Red Meat Crop
Rob Kelly & Gavin Bignell
Improving communication in the livestock industry
“I was actually trying to become a sheep farmer, not an entrepreneur” Rob Kelly, the co-founder of LIVEstock Pricing explained.
After successfully helping develop and commercialise DailyGrain (a price discovery platform for grain) and having had a long career in domestic and international grain markets, Rob was looking to return to his home town of Kojonup to start a farm. But he was shocked when his attempt to become a sheep farmer was thwarted for seemingly mundane, almost bureaucratic reasons.
“When I entered a bank to get a loan, the budget template they presented me with was all grain. When I explained that I wanted to get into livestock they said lending was much harder because of the lack of information available on the markets.”
Rob was perplexed because he knew that price information was out there but it became clear that the major problem was that no one had managed to aggregate the prices into one place and provide enough of a platform where all players in the market could interact. “There is great information out there such as MLA and livestock agency saleyard reports along with live export orders and processor and feedlot grids, but it hasn’t been aggregated into the one place” Rob said.
Not long after the LIVEstock Pricing app was born, Rob met back up with his former colleague Gavin Bignell, who was also involved in DailyGrain and oversaw its operations and eventual sale to CBH Group. As the two entrepreneurs had already cut their teeth in the grain market back in the 2000s when Australia’s single trading desk for wheat was scrapped leading to chaotic price volatility and confusing trading, they knew they could deliver the same efficiencies and value to the livestock industry as they had for grains.
“It’s like real estate,” Gavin explained. “Individual sellers are all dispersed and all of them have different stock that can range in characteristics and price, it’s not uniform. But imagine if you were trying to decide whether to put your house on the market without any available market information at hand as to what sort of price you may get!” “We solve that by getting that information into one place, much like Realestate.com allows buyers, sellers and agents to view the market dynamics of the housing market. While no one expects total price transparency, they do expect to be able to find out broad trends and have access to past sales and other data. Well, we do that for livestock” Rob explained.
The duo believe that having aggregate data at your fingertips and on your smart phone is a total game changer for everyone along the supply chain. They are not seeking to disrupt the market itself, but instead to offer all people along the supply chain greater predictability and the ability to make better informed decisions. “Producers need timely and accurate market information to support their day-to-day decision making. LIVEstock Pricing’s direct prices from processors, feedlots, exporters and agents along with MLA’s data gives producers real-time price updates to help them do that” Rob said.
LIVEstock Pricing’s product even provides clear benefits for the stock agents (the traditional ‘middlemen’ of the livestock industry). “This degree of pricing transparency helps stocky’s validate their thinking. And buyers are getting better market access helping them ensure that sellers know when and where they are in the market which is boosting overall sales” Gavin said.
The free app already has 4500 users spread across sheep, cattle and goat markets. “We are giving our customers peace of mind when making important decisions in their business. And, ultimately, if they’re confident in their business they’ll be better positioned to demand more of other service providers such as finance and insurance industries providers and that Bank manager when trying to get a loan” Rob said.