A NEW online sales concept streamlined to benefit not only the nation’s lamb processors but also producers and stock agents is due to be launched on the FarmGate Auctions platform on October 2.
Abblamb is the brainchild of fourth generation Binda (NSW) prime lamb producer Rob Fraser, who could see new technologies were being underutilised in the prime lamb value chain.
“I felt lamb producers needed a platform where marketing costs can be reduced. That platform could also allow my property’s credentials around biodiversity and carbon management to follow my lambs,” Mr Fraser said.
Abblamb mimicked the saleyards system on-farm and gave producers the advantage of passing in the lambs with only the cost of the listing, he said.
“Physical markets can be so erratic on the day, with one pen of the same article differing $10 side-by-side,” Mr Fraser said.
He described Abblamb and FarmGate Auctions as a natural fit and welcomed the joint venture.
“We are not reinventing the wheel, but buyers can push a button and purchase a lamb with more information at their fingertips. Agents are vital for the supply chain and have a role in linking producers together to do business in the marketplace. The system offers a fair marketplace for everyone in the supply chain,” Mr Fraser said.
“I wanted a system where the lamb producer could reserve their product when at auction that didn’t come as a massive cost or biosecurity risk to the farm. As a lamb producer I wanted to be more of a price maker, not taker.”
As Abblamb director, he has worked with independent online livestock selling platform Farmgate Auctions to refine a system which gives a dollars per head price on lambs before they leave the farm gate.
To use Abblamb, vendors and processors register for free on the FarmGate Auctions website. The listing cost for vendors is $1.50 per lamb with no transport costs incurred. Vendors have the opportunity to reject an offer on their listed stock.
“In comparison to a physical saleyard where meat buyers assess lambs visually and estimate their dressed weights, Abblamb will present liveweights of every individual lamb and the lots will be drafted into categories from light trade to light and heavy export,” Mr Fraser said.
On-farm livestock assessments will be carried out by independent assessors with each lamb individually weighed with EID details for the processors. Delivery can be the same day or by arrangement.
Lots will be offered each day from 8am (7.30am in South Australia) and based on regions along the eastern seaboard and South Australia featuring physical sales that particular day for ease of transport logistics. Vendors are given two opportunities to sell their lambs before the stock are reassessed.
“Producers enter how long the lambs have been off feed and shrinkage rates are calculated automatically,” Mr Fraser said.
The digital auctions will run for around 10 minutes with each lot closing as it is sold, unlike other sales platforms where all lots remain open until the end of the sale.
Low carbon footprint
Mr Fraser said the low carbon footprint of the Abblamb selling system had been welcomed by many producers.
“Going from farm direct to the processor rather than being trucked to the saleyards and then being loaded again onto another truck, helps improve animal welfare and biosecurity, and reduce the carbon footprint,” he said.
“We are going through challenging times in the lamb market both domestically and globally, and people are looking for marketing options. As a producer, I was losing interest in breeding prime lambs with the lack of a fair place to sell my lambs. The drawbacks of over-the-hooks, you would be in the queue for about four weeks with no guarantee of price per kilogram and skin value.”
FarmGate Auctions director Richard Norton said Abblamb reassured processors of access to lambs on-farm every day.
“The first sale day is the public holiday of October 2. Agents can list lambs up to midnight the day before and sell them on a public holiday allowing processors to process them the next day,” Mr Norton said.
Nutrien Ag Solutions livestock manager in Goulburn, Daniel Croker, said Abblamb would give agents additional avenues of market exposure of their client’s stock without leaving the paddock.
He said the new system would drive financial benefits for producers, agents and processors across the board.
“It will give more control over the market price and there will be benefits for the producer, agent and processor. For the producer to be able to promote what they are doing in terms of their prime lamb product is important for processors to see, in order for the producer to achieve that next level of price,” he said.
“In regard to the processor, lambs are weighed into their optimal weight ranges, whether that be trade, heavy trade or export, to give the advantage of maximising grid specifications. Going straight from paddock to processor optimises animal welfare, lifts the kill average and improves eating quality for the consumer.”
Abblamb caters for prime lambs only with feeder sales at 9am each Friday for store lambs.