It’s easier than ever to stay at home and buy or sell livestock 

The internet continues to offer agricultural producers new ways to reach their consumers. 

Online livestock auctions are one such offering, and they continue to grow in popularity, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Companies have created a convenient and efficient process for both producers and buyers to sell and buy online without leaving home or the office.


In the late 1980s, Superior Livestock Auction introduced satellite video marketing for large groups of cattle, paving a path for a new industry. 

Typically, when selling large groups of cattle online, either a representative of the sale company or the producer will observe the cattle in their home environment and take a high-quality video and/or photos, which will be submitted and uploaded to the online sale company’s website as part of a “catalog” that buyers can view prior to the auction date. 

On the day of the auction, buyers can either be physically present at the auction site, watch the auction on television, or stream it live on the internet. Producers attending the sale virtually can bid in real-time. Video buyers can telephone their bids in, and those streaming online can simply hit the “click to bid” button. 

Once the cattle have been sold to the highest bidder, either in person or virtually, a contract stating the terms of sale is provided to both the seller and the buyer, so all pertinent info is communicated properly. Then the cattle are shipped directly from their home farm or ranch to their new buyer, which greatly reduces the stress on the animals as they do not need to be physically present at the auction. 

To be successful at selling with online livestock auctions, experts recommend producers take high-quality videos and photos (a quick internet search can provide some tutorials), and to describe the cattle accurately – age, body condition score, vaccination and feeding program, any implants, special management practices such as antibiotic free, etc. This will help a producer develop a favorable reputation that both virtual and online buyers seek out again and again.  

Local Sales

For those who prefer to sell at their local livestock market, there are several companies that offer real-time auctions and bidding. 

Companies such as DVAuctions and Cattle USA livestream sales from various livestock markets, and allow real-time bidding. 

Many area livestock markets have turned to online sales in the wake of COVID-19 to follow new social distancing guidelines, but the addional marketing tool also expanded the number of potential buyers. It also allows producers to watch their cattle sell, without being at the market. 

These online services generally require registration to view sales, and approval must be given prior to bidding. Sites may require credit check, a credit card number or other banking information before being allowed to bid. Bidders may also be allowed to call in their bid. 

Additional buyers fees may also be applied for those who bid online. Buyers must arrange for transportation of purchased livestock at their own cost, and any additional health certifications or tests required for transport will also be at the buyer’s expense. 

Additional information

High-speed internet connections are needed for most online auctions, and technical glitches can delay the placing of bids. Also, the time lapse between submission of a bid and its registration by the website can vary by several seconds resulting in the possibility of a bid being taken at a higher price than intended.

DVAcutions recommends not submitting bids during a flurry of bidding activity. Wait until bidding activity has subdued before placing a bid.

For more information about online sales, contact a local livestock marker, or an area company representative. 


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