the 270-300kg range.
The Pulsford family, Hamstead, Toogoolawah, is also a long-time supporter of the Toogoolawah sale and is also offering 140 eight- to nine-month-old Charbray weaners.
The 90 heifers and 50 steers are bred using Huntington genetics and are proven performers.
Gerard Frisby, Kilcoy, has an excellent draft of Charolais/Droughtmaster-cross weaners drafted off for Toogoolawah. The 50 steers and 60 heifers have been running on improved pasture.
"It's turned into a tremendous season and the calves are certainly looking very good," Mr Frisby said.