After weeks of silence under the COVID-19 lockdown, livestock is starting to return to the country's saleyards.
Virtual saleyards have been operating under level 4 restrictions, however the move to level 3 has seen a hybrid of in-yard bidding, along with on-line bidding.
The restart of NZ Farmers Livestock auctions saw the Frankton Livestock Saleyard in Hamilton back up and running with live on-line auctions followed by Stratford a day later
NZ Farmers Livestock general manager Bill Sweeney said both the Frankton and Stratford sales were very successful with both in-yard and on-line bidders competing for stock in a seamless, real-time manner.
"The safety of everyone involved in livestock sales is a constant focus and we devoted a huge amount of time over several weeks ensuring COVID-19 safety for all participants. "Having proven that the Level 3 COVID-19 safety arrangements we developed are keeping people safe, NZ Farmers Livestock is now working to bring this capability to other livestock saleyards, and scheduling on-farm sales using the hybrid bidding options," said Sweeney.
There was a very high clearance of the stock on sale at Frankton and prices were good in what had become a very uncertain market, he said.
"This performance and level of successful sale completion reinforces the importance of saleyard and on-farm auctions for farmers, particularly when compared to the relatively poor results from the on-line only alternative platforms."
Sweeney said a huge team effort brought together the technical capability to support real auctions in NZ with on-line bidding capability at an important time for the livestock sales.
"The need for a vibrant hybrid auction system has never been so critical with farmers emerging from drought and going into winter.
"This restart under Level 3 has come in the nick of time for a lot of dairy farmers, with many still needing to sell part or whole dairy herds before the June changeover and start of the 2020/2021 season."
NZ Farmers Livestock is a New Zealand owned subsidiary of Allied Farmers.