Muchea Livestock Centre carefully opens to vendors

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Cally DupeCountryman
A pre COVID-19 sheep sale at the Muchea Livestock Centre.
Camera IconA pre COVID-19 sheep sale at the Muchea Livestock Centre. Credit: Danella Bevis

WA’s biggest livestock saleyard will open to vendors for the first time in three months next week in line with easing COVID-19 restrictions.

Those selling livestock will be able to attend sheep and cattle sales at Muchea Livestock Centre on Monday and Tuesday of next week.

Vendors were banned from attending livestock sales in March as part of COVID-19 National Saleyards Protocols, which were eased last week.

Under the protocols, sales continued after the Federal Government deemed agriculture an essential service, but attendance was limited to buyers, agents and staff.

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WA Meat Marketing Authority chief executive Greg Lott said the organisation, which runs Muchea Livestock Centre, would reopen to vendors on Monday.

Agents, buyers and vendors would need to provide their name and phone number when arriving on site, by either providing a business card or completing a form.

“As of Monday, June 29, the Muchea Livestock Centre will re-open to vendors,” he said.

“At this stage there will be no access to the general public.

“We ask that all users continue to maintain good hygiene practices and continue to maintain social distancing when visiting.”

The shires governing WA’s three other major saleyards, at Boyanup, Katanning, and Mt Barker, were expected to make a decision on vendor attendance this week.

Chief executives at the Shire of Capel, Shire of Katanning, and Shire of Plantagenet were yet to finalise on plans to reopen the saleyards to vendors when Countryman called on Tuesday.

But both Katanning Regional Saleyards manager Rod Bushell and Mt Barker Regional Saleyards manager Greg Moore said they expected to tentatively welcome back vendors to the saleyards within the next two weeks.

Australian Livestock Markets Association president Ken Timms said it was essential competitive bidding in saleyards continued during the COVID-19 crisis.

“The industry remains acutely aware of the immense challenge of COVID-19 and the need to reduce the risk of exposure to and spread of the virus,” he said.

“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.”

Vendors and buyers should check with their local centres to determine the exact requirements of access.

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