Though not designed with a global pandemic in mind, a live stream selling platform installed at the Southern Livestock Exchange, Mount Compass, could prove a useful tool for Pro-Stock Livestock.
The system - consisting of three permanently-fixed rotating cameras in the selling ring, a live bidding and buying feed and a delayed YouTube feed - was originally developed to allow the livestock agent to access a wider buying crowd.
Prospective buyers contact Pro-Stock to register and are then given login details to access a live feed of the selling ring. Online buyers have a bid button on their screen and vie against ringside bidders, with television screens in the arena changing colour to notify the selling team of an online bid.
Pro-Stock Livestock managing director Kym Endersby said the system, though not designed for this reason, was proving helpful in complying with social distancing measures while still giving vendors and onlookers an opportunity to view their sale.
"There is a lot of people interested in watching our sales but are not buyers so we had a number of our vendors on YouTube watching," he said.
"We're encouraging them to do that."
Up until yesterday's sale (March 25), the delayed YouTube feed was private, but Mr Endersby said they had made the stream public to allow onlookers and vendors easier viewing access.
The delayed feed, approximately ten seconds, of each sale can be found by searching for Southern Livestock Exchange on YouTube.
Mr Endersby said he was still encouraging buyers to attend the saleyards, but knowing the online bidding system was available was comforting.
He encouraged onlookers to watch on from home.
"I'm treating the problem we've got very seriously," he said.
"If you're a buyer we want you here, but if you're just looking, you can look on YouTube.
"At this stage, the buyers and viewers seem to be appreciating our efforts."
First interviewed in November about the selling platform, Mr Endersby reiterated that online buyers have given positive feedback.
A group of small buyers had become regulars, saying they had received stock in the condition they expected.
A prediction made by Mr Endersby in November has come to fruition perhaps more quickly than expected.
"As we move into the future, I think the internet will play a larger role in livestock sales and this type of technology will become more common," he said five months ago.
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