IT'S not every day farmers auction their dairy cattle in a seaside cafe.
But that's set to happen in Warrnambool next week when a Portland district dairy farm screens footage of 26 of its best cattle to potential buyers at the Pavilion Cafe and Bar.
Dairy Livestock Services auctioneer Brian Leslie said video sales were common in the beef industry, but almost unheard of in Australia's dairy industry and had never occurred at a cafe.
"They have done it in other countries but I don't believe it has been done at a venue like that in Australia," Mr Leslie said.
It's not only the cattle's debut on screen that's different, but the mix of heifers and milking cows are all also entered in next January's Dairy Week, the biggest dairy show in the southern hemisphere.
"There has never been a sale before where every animal is entered for that big show," he said. "The cattle are very elite." The Cashmore family behind the sale are newcomers to the south-west after they sold up their drought-stricken dairy farm near Cobram last year in search of a region with higher rainfall. Farmer Greg Anderson said his daughters, Katie and Renee, came up with the idea for the video sale. Katie spent six months working at a partner US dairy farm last year where video sales already had a foothold.
Renee said the footage was filmed this week and Monday night's sale was meant to be a family event, while buyers were invited to view the cattle on the farm on Sunday.
"A family can go away for the weekend and they can enjoy cows," she said.
Ms Anderson said she and her sister were nervous about the sale, with their family's best work on show. "We are selling our all our best cows, we said we would offer our best and we are doing that," she said.
Mr Leslie said while the main benefit of a video sale was reducing handling of cattle, the seaside cafe atmosphere offered buyers a different experience.
"With what the dairy industry has been through in the last few years it's the right timing for something like this, to have a bit better atmosphere where people can feel good," he said.