THIS year has so far provided many significant moments for the Australian agricultural industry, including widespread rainfall over the east of the country, which has proven to be the catalyst for record breaking stock movements across Australia.
Between January 1 through to April 30, 696,200 Western Australian sheep have travelled through the Ceduna checkpoint in South Australia.
Demand for WA livestock has also resulted in a spike in online listings as buyers look to take advantage of the availability of larger lines and freight efficiencies.
The AuctionsPlus Market Insights team has investigated historical data for sheep purchased and listed in WA to assess the impact the Eastern States market demand has on the use of the online platform for WA producers.
AuctionsPlus reports between January and April this year, the number of sheep offered from WA totalled 119,347, which is more than double the online offering of the whole 2019 calendar year.
AuctionsPlus Market Insights team member Teeah Bungey said since 2015 there had been a gradual increase in WA's offering, with spikes and dips largely following seasonal trends.
"In 2016 we saw an 80 per cent increase in numbers, which can be attributed to an increase in demand from the eastern markets for WA sheep and a push from Elders WA livestock and wool manager Dean Hubbard encouraging fellow agents to look beyond traditional selling methods and towards AuctionsPlus," Ms Bungey said.
"Fast forward four years and the spike in numbers is significantly greater due to the drier start in WA and the contrast welcome rainfall in the east, seeing WA producers look online, many for the first time, to take advantage of the demand and strong prices."
Mr Hubbard said the uptake for AuctionsPlus in WA was growing.
"While the system is being used to market stock to eastern buyers, local agents and producers have been purchasing in sales such as the annual Elders WA Forward Lamb Sale," Mr Hubbard said.
Ms Bungey said New South Wales had dominated the purchases of WA on AuctionsPlus since 2015.
Nutrien Livestock Nyngan representative Richard Thomas is one of the many New South Wales agents purchasing WA stock online in 2020.
He said the majority of WA sheep purchased had gone into the local Nyngan and Brewarrina districts, as a result of welcomed rainfall seeing producers looking to restock.
"About 50-60pc of the area has been restocked so far," Mr Thomas said.
While for some looking for stock so far from home may be daunting for some, for Mr Thomas's clients the sheep on offer from WA have been reasonably sized quality lines, which are hard to come by locally.
Ms Bungey said online results have seen WA sheep travelling up to 3700 kilometres to Eastern States' buyers.
Mr Thomas said the transporting process was a two-leg journey.
"The first leg sees stock transported from WA properties to a spelling facility at Nundaroo, located 300 kilometres from the WA border in South Australia," he said.
"The sheep are unloaded at Nundaroo and spelled on hay and water with added electrolytes for a minimum of 24 hours.
"The second and final leg of the trip sees sheep loaded onto Eastern States' trucks to continue their journey to their new homes.
"All up the trip takes around five days and costs between $30-$40/head - it's a big factor for potential buyers to consider."
Ms Bungey said 2020 had also seen many WA sheep producers look to the online platform for the first time a result of the strong record-breaking prices being achieved online.