Due to covid-19, sale yards around the country are closed. PHOTO/FILE

GIANINA SCHWANECKE
gianina.schwanecke@age.co.nz

At a time when many drought-affected farmers are still trying to shift stock off their farms, the closure of sale yards around the country have pushed many to online alternatives.

New Zealand’s virtual sale yards, bidr, reported a 40 per cent increase in sign-ups in recent weeks, general manager Tania Smith said.

“Half of these have come in the last week or so. Our sign-up rate has really accelerated.”

A subsidiary of PGG Wrightson, bidr is an online auction platform which was launched at the Fieldays last year.

With present restrictions, stock agents who had not been able to complete the rigorous assessor accreditation process would now be able to list livestock on the platform, it was announced last week.

These listings would carry notice that “the lot has not been assessed by a bidr accredited assessor” and agents would continue to stand behind their listing and represent their vendor in the transaction.

“With our platform, because we work exclusively with stock agents, you have got that element of trust,” Smith said.

She understood the continued importance of the sale yards, which provide farmers a chance to view stock in person and to socialise with others.

“From an industry perspective, we are just glad to be here for the industry and our farmers,” she said.

“It’s been a tough year.”

Cloud Yards, another online platform, was launched in October last year by a group of independent livestock agents across the country.

Masterton-based livestock agent Ed Wallace, of Ed Wallace Livestock.

It provides online livestock quotes, giving buyers more options and sellers more exposure, Masterton-based agent Ed Wallace from Ed Wallace Livestock said.

“It’s a platform for stock that’s for sale,” he said.

“It’s not auction-based, so unlike some other platforms, the transaction still gets handled by your reputable and chosen agent.”

It was just another way to sell stock, particularly during times of uncertainty like the lockdown, he said.

“We recognise that livestock markets may be disrupted and are not going to function as usual throughout this covid-19 lockdown.

“However, we can continue to work with farmers and agents via our online livestock marketing platform.

“I can also still call around or text other agents and farmers in the region.”

Though livestock agents had been deemed ‘essential services’ and could still travel to different farms, Wallace said the technology enabled farmers to sell and buy while remaining in isolation.

Farmers looking to sell can take their own photos or videos of stock to upload on Cloud Yards where potential buyers can have a look.

Wallace said it also provided people with an overview of the market, comparing prices and what stock was available.

He said it was no different from a hopeful home buyer “looking through the Midweek property magazine”.

“When you see [a house] you like, you call the agent to arrange it all.”

With nine other livestock agents based around the country, including from Manawatu, Taranaki, and King Country, to Hawke’s Bay and other parts of the east coast, he said they had a “good spread”.

About 500 people were registered on the site and even older farmers had found it easy to use, he said.

More information about bidr can be found online at, bidr.co.nz/

More information about Cloud Yards can be found online at, cloudyards.co.nz/

Details required to register include your full name, phone number, and email.



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