Tuesday, 18 August 2020 09:41

COVID-19: Livestock sales go online

Written by  Staff Reporters
Livestock sales are still going ahead under COVID-19 restrictions. Livestock sales are still going ahead under COVID-19 restrictions.

Livestock sales and purchases are continuing through COVID-19 restrictions thanks to a hybrid auction platform.

An innovative auction platform, combining saleyard, farm and online auctions, is providing farmers with certainty that sales and purchase of cattle can continue at Level 2 and 3 COVID-19 restrictions.

The platform was developed and introduced by NZ Farmers Livestock prior to the country’s Level 4 lockdown in March, and within weeks was achieving clearing rates of around 96%.

Looking back on this, NZ Farmers Livestock general manager, Bill Sweeney, said farmers can now either physically attend COVID-19-safe livestock sales at the yards or on-farm, or participate via real time video.

“Where traditionally farmers’ attendance at stockyards was limited by distance and time, now they can choose to go to the sale or take part from the comfort of their home office and bid in real time.

“The clearance rate we’ve achieved at stockyard and on-farm sales over the last four months, and the ongoing vendor support, is all the evidence farmers need that the hybrid platform provides the options and price discovery they need to move stock in a way and at a time that suits them.”

Bill Sweeney said “livestock saleyard and on-farm auctions support the sale and purchase of large numbers of livestock and continue to be the primary price discovery route for many stock classes and in many market conditions.

“Movement of livestock, on and off farm, is vital to the strength of New Zealand’s agricultural industry and the New Zealand economy and NZ Farmers Livestock is proud to be able to provide farmers with some certainty during these challenging times.”

COVID-19 safe livestock sales

NZ Farmers Livestock’s Operating Procedures are mandatory and enable livestock auctions to be conducted in a manner compliant with Health and Safety obligations related to the risk of contracting and/or spreading COVID-19, and as such ensuring the highest possible standards of safety.

• Attendance at stockyard and on-farm sales is limited to those interested in buying, those required to operate the sale, and a limited number of vendor rep agents and stock handlers.

• As farm and stockyards are classed as work places there is no attendance maximum but social distancing and other COVID-19 safety requirements apply.

• Any person infected with, or displaying any symptoms of, COVID-19, or that is (or is living with) a vulnerable person (by virtue of their age, underlying health condition, clinical condition or are pregnant), or with any concerns that they may have been exposed to COVID-19, are prohibited from entering the site.

• Social distancing, hand washing/sanitising and related PPE (masks and gloves will be available and used in line with Government direction). High use contact services are regularly sanitised.

• NZ Contact tracing QR codes will be on display at all sites, and attendees will be required to register their attendance. The names and contact details of allthose attending saleyard and on-farm sales will be recorded either via the NZ Contact Tracing QR app or manually.

• All buyer registration, post purchase confirmation, NAIT transfers, and carrier selection/arrangement (delegated to agents to arrange) will be handled as far as possible, outside of the immediate sale area.

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