A 'virtual saleyard' is helping New Zealand farmers continue with essential livestock trading through the COVID-19 lockdown.
While farming is classified as an essential service under the coronavirus restrictions, saleyards across the country have had to be closed.
Cloud based platform, bidr®, was developed by PGG Wrightson at the Ruakura Research Centre in Hamilton.
It enables livestock farmers or stock agents to register as buyers or sellers to use the platform and take part in real time auctions.
On-farm visits, using strict protocols, are made by accredited assessors to gather information on the stock and take photos.
Benefits of the technology include greater customer reach and improved animal welfare with reduced transport and animals remaining on-farm until the stock is sold.
However bidr general manager, Tania Smith said the virtual saleyard had come into its own since the COVID-19 lockdown.
"It's a way for farmers to sell and buy at auction just like a saleyard. We are set up like a regular auction with stock sold at particular times," Smith said.
"The agents will load lots into the sale, and at sale time we open the auction and each lot is sold in one minute increments, with an auto extend functionality when bids are placed in the last 10 seconds to let the market run its course."
bidr now has nine livestock agencies trading on the platform, and has opened bidr up for other livestock companies to become accredited quickly as a way to helping the sector continue to operate through the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. Other changes had also been made to allow for easier operation during the lockdown.
"We have over 300 listing agents on the platform. 180 of those are accredited assessors who have been through our training programme and they are the ones who will load the lots onto bidr and assess the livestock.
"Under COVID-19 we have relaxed the need for every lot to be eye-balled by an assessor because they might not be able to get there, but the agents will always be the ones who will load the lots onto the auction and stand behind the transaction."
The technology had been embraced by the sector as a new way of operating during the lockdown.
"People are adapting to bidding and buying online. We are seeing a lot of increasing traffic and listings, and sales coming our way."
Smith said it was hoped farmers and agents would continue to use the platform, post COVID-19.
"I think saleyards will always be a big part of many farmers and agents' way of buying and selling, and the social outing is a huge part of that.
"But this is another tool in their tool box and for farmers who would prefer to sell farm to farm and that's where bidr can come into its own."
Under MPI regulations, only essential livestock trades can be carried out.
Click here to find out more about bidr.
This article is created by bidr®