DECADES of tradition at the Millicent Saleyards is about to end next week with a first ever Wednesday afternoon market.
The time-honoured Thursday morning sale has been discontinued for at least six months in a bid to generate throughput and improve the financial sustainability of the 45-year-old facility.
The bold move has the blessing of the four selling agents, saleyards manager Andrew Robinson and yarding contractor Neville Copping.
They agreed on the trial after holding an on-site meeting on Tuesday.
According to Mr Robinson, the selling date was designed to suit the seven meat buyers.
“Millicent will now follow the Wednesday morning market at Mount Gambier,” Mr Robinson said.
“We are expecting the buyers to come here after they finish at Mount Gambier.
“They will not have to stay overnight as they can attend two sales in the one day.
“A couple of our buyers come from Naracoorte, but others come from as far away as Colac, Warrnambool and Swan Hill.
“The meat buyers have said they will still come to a Millicent sale on a Wednesday if there is as few as 100 cattle.
“We know a few farmers have brought forward their cattle to sell on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Mr Robinson said yarding arrangements would not change with a Wednesday afternoon sale and curfew would be at midnight on Tuesday.
“Most of the cattle are usually yarded by 8pm,” he said.
In recent years, a lack of nominations has led to a number of cancelled markets over the winter months.
“Having Wednesday afternoon sales will help us get through this winter, ” Mr Robinson said.