Is this the death of buyer announcements?

Taking Stock: Lucy Kinbacher speaks out on why buyer announcements at auctions are important to the industry

Now more than ever producers should be working together, not locking their front gates. Photo: Lucy Kinbacher

Now more than ever producers should be working together, not locking their front gates. Photo: Lucy Kinbacher


The tradition of announcing buyer names after a sale is slowly fading.


The hammer falls on lot number 449.

Almost like clock work a bid card is raised in the air and the auctioneer scrambles to find the lucky number among the long list to announce to the waiting crowd.

Pens ferociously hit the dotted line inside the sale catalogue to jot down the name of the lucky buyer in the seconds of silence before the next sire enters the ring.

For decades this has been a longstanding form of recognition at auctions but it seems the tradition is fast becoming non-existent as vendors look to protect their business from the public eye.

They want to keep their clients under wraps for fear that other breeders or livestock buyers may encroach on their territory.

Likewise there are producers who don't want stud principals noticing them changing their genetics.

Growing up, if we couldn't find my younger brother you'd usually find him sitting amongst piles of completed sale catalogues and Droughtmaster Magazines dating back 50 years.

The skyrocketing value of the seedstock industry means the term 'public auction' is slowly fading too.

He would spend hours every afternoon studying the archives, memorising sire lines and noting the big spenders or the commercial players of the time.

It seems to me those days are long gone.

The stakes are so high in the seedstock game that we've lost sight of the pillars of trust, collaboration and community this industry was built on.

How often have you heard of somebody buying through an online platform while they stand around a sale ring so nobody can see their bids or hear their name called?

Under the Australian Livestock and Property Agents Association (ALPA) terms and conditions the successful bidder at a livestock auction must give the auctioneer either the purchaser's name, bid card number or the name of the person on whose behalf the bid was made and the property identification code.

It might not seem like a big deal but the loss of this information can affect a number of things.

Easily one of the most significant is stud sale reports.

Traditionally the Bible of the Bush was the go to place for the latest results of bull and ram sales.

With the rise of social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter and live blogs provided an instantaneous means to filling the sale cravings.

Every week without fail my parents buy the Queensland Country Life newspaper (the sister masthead to The Land in Qld).

They are serial page flickers - I've seen it for myself - but they always stop at the stud sale reports to find out two things - who bought it and for how much?

Unfortunately the change is already happening.

I've seen a private saleyards wipe all the vendor names from their market reports and only include the nearest town to where the animals had come from.

Have you ever thought how withholding this information could stall the progress of other herds?

Seedstock genetics, particularly those that reach record-breaking levels, are worth celebrating and producers should have their eyes on the influence those top animals have on other herds.

How can they inquire about semen or stay aware of his progress in the future if nobody knows where he went?

Meat and Livestock Australia's National Livestock Genetic Consortium is working towards doubling the rate of genetic gain in the commercial value chain by 2022.

Now more than ever producers should be working together, not locking their front gates.

Because when the hammer falls at auction, the bid card is raised and pens move ferociously inside catalogues, it should be a cause for celebration and excitement.

Let's celebrate the years of decision making that goes into breeding top stock and relish in the excitement for how those genetics could build another business.

Taking Stock is a fortnightly column written by The Land team members.


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