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HomeBeefReview: 18 months on from Ireland’s first virtual livestock auction
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Review: 18 months on from Ireland’s first virtual livestock auction

It is 18 months since the first LSL virtual livestock auction took place in Ireland and That’s Farming looks back on a year that has transformed the way livestock are sold in this country.

Our editor, Catherina Cunnane, speaks to Brendan Hannigan, founder and CEO of LSL Auctions.

It was April 2020, and the Irish government grappled with the first COVID lockdown restrictions. Livestock marts were one of the hardest-hit industries.

The government stated that livestock could enter the mart to be weighed for sale. However, the public would have to remain outside the building and clear of the mart car park.

In many cases, the only option at the time was tender auctions, where a buyer would view lots, offer their best bid and leave the mart.

LSL Auctions 

An almost unheard-of company called Livestock Live, or LSL Auctions, had just completed five years of software development.

It received government certification from the Department of Agriculture, Animal Identification and Movement (AIM).

LSL had finished testing and implemented their internal mart/auction software at several marts across Ireland.

Hannigan said: “Our company had the vision to transform how livestock were sold. We developed internal auction software with live video broadcasting and online bidding at livestock marts.”

“It would mean that buyers and sellers would not have to be in the mart or auction house. Instead, they could bid and view live from their homes using the LSL mobile app or website.”

“The concept of buying livestock without seeing it in the flesh or being in the mart was unheard of at the time.”

Virtual livestock auction

On April 6th, 2020, at the start of the first COVID lockdown, LSL Auctions received approval from the Irish government to operate a completely virtual livestock auction at Carnaross Mart, Co Meath, in line with COVID restrictions and National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) guidelines.

Organisers expected that a few hundred viewers would tune in online. However, thousands joined from across the country to view and bid at Ireland’s first livestock virtual auction.

An almost 100% clearance paved the way for the future of livestock marts and how we would buy and sell livestock in Ireland.

Eighteen months on and LSL Auctions has become a household name.

“Online broadcasting and bidding are in almost all livestock marts across the country,” Hannigan said.

Many wonder how we ever survived without the ability to tune into our favourite livestock mart, either to bid from the comfort of our home or to watch back replays with on-demand viewing.

The company has expanded to:

  • Live broadcasting;
  • Online bidding and timed auctions for land & property;
  • Machinery;
  • Motor, equine and antique auctions spanning Ireland, UK, and Europe.

LSL’ Auctions’ reach

That’s Farming requested some statistics from Hannigan on auctions, lots sold and viewing audience over the past 12 months in the livestock sector.

We desired to understand how the industry has embraced the online bidding and live broadcasting concept.

LSL Auctions have provided us with the below statistics for the past 12 months from 01/01/2021 to 06/12/2021:

  • Lot sold: 1,318,019
  • Auctions run: 9581
  • Online bids: 9,279,145
  • Audience people: 1,083,401
  • Audience countries: 57 (Highest audience country: Ireland, UK, Australia, USA & Switzerland)
  • LSL site page views: 41,917,889
  • Social media reach: 5,800,000

Concluding, Hannigan said: “Based on the success of LSL Auctions and these statistics, one would have to agree that the online livestock auctions are not just a solution to COVID restrictions but a concept that is very much here to stay.”

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