THE provision of a new farm-to-farm online service for selling cattle has been welcomed by a local farm leader.
Emerald Isle Beef Producers’ Group have started up a new match up service for all farm-to-farm sales on a pilot basis since Sunday.
Clare Marts has also decided to conduct online sales this Thursday and Friday and Tuesday, Thursday and Friday next week.
Manager, Martin McNamara outlined all sellers have to pre-enter their cattle and are given a designated time to drop off their cattle.
At a predetermined time, buyers will be allowed in to view the stock and the auction will start at 12 noon and any buyer will have to be online.
This can be done by downloading the livestock live app and register with the mart, which can be done by buyers and sellers.
In addition, there will be a full live stream of the online auction.
Acknowledging some farmers are not tech savy, Mr McNamara said there is no fairer system that returning to a live auction system but the mart had to adapt with online sales due to Covid-19 restrictions.
“I can see online sales working as a temporary and a long term solution because some sellers are working, can drop their stock and watch it being sold on line without having to be present at the mart.
“There is a number of buyers that may be part time farmers who may not reside in the county who can look at animals being sold on line and bid remotely or alternatively can view the animals pre-sale and view the sale from their workplace or at home.
“When we return we will only be allowed restricted numbers so we have to make it accessible to anyone who wants to partake in the auction,” he said.
Sixmilebridge Mart manager, Seán Ryan confirmed they have no plans to introduce online sales in the near future for a number of reasons.
With many farmers struggling to sell cattle with the ending of live sales at marts due to Covid-19 restrictions, Clare Beef Plan chairman, Joe Woulfe said the Emerald Isle initiative is an easy way for interested buyers and sellers to link up with each other.
The Quilty farmer said there has been a huge response to this project with more than 600 farmers around the country getting involved using a link provided by Whatsapp.
With a lot of farmers working in a second off-farm job to supplement their income, Mr Woulfe said some of them can find it hard to get time off to go a mart on a particular day.
In an interview with the Clare Champion, he said there are advantages to direct sales from one farm to another such as a reduction in the risk of contracting disease and less transport for animals.
He pointed out any new measure that introduces competition for the beef industry at a time when prices were poor would help to improve prices for hard-pressed beef producers.
With up to 12,000 farmers using Beef Plan’s Whatapp application, he outlined there is a large market for online buyers and sellers.
He said that a farmer can start the process with a certain price per kilo and then look for the highest bidder during the auction.
The new service matches up the highest bidder with a farmer who wants to sell an animal.
According to the Emerald Isle Producers’ Group, it has several good lots of cattle submitted waiting for a new home.
Once a farm joins the process they have to confirm they abide by the rules and agree to their data being shared for the purpose of doing business.