A calendar auction auction is held on the same place /auction pens on a weekly, monthly, quarterly or even yearly basis by an agent who advertises the auction in a calendar. The venue for the auction would have been selected and developed over years and its mere survival shows that there is a need for such an auction. The sellers and buyers at the calendar auction can vary according what is on offer and what are the needs of both seller and buyer. The auctioneer, marketing officer, accountant, roll clerk and labourers facilitate the auction and their versatility enables them to even conduct real estate auctions.
- The marketing officer will source the livestock for the auction, receive it at the auction pens, classify the animals in lots preferred by buyers and he and the auctioneer will source buyers to attend the auction.
- The accountant will see to the financial administration — all statutory requirements as well as collecting payments and financing of buyers, and payment of sellers.
- The roll clerk will keep accurate records of what is sold, by whom, price of animals and who is the buyer.
- The labourers will identify the animals and load them on trucks to be delivered at the buyers place.
A special auction is an auction requested by a seller or sellers to sell some their livestock or a seller could sell of his livestock, farms etc. It could be a dispersal sale if the seller stops farming.
At a stud auction animals of special breeding qualities are for sale. The auctioneer, seller/sellers will work closely with a breed society who will select the animals according to their standards for such an auction. The auctioneer conducting this auction is a specialised stud auctioneer. The Stud Breeders’ Manual includes an in-depth look at animal and performance recording, the principles of marketing purebred livestock. Visit www.studbook.co.za or call 051 410 0900 for more information.
At game auctions game is either sold in a open auction or on catalogue. Special arrangements are needed to transport game and auction pens and handling facilities must be according to specifications. All auctions are attended by NSPCA personnel to make sure animals are being handled humanely and facilities meet specified criteria.
A private treaty is where a marketing officer/agent facilitates a transaction directly between a seller and buyer of livestock. The transaction is well documented.
Farmers can also, of course, sell their animals at guaranteed prices to abattoirs, feedlots etc. with the help of an agent or not. The buyer becomes the owner of the animal. Contract slaughtering refers to animals that are being slaughtered and the farmer is being paid on a kg carcass basis. The 5th quarter (the skin etc) covers the slaughtering fees.
The role players in livestock marketing
- Agents – they facilitate transactions between sellers and buyers on a professional basis.
- Sellers – primary and secondary producers Buyers – abattoirs, trade, feedlots, speculators
- Financers (usually banks)
The livestock market and related value chain is the single biggest industry in Agriculture in SA. All the role players in the value chain add value and enable survival of the industry.
National strategy and government contact
Agricultural Products Agents Council (APAC) Tel: 011 894 3680 www.apacweb.org.za Agents in South Africa must register with APAC in terms of the Agricultural Products Agents Act (Act 12 of 1992 as amended). APAC regulates three categories of agricultural produce agents, namely: Fresh Produce Agents, Livestock Agents and Export Agents.
Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) Directorate: Marketing Tel: 012 319 8455 www.daff.gov.za Auctions are included in the discussion on marketing of livestock in Training Paper No. 7 of the very useful Agricultural Marketing Extension series. Find this at www.daff.gov.za – take “Resource Centre” and then the “publications” options. On the same website, see The Livestock Auctioneering Process, part of the small-scale farmer marketing series.
There are two South African National Standards, SANS 1469:2014 Humane handling and facilities for the protection of livestock at shows, auction sales, vending sites and livestock pounds and SANS 1488:2014 Humane transportation of livestock by road which have been published to protect livestock during transport and whilst at livestock auctions. These two Standards are read together with the Animals Protection Act, 71 of 1962 and any other relevant national legislation. The Standards are available from the South African Bureau of Standards, at www.sabs.co.za.
The Code of Practice for the handling of livestock at saleyards and vending sites, based on the above mentioned Act, can be found on the internet.
Refer to the “Abattoirs” page for details of other role players and major commercial groups.
- South African Federation of Livestock Auctioneers (SAFLA) is a federation for livestock auctioneers. Contact the secretary at 012 460 2054. SAFLA is one of the members of the Red Meat Industry Forum. See www.redmeatsa.co.za.
- SA Feedlot Association (SAFA) Tel: 012 667 1189 www.safeedlot.co.za A major market focused on at auctions is the slaughter market which has its own specific requirements. This is a different market to stud stock trading.
- South African Institute of Auctioneers (SAIA) www.auctioneering.co.za Find the Regional Representatives, Auctioneers by Province, Auction Info and other menu options on the website. The Code of Conduct for agents is also available.
- Most Breeders’ Societies now specify a (within breed) standard catalogue format for auctions. Each has its own rules. Find role players in the “Animal Improvement and breeders” chapter.
- South African College of Auctioneers Tel: 011 979 0176/8 www.auctioncollege.co.za Courses are held nationwide (the website carries news of these).
- AAM Livestock Agents and Auctioneers Tel: 033 266 7134 / 076 031 4310 www.aamkzn.co.za
- African Game Auctioneers Tel: 082 570 5863 http://africangameauctioneers.co.za
- Andre Kock & Son Tel: 053 927 1981 www.akock.co.za
- BKB www.bkb.co.za Find “Livestock & auctions” under “Services” on the website.
