Vendors welcomed back to saleyards

By Jamie Salter

Vendors have been welcomed back to saleyards and livestock selling centres across Australia as coronavirus restrictions continue to ease.

Vendors have been permitted to attend saleyards from June 15, after the COVID-19 National Saleyards Protocols banned the general public from attending livestock sales.

However, Shepparton Regional Saleyards site manager Brendan Carey said the saleyards would continue to run on restricted access.

“Our rules here are decided by Greater Shepparton City Council, who is following the advice of the Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos, and we are currently not open to the general public,” Mr Carey said.

“As much as we have a large space, if visitors are all looking at the same pen, we can’t control social distancing — with staff, we already have 100 people across the whole site.

“About 99 per cent of the people are here because it is a workplace, and we have a number of rules in place to make it a safe workplace.”

He said he hoped Shepparton Regional Saleyards would open to the general public by the first week of July.

The relaxed restrictions across Australia still require social distancing and good hygiene practices.

Australian Livestock Markets Association president Ken Timms said the industry remained aware of the need to reduce the risk of exposure.

“However, we're excited now to be in a position to invite vendors back to our facilities to take part in the action and vibrancy of sale day — albeit with new precautions in place,” Mr Timms said.

“Prospective buyers have never been denied the ability to purchase livestock from saleyards and can continue to compete through an accredited buyer, free of charge through their preferred agent or directly themselves either at the facility or via an online arrangement concurrent with live auctions.”