• Cattle farmers are holding live auctions via WhatsApp, under lockdown rules.
  • The process works like a group conversation on WhatsApp, just with money and livestock involved.
  • A Nguni bull was sold for R310,000 over the app, a new world record.
  • For more articles, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Cattle farmers are getting creative in lockdown, holding live cattle auctions via WhatsApp. And the most recent one set a world record for a single Nguni bull.

Despite being an essential service, parts of the farming industry – like livestock auctions – have been suspended due to the large number of people gathering in one place they bring.

A lack of auctions is not entirely unheard of; auctions were most recently suspended in November last year, after an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.

But with humans rather than animals carrying the disease that is currently of concern, livestock auctions have now moved online

And at the recent KZN Elite Nguni auction, a Nguni bull set a world record price of R310,000.

This smashed the previous record of R197,000 set in 2005.

Gert Coetzee, of NetAuctions in Bloemfontein, hosted the auction, and says the process works pretty much like a normal WhatsApp group conversation. After registering for the auction, Coetzee adds potential buyers to a specially-created WhatsApp group.

According to him 168 buyers registered to be part of the group. Altogether 134 cattle were up for auction, 10 of them bulls.

Instead of inspecting a herd of animals in person, an auction catalogue is uploaded to a website for buyers to have a look at. Buyers are free to travel to the farm where the animal is kept, Coetzee says.

The auction runs for a set amount of time.

“You can see exactly who is bidding for what, and for how much,” says Coetzee.

He says he’s been running online auctions for about 15 years, and has hosted a number of WhatsApp auctions. This was the first Nguni auction using the app.

(Compiled by Edward-John Bottomley)

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