Online bidding is proving a valuable tool at the state's stud sales, helping to maximise competition during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last week the Naracoorte Shorthorn bull sale and Walmona Invitation sale were both interfaced with AuctionsPlus for the first time and attracted significant bidding from as far afield as Qld.
The Naracoorte Shorthorn sale achieved a record $8150 average with 32 prospective buyers logged on to the sale through AuctionsPlus and another 78 watching.
Mayura Wagyu stud at Millicent also held a record-breaking online sale through Elite Livestock Auctions which saw 11 of the 31 lots sold internationally.
And while the present government protocols enable stud auctions to be held due to agriculture being an essential service, many studs are not taking any chances if restrictions tighten.
The Hereford and Limousin breeds' national sales normally held at Wodonga, Vic, and Shorthorn and Red Angus and Simmental sales scheduled for May and June in Dubbo, NSW, have all gone to an online format.
Nutrien Livestock SA stud stock manager Gordon Wood said the final two SA on-property bull sales for the season, Belmore Shorthorns and Stoney Point Performance Angus, were also looking to video individual lots and use AuctionsPlus.
'We expect to go ahead with a live auction but we are trying to make people, safe, secure and comfortable so they can bid online if they don't feel like travelling," he said.
Mr Wood said it had become far easier to bid online in recent times, but believed having a bull or ram present themselves well in the ring was still a bid grabber.
"From a (health and safety) standpoint video auctions are user-friendly and take away the risk of running live animals but from an auctioneer's perspective, I still prefer a live auction which can create an atmosphere," he said.
Elders SA stud stock manager Tony Wetherall said even before COVID-19 they were using AuctionsPlus more and more as a marketing tool, but the limiting factor had been phone coverage.
"It is a fantastic way to get sheep and bulls in front of as many people as possible with photos and videos and every bit of data and pedigree information available," he said.
"People can get opinions from people who are there on the day and bid with confidence."
Mr Wetherall said the Funke family had introduced a Bundara Downs guarantee for online buyers at their mated ewe sale at Western Flat on Friday.
"If the buyer feels they (the ewes) are not what was described when they are unloaded off the truck, they can return the sheep - I think we will see more of this," he said.
Registrations in the last month have skyrocketed and while this includes commercial and stud sales, we are seeing in excess of 50 new registrations every day.
AuctionsPlus stud sale operator Hannah Bird said in the past week they had listed about 20 new stud sales across Australia to be held in the next three months.
This was a big jump from the 300 sales for the whole of 2019.
"Registrations in the last month have skyrocketed and while this includes commercial and stud sales, we are seeing in excess of 50 new registrations every day," she said.
Sheep studs seek out web-based selling options
AUCTIONSPLUS may prove a valuable "insurance policy" for stud sheep breeders holding their ram sales in coming months, according to Elders SA stud stock manager Tony Wetherall.
"We have to face the fact that we could still be here (under restrictions) in August and September, hopefully it is not the case but I still think a lot of people will be adopting AuctionsPlus in their planning just to be sure," he said.
Nutrien SA stud stock manager Gordon Wood said he had being discussing Merino sales with a few stud breeders across the state and the worst case scenario that it may not be possible to have a live auction.
"We are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst," he said. "It would be far from ideal, particularly with wool-producing animals where people want that touch and feel ability.
"We may look to have some plans around having an inspection day and an online booking system where people can spend some time going over the sheep before the sale."
- Start the day with all the big news in agriculture. Click here to sign up to receive our daily Stock Journal newsletter.