Virus rules have worked as industry looks cautiously at any changes

Virus rules have worked as industry looks cautiously at any changes

Coronavirus
QUIET: Bendigo Livestock Exchange has so far banned entry to people not considered essential. Any easing of the rules would be done cautiously and after discussion with stakeholders.

QUIET: Bendigo Livestock Exchange has so far banned entry to people not considered essential. Any easing of the rules would be done cautiously and after discussion with stakeholders.

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On the back of relaxation of coronavirus restrictions have prompted a cautious look at how agriculture might also ease restrictions.

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Nimble responses by various sectors of agriculture have helped to minimise the impact of the coronavirus, as some restrictions are eased.

Despite being deemed part of an essential industry, saleyards, wool auctions, property sales and dairy farms, among others, moved quickly to adjust their business models to continue to operate.

Bendigo Livestock Exchange manager Andrew McCulloch, said stringent restrictions on who could attend the weekly prime stock sales had been backed by all stakeholders including buyers, agents, livestock producers and carriers.

He said sales had been off limits to all but those deemed essential, while some changes were also put in place regarding curfews and capacity.

Mr McCulloch said that restrictions would be reviewed, with great caution, after talking with processor-buyers, including the possible return of legitimate store sheep buyers.

Navarre farmer Shane Bibby said he had been like most farmers - self isolating in the tractor during seeding.

He said the restrictions had little impact on the farming business, but the social and education side and local sporting competitions had been more affected.

Elders Hamilton district wool manager Andrew Howells said a lot of work had gone into ensuring social distancing at sales was possible to ensure auctions continued.

He said because of the fall in demand for wool and falling prices, clients were advised to not offer wool unless totally necessary.

Not everyone is happy with some of the restrictions. Deniliquin, NSW, mixed farmer, Lindsay Park, said he was shocked to find he couldn't enter the local saleyards to watch his lambs sold.

"The sellers of the sheep are the most important people and if they aren't allowed to watch their sheep sold, we shouldn't be having these sales," Mr Park said.

He said he was upset that he couldn't control the sale of his lambs.

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