Rules vary on vendor entry at SA yards

Rules vary on saleyard entry for vendors

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AGENTS ALLOWED: Denis Manhood, Millicent, bought 36 Angus steers from Kumara SE, Kalangadoo, for $1400 or $4.23 a kilogram at last month's Mount Gambier store sale.

AGENTS ALLOWED: Denis Manhood, Millicent, bought 36 Angus steers from Kumara SE, Kalangadoo, for $1400 or $4.23 a kilogram at last month's Mount Gambier store sale.

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LIVESTOCK sellers are making a return to some SA saleyards, which have been off-limits since COVID-19 hit in March, but other yards are keeping vendors out to ensure social distancing.

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LIVESTOCK sellers are making a return to some SA saleyards, which have been off-limits since COVID-19 hit in March, but other yards are keeping vendors out to ensure social distancing.

SA Regional Livestock Exchange manager Andrew Lepley said the Dublin yards had been opened up for the past fortnight, but all attendees were following COVID-19 guidelines, including remaining 1.5 metres apart.

"We are having vendors, buyers and agents," he said.

"We can have up to 400 people and we never get those numbers to a weekly sale.

"If people come here just looking for something to fill in their day, we ask them to go and find something else to do."

RELATED: COVID hits Vic meatworks

At the Mount Gambier store sale tomorrow (Friday), Grant District Council deputy chief executive officer Jane Fetherstonhaugh says vendors will be able to watch their cattle sold for the first time since March.

Prospective buyers, who last month were given an hour to view the yarding pre-sale and then asked to place their orders with their agent, will now be able to bid in person.

But all attendees will be temperature checked prior to entry as an added precaution.

Ms Fetherstonhaugh is confident the sale can work within the rules and is pleased the yard's canteen-which was only providing takeaways - has also re-opened to up to 40 patrons.

"During the additional restrictions it was a challenge to keep things going and enabling our Vic buyers to keep coming, but we were able to convince the government and SA Police that they were essential," she said.

"The majority of our cattle go across the border so without those buyers the competition wouldn't have been there. We probably wouldn't have had sales."

But the Naracoorte Regional Livestock Exchange remains off-limits to vendors.

Naracoorte Lucindale Council operations director Steve Bourne said the decision to only allow yard staff, buyers, agents and their contractors had been made with the combined agents to prevent crowded walkways during sales.

He said the ruling would likely remain until SA's restrictions were fully lifted and the SA-Vic border was re-opened.

It is easy to have another 100 people turn up and how do we decide who can and can't be there? - Steve Bourne

"We understand there are vendors and growers that would love to come back, but at this point we need to ensure the business keeps running and we ensure the risk, no matter how small it is perceived, is minimised by limiting it to people essential to the sale," he said.

"Last year we had $191 million in gross sales (sheep and cattle)."

Mr Bourne said the challenge if they did open up to vendors was keeping numbers manageable.

"It is easy to have another 100 people turn up and how do we decide who can and can't be there?" he said.

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