The Herefords Australia Wodonga National Show and Sale will go ahead under a different format for 2020 amid growing restrictions and concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 55th annual National Show and Sale will be held in online video format with bull videos being used for virtual judging and for an online auction hosted by AuctionsPlus.
The committee were focused on being decisive about the outcome of the event, ensuring that the Show and Sale will both be able to proceed regardless of further government restrictions, all while keeping the safety of vendors and buyers in mind.
Wodonga Show and Sale coordinator, Jamie-Lee Oldfield said that the committee are pleased the 2020 event is still going ahead, albeit in a different format.
"While the circumstances are far from ideal, the sale committee are excited to be able to still host the show and sale in the new online format.
"As they say, necessity is the mother of invention, and this innovative solution to being unable to hold a physical event will hopefully open up new avenues for vendors and buyers well into the future," Ms Oldfield said.
Wodonga committee chairman Alvio Trovatello said that although the committee's hand was forced a bit with deciding on the 2020 event, the situation was a good opportunity to use some innovation.
"Vendors put a lot of time and money into their bulls and a lot of buyers buy (at Wodonga) every year, so it was important for the event to go ahead," Mr Trovatello said.
All bulls entered for the 2020 Show and Sale will be professionally videoed prior to the event with videos being made available online.
Mr Trovatello stressed that although the format of the Show and Sale had changed for this year, the entry conditions for bulls remained the same.
Bulls will still be subject to all veterinary checks, semen evaluations, pestivirus clearance, DNA sire verification and genomic testing as per previous years.
Although no raw EMA or fat scan data will be available, all bulls will have weights and scrotal measurements supplied which will be signed off by a vet, as well as a full set of BREEDPLAN EBVs.
Bulls will be judged online prior to the sale by Erica Halliday of Ben Nevis Angus, Walcha.
Ms Halliday says she hopes that the new show format will be exciting and interactive while making the best out of what could have been a sad situation if the show had not gone ahead.
This year's show will incorporate a people's choice award as well as the judge's placings in each class.
"We're trying to encourage positive interaction and get people involved that may not have always had an interest in the showing side.
"Adding the people's choice award adds a whole other element [to the show]," Ms Halliday said.
The professional videos of each bull taken prior to the show and sale will have uniform shots of the bulls to allow fair assessment of each animal.
Each video will show the bulls front on walking, side on walking, as well as close-up shots of the feet and testicles.
"The videos will be taken more from a judging perspective rather than a marketing perspective," Mr Trovatello said.
The online sale will be a simultaneous auction hosted on AuctionsPlus on the original sale date of May 14.
According to Ms Oldfield the Show and Sale committee is working hard to ensure all the regular buyers at the sale have the best opportunity possible under current restrictions to still operate, and the agents (Elders and Nutrien) are helping greatly in this area.
Mr Trovatello believes that the different auction format will work in favour of buyers as they will have more opportunity to secure the bull they want within budget.
"The simultaneous auction will benefit the bull buyer by giving them a bit more flexibility," Mr Trovatello said.
Although the format of the Wodonga National is very different this year, the committee and Herefords Australia are pleased that a decision was made early to ensure the best outcome for vendors and buyers.
"The world has changed a lot in a short period of time. "The good thing about making a call early is it gives people more time to talk to agents or talk to vendors directly.
"It gives people time to do their homework," Mr Trovatello said.
The 2020 Wodonga National Show and Sale catalogue will be available next week, with videos online from May, 1 2020.