THE Mount Gambier and District Saleyard’s reputation as a high-quality stock hub has continued despite strict COVID-19 requirements, with beef and lamb maintaining competitive prices at its weekly sales.
During Wednesday’s sale day at the Glenburnie facility, Green Triangle Livestock sold over a dozen Murray Grey steer at $3.89/kg, with heifers fetching $3.70/kg and cattle at a top of $3.02/kg.
This week’s reported sheep prices were slightly lower than last week, with a pen of 58 lamb selling for $2.40/kg.
Mount Gambier Combined Agents chairman Chris Manser said although procedures at the Grant District Council-operated saleyards had changed, livestock prices were still holding up.
“It is great to see, especially under the current climate,” Mr Manser said.
“Prices are still competitive with other centres and we have been able to keep going.”
Mr Manser said there had been a “hiccup” for heavier lambs with prices lower than usual.
“This is mainly because the restaurants are closed and the trade is basically gone for the higher-end cuts,” he said.
“Trade lambs and MK lambs are selling well, but because a lot of the heavier lamb cuts went to America, prices have been impacted.”
Playing a major role in the food chain, Mr Manser said protocols had been implemented at the saleyards to ensure the facility could continue operating.
“Walkways are only used by professional buyers and agents and truck drivers have used raised walkways which has worked well,” he said.
“We have made sure everybody is washing their hands, registering upon visit and our canteen is only open for takeaways.
“Everybody has felt comfortable and have adhered to the protocols.”
Mr Manser said the facility was fortunate enough to have around 4000 cattle during the March store sale and just over 1000 head for April.
“During this month’s sale, we were able to draft cattle into every alternate pen and maintain social distancing measures,” he said.
“April store sale prices were dearer than our March, which was great to see.
“Steers were approximately $80 dearer than in March and it was an exceptional sale for heifers reaching prices $60 to $100 higher.”
Thanking farmers for their cooperation, Mr Manser said feedback suggested, people seemed to be happy with measures implemented at the saleyards.
“We have allowed farmers to visit before sales between 8.30am and 9.30am to have a look before giving an order to their agent who purchases it on their behalf,” he said.
“Most have been happy with the system and it was something we had to have in place.
“The other alternative was not to have anything at all and that is not what we wanted.”