SA's livestock markets remain open for business

Weekly livestock markets, store sales to go ahead in SA

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Both prime and store markets in SA are continuing as normal but attendance is being restricted to active buyers, agents, livestock transporters and yards staff.

Both prime and store markets in SA are continuing as normal but attendance is being restricted to active buyers, agents, livestock transporters and yards staff.

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The state's weekly livestock markets at Naracoorte, Dublin, Mount Compass and Mount Gambier will proceed as normal, albeit with a much smaller gallery of active buyers and agents.

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The state's weekly livestock markets at Naracoorte, Dublin, Mount Compass and Mount Gambier will continue to be held, albeit with a much smaller gallery of active buyers and agents.

General members of the public and even vendors will be shut out under the tightening coronavirus restrictions, aimed at minimising close human contact, but saleyard staff and livestock transporters will continue to have access to the yards.

It appears SA's decision to close its borders will not impact on livestock carriers and livestock buyers who Stock Journal understands will be able to cross the border to attend sales and return without needing to self-isolate.

Prostock national livestock manager Clint Endersby said the weekly cattle sales at Mount Compass would continue but he specified attendance was only for "everyone necessary to be here".

"We're asking anyone who hasn't got a good reason to be here to stay away and view it online," he said.

Mr Endersby said the online streaming of the sale would be a good opportunity for vendors to follow along and see how the market was tracking and how their cattle performed in real time without having to attend the markets.

We're asking anyone who hasn't got a good reason to be here to stay away and view it online. - Clint Endersby, Prostock

He said they would ensure people who did attend were able to maintain distance amongst themselves.

"We've taken measures and marked out 1.5 metres so people are sitting apart," he said.

While crowd numbers would be down, Mr Endersby said cattle numbers had risen for this week's sale.

"At this stage, numbers wise, we're looking at one of our biggest sales," he said.

South Australian Livestock Exchange manager at Dublin, Andrew Lepley, said the Tuesday sales would be going ahead.

He said cattle numbers had been boosted to 800 head, while there were expected to be 13,000 sheep and lambs tomorrow.

Elders Kadina's Matt Ward, who sells at Dublin, says it will be a much smaller crowd at tomorrow's sale, with no spectators, and also potentially fewer interstate buyers with the uncertainty about border movements.

He said the yarding was up about 25 per cent, which could be attributed to uncertainty about the coronavirus outbreak or just "that time of the year".

"It's hard to gauge," he said.

RELATED READING: Restrictions urged on saleyard attendance

Tomorrow weekly cattle and sheep market will also proceed as normal at Naracoorte with 1500 cattle and 7500 sheep and lambs drawn for.

The monthly store cattle sale will go ahead on Thursday with about 2500 cattle expected to be yarded.

Naracoorte combined agents'chairman Scott Bittner said there was considerable debate at a meeting this morning but they eventually voted to proceed while taking measures to minimise the risk of anyone spreading the virus.

This will include ramped up hygiene and a single point of entry and those attending being asked to sign a document so they can be traced in the event of someone at the sale attending positive to coronavirus at a later date.

The cattle will also be spaced out through the yards and livestock transporters will be able to enter the yards only after the buying gallery are well away from the pens.

The clear message coming out from the government is they want our industry to continue on as long as we can and personally I think it is particularly important that we do that. - Scott Bittner, Naracoorte combined agents chairman

"We are pushing forward, we know people want to buy cattle and sheep and lambs for domestic slaughter while others want to secure supply into the winter months," Mr Bittner said.

"We don't think there are a whole lot of cattle coming in a months time and we don't know that we will be able to conduct business then so we need to make it happen while we can and giving our clients the opportunity to sell their livestock."

He said he understood that livestock carriers were included in the essential supply chain.

"The biggest unknown is buyers' individual company policy on travel. We know there may be some buyers that don't want to come or can't so we are making sure they can still operate using a trusted business associate," he said.

"The clear message coming out from the government is they want industry to continue on as long as we can and personally I think it is particularly important that we do that."

RELATED READING:SA closes borders to slow outbreak spread

Mount Gambier combined agents chairman Chris Manser said Wednesday's sale would proceed as normal and expected all the regular buyers, including Victorians in attendance.

"We are finding people are opting to sell because the price is good," he said.

"Last Wednesday we had 1950 cattle and something like 5000 lambs.

"People have the livestock so they are selling them.

"Local butchers are having record meat sales and the dollar is something like 55US cents so our exports should be going well with where the dollar is."

Mr Manser said the next store sale had been brought forward two days to Wednesday, April 8, due to Good Friday falling on the usual store sale date.

Mount Pleasant is also planning to go ahead with its sheep and cattle sale next Thursday, April 2, with numbers being confirmed.

Strathalbyn market, usually held on the first Friday of the month, has been cancelled.

Nutrien Ag Solution Strathalbyn's Bradley Walker said this predominantly due to the numbers of cattle that would be available to sell.

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