Weekly Genetic Review: Using Online Marketing Effectively for Sire Sales


The interface between physical auctions and online platforms has been at the center of discussions across the bull breeding industry throughout 2020.

The impact of travel restrictions under COVID has seen rapid adoption of online technology among seed breeders and commercial cattle ranchers seeking access to genetics despite not being able to travel.

As an example of this growth, AuctionsMore reported a 70% increase in sales in 2020. New players in the online auction space, such as Elite Cattle Auctions, Farm auctions and Stocklive also offer online auctions on bull sales in increasing numbers.

Among cattle and sheep sales, 2020 saw the number of lots purchased online increase by 588 pc. In actual numbers, that had grown from 588 lots in 2019 to some 4,048 in 2020. COVID inevitably had a lot to do with such growth, but the trend was already evident even before it arrived last March.

Source: AuctionsPlus For many seed stock operations, the ability to access new potential customers through online sales is considered a “must” for their sale. While no one can deny that the opportunities are solidly founded, there is more to ensuring successful interfaced sales than just listing online.

Over the past few months, I have received a number of inquiries from Seed Stock Operators looking to improve their marketing process and get the most out of online and physical auctions.

The following areas are those that seed stock operators should consider as part of their commercialization process for 2021.


Regardless of the genetic merit of the bulls offered, the rigor of the on-farm selection process, or the emphasis on commercially relevant traits, without a profile in the broader industry, it can be extremely difficult to market and market. sell bulls.

Attracting producers to watch the selling bulls is a fundamental part of selling. With the number of bulls and sales happening across the country and online, it can become very easy for small and even medium-sized operations to get lost in the “noise”.

It is important not to assume that strong local monitoring translates into wider awareness on the part of commercial producers. Very often, seed breeders who have successfully served a local area find that their transition to a larger sales base with online sales does not result in the same demand or permissions that they expected.

These results are often due not to the quality of the livestock offered, but to the fact that too few people were aware of the sale and therefore did not actively seek to participate in the sale.

If 2020 has proven anything, it’s that to be successful, stud farms and their prefixes must stand out. With the larger ‘footprint’ provided by the addition of concurrent online auctions, seed breeders should look for ways to build a profile beyond their local area, with clear messages about their program and their program. genetic.

Examples of the performance of genetics for clients in the form of simple case stories and photographs can be incredibly powerful.

Other profile builders include commercial competitions focused on turf or feedlot finishing programs such as the NSW Sydney Beef Challenge RAS or national competitions such as Beef 2021.

Exposure to a wider audience and proof of the genetic performance of an operation in commercial environments can often be the difference between producers who go on and off to a sale.


Advertising a sale and a program should not be overlooked or minimized. For operations that have relied on word of mouth or limited local advertising, the opportunity to build a larger customer base is unlikely to materialize, despite an online sales component. It can be easy for animals and sales to be generally overlooked or overshadowed by other sales, simply for lack of promotion and publicity.


Basically, a catalog is the starting point for many people ‘s decision to participate in or buy a bull sale. Traditionally, catalogs have been limited to what would function as a printed paper document to be sent and checked off during a physical sale.

The question could be asked: what is the value of this traditional form of catalog in today’s market? Producers who have done their research before a sale and have printed a bull list with a checklist for determining the fitness of their chosen bulls should not use a catalog on the day of the sale.

The opportunity to develop a much more efficient catalog that producers can access online is something to be carefully considered. Several fall sales this year featured online catalogs featuring multiple stills, high quality video, and links to EBVs and indexes for each sire. The catalog links to their online sales platform and several of them also had download options, including a sell sheet for their bulls.

And in terms of expenses, there were none of the usual costs of printing hard copies. Videos and photographs had to be taken for sale anyway, so it becomes a much more engaging and effective method of engaging with potential customers.

As a digital file, it can also be easily shared in emails, websites, and social media, dramatically increasing the number of people who can view sales information at a cost per person much lower than that of paper copies and traditional postal charges.

While many of the upcoming spring sales are now examining their marketing options, these three areas need to be considered and looked at objectively. The starting question should focus on what needs to be changed to ensure that 2021’s online auction opportunities are not undervalued.

Alastair Rayner is the Director of RaynerAg, an NSW-based farm advisory service. RaynerAg is affiliated with BJA Stock & Station Agents. He regularly lists and sells cattle for clients and attends bull sales to support client purchases. Alastair provides pre-sale selections and classifications for seed growers in NSW, Qld and Victoria. He can be contacted here or through his website www.raynerag.com.au

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