- Clive Gardner Auctioneers Tel: 082 491 8289 http://plase.co.za
- CMW Elite Auctioning Company Tel: 041 406 7500 www.cmw.co.za/Auction/
- ECO Auctioneers See Vleissentraal www.ecoauctions.co.za
- GWK Ltd Tel: 0861 495 111 www.gwk.co.za
- Hobson & Co Tel: 046 622 4724 www.hobsonandco.co.za
- Juventis Tel: 012 347 6323 / 082 809 7488 www.juventis.co.za Livestock marketing consultant
- Kirklands Auctioneer Tel: 082 903 6019 www.kirklandsauctioneer.co.za
- KLK Landbou Beperk Tel: 054 337 6200 www.klk.co.za
- Mike Killassy Auctioneering Tel: 082 378 8112 http://mikekillassy.com
- Noordkaap Livestock Co-op Tel: 053 927 3871 http://nklhveilings.co.za
- Sheard Auctioneers Tel: 045 843 1043 www.sheardauctioneers.co.za
- Tirhani Auctioneers Tel: 0861 847 4264 http://auctionet.co.za
- Unyati Tel: 051 444 1584 http://unyati.co.za
- Vleissentraal Tel: 012 460 9916 www.vleissentraal.co.za Contact details for auctioneers in Bethlehem, Bloemfontein, Klerksdorp, Bosveld, Ermelo and KwaZulu-Natal are on the website.
The advantages and disadvantages of auctioneering
- Without an auction, prices can be manipulated downwards by the buyers e.g. in beef production there are a few strong buyers and many weak sellers.
- The fact that the market is price efficient, producers receive payment almost immediately after the animal is sold and all types of livestock can be marketed.
- No market knowledge is required by the producer. A good auctioneer is able to break up buyer’s rings if the sellers are on his side.
- high shrinkage and transportation costs;
- disease spreading is more likely;
- excessive stress is placed on animals;
- this is a lengthy, time consuming process;
- auctions can be manipulated. Buyers form rings and this usually occurs when cattle supplies are in a surplus situation;
- traditionally, auctions are held at specific places such as Farmers’ Association sale yards which means cattle have to be moved from the farm to the yard;
- the seller feels pressure to sell his cattle at the sale at the price offered or take his animals home again.
Source: SA Stud Book
An Auctioneer’s personal skills should include:
- being professional, competent and projecting an impartial image;
- excellent communication skills, humour, charm;
- reliability and trustworthiness;
- a commanding if not charismatic presence;
- good sales skills;
- versatility in applying these skills e.g. being able to sell a race horse today and wine tomorrow;
- not only being knowledgeable about information in the catalogue but knowing how to interpret, communicate and clarify pertinent details for the buyer e.g. EBVs that are significant to the pedigree about the Sire’s family as well as that of the Dam and her performance traits;
- intuition and being astute;
- being a “psychologist” and “sociologist” – know how to read people (the crowd) as well as the context accurately;
- being able to easily assume appropriate facilitation roles;
- understanding all the roleplayers as well as their agenda;
- “reading” the dynamics unfolding before they happen e.g. the values and norms of specific groups and how they are likely to respond to events; each other and why.
Source: Mike Killassy (see http://mikekillassy.com)
Websites and publications
- Visit the websites listed earlier in the chapter. The APAC website, www.apacweb.org.za, for example, has newsletters, articles and magazines which can be downloaded.
- The weekly agricultural publications Farmer’s Weekly and Landbouweekblad carry news of auctions. Find the auction report, auction advertisements and auction calendar options at www.farmersweekly.co.za. The electronic arm of Landbouweekblad, www.landbou.com, offers an SMS service with livestock auction prices. Find auction prices under the “Markte” option.
- The Stud Breeders’ Manual deals with auctions and sales under the auspices of breeders’ societies. The chapter is titled “Auctions as a marketing mechanism”. Contact SA Studbook at 051 410 0900 or visit www.studbook.co.za.
- Find the DALRRD Info Pak “The Livestock Auctioneering Process”, part of the Small-scale farmer marketing series, at www.daff.gov.za (take the “Resource Centre” option).
- The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture has a dcoument “Buying and selling livestock at auctions – do’s and don’ts” under “Resource centre” at www.kzndard.gov.za.
- Read the Agribook blog “Turning livestock owners into livestock farmers”, a success story about Meat Naturally, a project in the Eastern Cape about bringing livestock owners into the value chain.
- Jordaan, F. 2016, February 24. “Buying a bull at an auction”. Farmer’s Weekly. Available at www.farmersweekly.co.za/animals/cattle/buying-a-bull-at-an-auction
- The National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC)’s Agripreneur Issue 18 (September 2019) looks at auction sales for cattle in the Kwazulu-Natal province.
With gratitude to those who contributed information to this chapter: Mike Killassy; Lizel Pretorius (ex-APAC); Pieter Geldenhuys (Alliance Group) and Andries Venter (NSPCA).
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