National online selling platform, AuctionsPlus, is ready to help fill the gap if coronavirus closes saleyards despite enduring a torrid time last Friday because of connectivity issues.
AuctionsPlus CEO, Angus Street, apologised after ongoing delays and glitches marred last Friday's two national cattle sales.
The online platform has been dealing with record livestock numbers in recent times with a total 28,914 cattle offered last week.
Mr Street said the company's national network service provider was forced to redirect more bandwidth resources to healthcare and government infrastructure as they battled to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
The company's national connection network, Wi-Fi, NBN and mobile services were already being heavily impacted by the number of businesses going online and by the number of people working from home due to coranvirus, he said.
While he said AuctionsPlus supported 100 per cent the national provider's decision to prioritise healthcare and government services, the company wasn't to know the severity and the impact of the heavily downgraded service last Friday.
AuctionsPlus product manager, Anna Adams, said a combination of issues hit last Friday's cattle auctions.
A large number of buyers wanted to access the weaner and yearling sale where around 20,000 head were on offer at a time when the system was operating with significantly reduced capacity because resources had to be rightly redirected to higher priorities because of Covid-19, she said.
AuctionPlus had now decided to spread the listings load by having more but smaller sales.
A cattle sale has been added on Wednesdays to reduce numbers at Friday's sales.
"Instead of having one large weaner auction with 20,000 head, for example, we might have three or four individual sales so not all buyers who are interested in those cattle are connecting to the one sale," Ms Adams said.
"We might have, for example, a Queensland sale and a NSW sale and a Victorian and South Australian sale."
During the past few weeks between 1500 and 2000 users had been connecting to the Friday cattle sales.
She said AuctionsPlus could take on a heavier selling load if coronavirus closed major saleyards.
"We could certainly operate every day of the week if there was demand for it," she said.
AuctionsPlus has around 900 active assessors who visit farms to describe and photograph stock for uploading into online sales catalogues.
Ms Adams said the company would need to ensure livestock assessments maintained their integrity, accuracy and level of detail in the event stock which normally would have gone to saleyards was listed on AuctionsPlus.
"One of the things we are doing is releasing an assessment app within the next few weeks (for accredited assessors) which will allow for faster data capture at crush side which will reduce double handling and recording of information."
She said AuctionsPlus had been speaking to assessors about adhering strictly to social distancing and hygiene rules while on farms.
The new app would streamline assessments and allow the electronic entry of data which would reduce the amount of human contract that comes from the manual input of information on sheets of paper.
The story AuctionsPlus ready to step up if coronavirus hits saleyards first appeared on Farm Online.