Since its inception in 2020, the ACM Sire Shootout competition has proven to be an effective and exciting marketing opportunity for producers across the country.
Last year's cohort of 47 public auction bulls sold to average $33,755, with three fetching six figure prices. One additional bull was withdrawn before the sale, while three of the four private sale bulls found new homes for undisclosed amounts
Judge Colin Rex, Charolais Society of Australia, said the competition provided vendors with a platform to make solid connections with new and prospective buyers, regardless of location.
"I think the competition is a really good concept," he said.
"Getting cattle in front of people visually is so important in the industry, especially our sires.
"This gives people the opportunity to see a vast range of bulls from different programs, with an easy way to view them, without getting bogged down in too much data or having to scroll through numerous catalogues.
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"From the vendors perspective, it's a very economic, great value opportunity. All you need to do is get someones interest to start a sale process happening, and this competition allows that to happen really well."
Although the virtual judging was quite different to seeing them parade the show ring, judge Diana Woods, Outwest Angus, said the competition presented an equal opportunity to a variety of producers.
"It's a really great way to get recognised and maybe get a foot in front of some of your competition if you're entering into a competition like this," she said.
"It's obviously a bit different to Sydney, the Ekka or any other show in that, because anyone can enter. You don't have to have a led bull or be preparing for a show - anyone selling paddock bulls could enter this.
"At the end of the day, it's what's under the skin that matters and also being able to look at those EBV's that go along with making these selections, so I do think it's a great marketing opportunity for any prospective seller."
Fellow judge Rob Sinnamon, RL Pastoral company, said the online format of the competition allowed studs to improve their online marketing skills, a valuable move given the massive shift to online sales in recent years.
"I think your average commercial cattlemen wouldn't have been caught dead buying a bull online 10 years ago, but now, virtual marketing is becoming more of the norm," he said.
"Post-covid, we're seeing online and video as a marketing tool being used more and more, and less bulls being sold through sale rings. The adoption of video selling is becoming far more prevalent that it ever was here in Australia.
"If you can have trust in the integrity of the breeder, and if you're supplied with all of the information to make an informed decision, it can save people thousands of dollars in travel costs, and also time.
"I think, providing that people adopt it and keep some integrity in the whole process, it'll continue in the future."