iFarm Livestock Eye

August 2011

Helping farmers make good decisions when buying and selling stock

iFarm is a company that provides farmers and industry with up to date market information – useful in making buying and selling decisions.

Included in a suite of services is LivestockEye – which is information on yardings and livestock sale prices at a number of saleyards around the country.

The company is owned by Jon Sherlock and Peter Fraser.

Jon is managing director. His background is in farming & agriculture. He grew up on the family sheep & beef farm in the Waikato. Jon has a BAgSci & MApplSc from Massey.

He worked as an Agricultural Consultant based in Palmerston North. He then spent 5 years in the UK in IT and project management.

Back in 2004 the company was called Market Update. It now has 3 full time and 15 part-time people. Since 2004 there has been major investment and development in the business happening behind the scenes. This has included expanding the network of industry contact, increased presence in the South Island, developing database systems etc.

The marketing pitch is this : Turning production into profit depends on good buying and selling decisions. Those decisions rely on quality and timely market information.

The idea is to offer NZ farmers and the industry with a range of market information services.

Jon says that until they launched they believed that the standard of the market information to help farmers and those in the ag industry make good decisions had been sadly lacking.

He says that is especially the case when compared to what is available to competing producers in other countries.

LivestockEye is one of four products that iFarm offers to farmers. All are available on subscription – emailed (and sometimes faxed) to subscribers. Costs vary – but there is ‘take the whole suite” option which is around $440.

LivestockEye is a saleyard report which iFarm says is completely unique to the industry. Subscribers get up to the minute market reports of cattle and sheep prices and yardings at a number of key saleyard venues nationwide.

Key Features :

-Independent, objective, liveweight based price reporting

-Current coverage: Feilding, Stortford, Matawhero, Rangiuru, Frankton, Wellsford, Temuka & Canterbury Park.

-A sample of each pen of store lambs are weighted by our staff to provide the only source of factual $/kg prices.

-Near line by line coverage for cattle

-Includes livestock breed & condition

-Often available within hours of the sale by email or fax

-Simple, easy to read format

-Informed market commentary

How it works at Stortford – the sale starts at 11.30.  Sheep start coming in on Wednesday morning. The last of them usually penned up by 9.30ish. Suz comes to the saleyards about 10.30 and essentially keeps an eye on the progress of the sale. She weighs a sample of the sheep from the pens after they’ve been sold. (Not before as this might be seen as an influence on the sale). From this she gets an actual $/kg figure which is clearly very useful information.

She weighs them with a portable Pratley set of scales which she wheels around the yards. Her father-in-law generally gives her a hand. She also loads in key stock information – woolly, shorn, slipe, sex, condition. That information is written up and then collated.

Suz co-ordinates the other staff working in saleyards around the country so she will have an idea on the wider network and how that works.

Other products are available :

Market Insight

Market Insight is a weekly snapshot of store, slaughter and international market conditions to keep farmers up to speed in minutes. It’s usually 3 pages and is delivered by email or fax.

It includes slaughter and store prices, market commentary, overseas prices, exchange rate effects, kill data, weather info and market and industry news snippets.

A concise 3-pager is delivered to your email inbox or fax every Friday.

Market Outlook

A monthly forecast of ‘Farmer Operating Prices’ for lamb, beef, venison and wool for the coming six months.

These forecasts are based on IFARM’s detailed analysis of supply/demand, procurement factors, key export markets, market competitors and exchange rate effects.


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