Operators say cattle sales must go on
ONE Queensland saleyard had to close this week due to coronavirus concerns, prompting North Burnett saleyard operators to emphasise the importance of hygiene rules.
The Rockhampton Livestock Exchange had to postpone this week's regular cattle sale at CQLX in Gracemere, after discovering a staff member had close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19.
For Eidsvold Livestock and Property co-owner Trish Bygrave, it's now more important than ever for saleyards to be adhering to the rules in place.
"Every precaution is being made at the saleyards, which includes the safe distancing," Mrs Bygrave said.
"It's all there for those rules to be followed, otherwise we'll have to stop the sales."
Intentional buyers are the only visitors allowed to attend, with spectators being told to stay home amid the crisis.
A register must be signed on arrival to specify if visitors have taken any overseas travel.
"People who are interested in a pen of cattle are the only ones allowed to be at that pen, with distance guidelines being enforced," Mrs Bygrave said.
The pandemic has impacted businesses throughout the country, however Mrs Bygrave said their cattle prices had stayed steady so far.
"There was a price rise after Christmas because of the rain, but it has come back a bit due to some of the export markets getting tighter," she said.
"With only intentional buyers allowed to visit now, we no longer have those buyers who would decide on the day whether they're going to purchase."
Eidsvold Livestock and Property and Monto Cattle and Country expected another sales impact late last year, when the CQLX saleyards changed its weekly sale day to a Wednesday, conflicting with their sale days.
This change however hasn't made a large impact according to Mrs Bygrave, who said buyers now send agents to both sales to cover them.
"So far we've been fortunate that our industry hasn't been affected, so we have to make sure everything is in place so it keeps running like that."