Livestock auctions: Part of growth

Farmers must grow or face the walls of the poverty trap. Keith Middleton and his son Kyle, who run a mixed farming operation in Jacobsdal, have a clear vision to grow their business, increase their rights to irrigation water and ultimately to hold title to their farm African Joy. 

Despite the enormous challenges farmers face, they must persevere and grow if they are to survive as successful businesses, says African Farming presenter Tony Ndoro, who visited the Middletons’ farm. Speaking to a panel of experts, Ndoro asked Johann Vosser of Vleissentraal how auction houses could be part of growth in this sector. 

An auction house like Vleissentraal is an ideal place to look at growth for livestock farmers, says Vosser, because the saleyard is where they market their product and where the prices are set. Growing livestock, if properly done, is profitable, but to succeed farmers need to know how buying and selling at auctions work.

As part of the livestock value chain, auction houses, their auctioneers and livestock agents have a vested interest in setting up and maintaining good relationships with their suppliers, the farmers, and in keeping them profitable. A good auctioneer sets the bid, puts a stop to price-fixing and collusion, and ensures the best possible market-related price for the farmer. It is cost-effective to market animals through auctions, and money saved is money that can be spent on expansion. 

Vosser says strict biosecurity at auctions is non-negotiable as a way of preventing the spread of disease and to satisfy the buyers who want to buy healthy animals. He adds that good biosecurity starts at farm level, and livestock farmers should see biosecurity as part of running a profitable farm. Sick animals always signal loss, whether through mortality, loss of production or cost. 

Selling livestock is the business of the auction house just as it is the business of the livestock farmer. The growth and success of the farmer is the mission of the auction house. 

For more information, visit

share this