Bull sales around the country are going ahead but in a very different way to normal.

PGG Wrightson National Genetics Manager, Callum Stewart, said sales would be held online using the Bidr platform, from May 13, with 38 sales booked for Bidr.

Stewart said some clients had decided to push sale dates back and carry on as usual.

“Many people would prefer an onfarm auction, but with the Covid-19 restrictions there are a lot of challenges around social gatherings.”

He said PGW wanted to help offer solutions for clients to sell bulls, as it was a significant part of their income, and farmers still needed bulls to get cows in calf. People have taken up the option to use Bidr and carry on with their sale dates.

Stewart said a lot of work was going on behind the scenes conditioning buyers and sellers on using the technology and offering support for those who needed it.

“Bidr is owned by PGW yes, but it’s open to anyone, and it’s supporting a Kiwi business.”

He said regional livestock managers were being conditioned on how people sign up, how to use Bidr, that their understanding is with technology and how to help them. They can sign people up on their behalf if they were struggling.

“It’s about the bigger picture and helping the whole country.”

Viewing bulls was an obstacle to overcome and farmers needed a safe plan for this to happen at alert level 3.

He said it might be by appointment only, so vendors might have an open week. People could still make their selection in the flesh while practicing social distancing and observing government protocols. Others are choosing to put their trust in their livestock rep to make the selection for them.

He admitted it would be a big change for many but believed there could be positives come from it.

There would be big cost savings for people in going online. If it’s successful, people might choose to utilise it in the future.

“It’s going to create diversity.”

He doesn’t believe onfarm auctions would disappear, but there was likely to be different platforms and options to sell bulls.