Farmers look to online trading but saleyards still most popular option in Ballarat

IT is no secret that online shopping is becoming increasingly popular, but it is not just music, clothes and cars that people are buying over the internet.

Even livestock is now a common commodity on the internet and more farmers are choosing to do much of their trading online.

As the long awaited decision on the site of the new $30 million Ballarat saleyards looms today, farmers in Ballarat continue to look towards online auction as a way to both sell and buy livestock.

The online auctions, most of which are run through AuctionsPlus, see thousands of livestock go under the online hammer each week.

AuctionsPlus is often referred to as the eBay for livestock.

So what impact will the online trading have on the traditional market in Ballarat and more importantly, the new saleyards?

Elders livestock manager Graeme Nicholson said although there was an online presence in Ballarat, the actual face-to-face market was easily the strongest way to buy or sell.

A certified livestock assesor for AuctionsPlus, Mr Nicholson said the vast majority of transactions in Ballarat were still done at the saleyards and predicted it would continue in the current trend for a long time to come.

“I’ve sold quite a few sheep using AuctionsPlus, mainly from one producer to another,” he said.

“It’s crucial in the outback in the northern areas of Australia where they don’t have the centralised selling points. It’s great for them.

“In Ballarat it is handy as another way to buy or sell, but I can’t see it taking over any time soon.”

Mr Nicholson said in Victoria alone, there would be 100,000 head of livestock sold in the first mont of next year.

Another farmer from north of Ballarat, who wished to remain anonyomous, estimated about half of his transactions were done online.

“It’s a completely known quantity you are getting, rather than guessing like you would at the saleyards,” he said.

“It will get bigger but the biggest market in Ballarat will still be the saleyards for some time.”

AuctionsPlus auctions are run on a daily basis.