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Local Merino Growers Lead The On-Line Revolution

A new website, developed by the Canterbury Merino Association in conjunction with Merino New Zealand, is poised to streamline the sale and purchase of stud and commercial stock.

Featuring an easily searchable database of members¹ properties, with details of stud and commercial stock available for sale, the new website has implications for the merino industry on a national basis. Canterbury farmer Hamish Ensor, who runs 4,000 super fine merino sheep on his Rakaia Gorge property, says the new website is an exciting opportunity for members, buyers, sellers and agents.

His comments are echoed by Canterbury Merino Association chairman Brian Hansen, who sees the website as the ideal way to combat the problems of arranging stock sales in such a large region. ³With Canterbury being so large, organising a sale is a logistical nightmare. Last year¹s Methven sale was cancelled simply because it was too difficult to get enough stock to the yards to make it a viable event,² he says.

³The development of this web presence means our members can update their information as often as they wish, meaning potential buyers and stock agents can access the most up-to-date information possible through the site.

³Stock agents will find the search service useful when they are sourcing stock for clients, while our members will benefit from having details of their sale stock available to anyone with internet access 24 hours a day, seven days a week,² Brian Hansen adds.

³We believe this site has the potential to be broadened for the entire New Zealand merino industry. A computer is now widely recognised as one of today¹s important farm management tools, and many farmers are now using their computers, and the internet, on a regular basis.²

Located at , the new website will provide an easily accessible, searchable database of merino stock available for sale within the Canterbury region. Members of the Canterbury Merino Association will have their own page on the site, which will contain details of their property, stock, micron and bloodlines.

At the bottom of each member¹s page is a section detailing stock for sale, broken down into rams, ewes, wethers, hoggets, two tooths, etc. Further detail on bloodline and micron count is also included, along with the number of each available for sale.

Members can choose to add contact details for their stock agent, allowing any potential buyers to easily identify who they should deal with in relation to the stock.

The website also features a search function which allows potential buyers to search any of the criteria. ³For example, someone wanting to buy 50 ewes of 20 micron could enter these criteria into the search engine, and would then receive a list of all properties which had stock available matching those characteristics,² Brian Hansen says.

Due to be launched to the public at the Canterbury Show, the new website has been built by Christchurch-based company Imagic, with core funding from Merino New Zealand. It is anticipated that the website will eventually become self-sustaining, with advertising revenue covering running costs.

At the annual meeting and conference this year, Merino New Zealand chief executive John Brakenridge outlined the need for the industry to harness technology and make it work for growers.

David Wilson, Secretary of the Canterbury Merino Association, says that the opportunity presented by the newly-developed website is one Canterbury merino growers and buyers should grasp with both hands. ³This is the first stage of what we hope will be an ongoing process of using new technology to enhance on-farm performance and maximise income for our members.²

For more information, contact: Brian Hansen David Wilson Chairman Secretary Canterbury Merino Assn. Canterbury Merino Assn. Ph: 03-314-4258 Ph: 03-347-8483

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