Online cattle market AgriClear goes dark

(Photo courtesy Canada Beef Inc.)

Canada’s TMX Group has pulled the plug on its AgriClear online cattle exchange after almost three years of operation.

TMX, which operates the Toronto-based TSX stock exchange among other services, announced on AgriClear’s lone remaining web page that the AgriClear platform and website have been decommissioned, effective Monday (April 16).

“As part of the active management of our investments in innovation initiatives, we have decided to discontinue AgriClear’s business operations and focus on other opportunities,” a TMX spokesperson said Tuesday via email.

TMX, in partnership with its then-subsidiary, energy trading operation NGX, launched AgriClear in mid-2015, billing it as “North America’s premier online cattle transaction and payment platform,” dealing in physical cattle sales rather than cattle futures.

Buyers and sellers in Canada and the U.S. were meant to use the clearing system to post and view videos of live cattle, negotiate terms, close deals and arrange delivery via their mobile devices, for a charge of $6 per head to the buyer and seller per transaction.

“Backed by the financial support and clearing expertise of these two entities, clients are assured of receiving payment for delivered cattle and receiving cattle as negotiated,” TSX and NGX said of AgriClear last year.

TMX’s spokesperson said Tuesday no transactions were left unresolved in the wake of AgriClear’s shutdown, and offered “thanks to the members of the AgriClear community for their support over the years.”

Market watchers were uncertain of the platform’s prospects at the time of its launch, with Brian Perillat of CanFax telling Reuters that many producers were already set in their ways or were using other marketing channels.

“I think people are often overly optimistic about how much volume will actually go through these things based on past track records,” Jim Robb of the U.S.-based Livestock Marketing Information Center told Reuters at that time.

U.S.-based livestock marketing co-operative United Producers Inc. had made a deal last summer with TMX and NGX to use AgriClear as its “digital marketing solution for online cattle transactions.” As of this week, UPI had no AgriClear sell listings available on its website.

By December, TMX was AgriClear’s sole operator, as it sold NGX to U.S. exchange operator ICE as part of a deal to acquire British energy trading firm Trayport.

TMX hasn’t completely ruled out any future ventures in livestock trading, its spokesperson said Tuesday.

“(A)s evidenced by our recently announced cryptocurrency initiative, we continue to explore new ways to evolve our business to address client needs in traditional as well as non-traditional markets.” — Network

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