A new website has been launched which allows farmers to buy and sell cattle through live online auctions rather than at the sale yards.

In its first two-hour session last week, the 'Helmsman Auction' site saw six of stud breeder Barry Macdonald's seven bulls sell at reserve price or better.

Macdonald said he was happy to act as the guinea pig for PGG Wrightson's first real-time online cattle auction.

"The feedback from clients who ended up buying animals was that it was much easier, they had no problems and it looked professional. I was more than happy."


Replicating the traditional yard sale online meant he did not have to pay to transport stock to an auction or pay yard fees, he said.

His bulls, all starting at a reserve price of $3000 sold for up to $4750.

Lot 2, a fine-looking Murray Grey stud bull, was pitched to bidders as being a good mover, well balanced and with "tremendous length and depth".

He sold after three bids for $3,500.

Another sire on sale, Lot 1, sounded equally impressive.

"His great length is complimented by a tremendous butt profile all of which combine into a very masculine package."

Livestock auction sites are not new - PGG Wrightson was already running agonline.co.nz - but a real time auction site for cattle is a New Zealand first, the company said.

The 'Helmsman' site allows simultaneous live bidding on lots over a fixed time period.

Potential buyers can watch video footage of the bulls from various angles.

Any number of lots can be offered over a set time period, in most cases two hours.

Prospective buyers must be current PGG Wrightson account holders and have to register prior to the sale to receive a buyer number.

Once registered they can then bid on any number of lots during auction time.

In the instance that two more buyers are still bidding on a lot at the close of the sale, the time on all lots will auto extend until no one has placed a bid for up to two minutes.