Major Victorian cattle sales have been cancelled or postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus concerns.
Friday's 4000-head cattle sale at Leongatha has been cancelled, while Ballarat's 3000-head female sale has been postponed and is expected to be rescheduled within weeks, Stock & Land can reveal.
In a statement, the South Gippsland Stock Agents' Association said: "Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, this week's [Leongatha] store sale has been cancelled."
South Gippsland Stock Agents' Association president and Alex Scott & Staff livestock manager Rob Ould said he was unsure when the sales would resume.
"With the situation and the way it is at the moment with the regulations the government brought out last night, we thought it would be hard to police," Mr Ould said.
"I don't think it would be fair to vendors if the sale went ahead without a full field of buyers there.
"At this stage, we're not sure what will happen with future sales but we will have to follow government's advice."
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The Victorian Livestock Exchange, which runs the Leongatha and Pakenham yards, said prime markets would continue to operate with attendance strictly limited to meat buyers, essential livestock agents, livestock carriers and VLE staff.
"No one has ever encountered something like this before and we have to do something in Australia to take coronavirus seriously and if this is what we have to do, so be it," Mr Ould said.
Last week, agents at Leongatha were forced to move the fortnightly store sale a day later due to a high influx of cattle through Victorian saleyards.
Ballarat female sale 'postponed'
The female cattle sale scheduled for Ballarat on Friday has been postponed, according to AAM managing director Garry Edwards.
Mr Edwards said all other sales at Regional Livestock Exchange sites managed by AAM would continue.
He said the postponed store sale this week featured female cattle with a large component of cows and calves.
"With significant interest from a wide area and interstate and the current travel restrictions, that the sale should be postponed, given the yarding was unlikely to be destined for immediate slaughter," he said.
The sale is expected to be rescheduled in the coming weeks.
He said every buyer attending a sale site and would be required to wear visual identification as an accredited buyer.
If people failed to adhere to the rules "they might find tough consquences in the future", he said.
"Not everyone has been listening and we are still getting people coming who should not be," he said.
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