DISCUSSIONS over pre-weigh and post-weigh selling methods came to a head today when up to 10 buyers failed to appear or buy cattle at the first prime cattle sale at the new Barnawartha saleyards, near Wodonga.
Many buyers have denied they were involved in an organised boycott, but the lack of competition from regular processors triggered a price reduction of 20 to 30 cents a kilogram across the board at this morning’s 2200-head sale.
Following today’s sale, Wodonga Agents Association president, Trevor Parker said the selling centre would commence a post-weigh system from next Tuesday onwards at Barnawartha.
Mr Parker confirmed 10 buyers - which have regularly attended and purchased over the past three months - did not attend or purchase at the Northern Victorian Livestock Exchange (NVLX) at Barnawatha today.
He said over the past 12 months, there had been numerous conversations between agents, producers, processors and Regional Infrastructure (the parent company of the NVLX), which had revealed many processors wanted post-weigh, a few wanted pre-weigh to stay, and some were happy with either.
At the end of last week, a “unanimous” decision could not been made, and it was decided that pre-weigh would stay.
But Mr Parker said a conduit to progress to post-weigh would be made - if that was what the industry decided.
The agents association had requested processors for a two to three month “transition” if post-weigh was the official outcome.
Two processors who were not present at today’s market confessed they were never officially consulted in regards to the pre and post weigh discussions - but said were not at the sale today because they had “adequate” numbers.
MC Herd, Geelong, livestock manager Nigel Vince denied his company was involved in any organised buyer boycott of new NVLX Barnwartha saleyard's pre-sale weighing operations.
“We have not spoken to or communicated with any other processor regarding selling at the new saleyards,” Mr Vince said.
“Our preference is, and has always been for post-sale weighing for a very long time. When changes were made to selling procedures at Colac and Warrnambool we were involved in those discussions, and yet we still buy from pre-weigh saleyards at Geelong, Ballarat and Camperdown.
“People who have linked us to a boycott at Barnawartha are very wrong.
“Yes, we did not attend the sale because we had an excess of cattle that required tidying up. We also didn't buy at Wagga or Forbes on Monday or Dubbo last Thursday for the same reason but this hasn't been noticed.”
VFF Livestock president, Ian Feldtmann was unaware of the buyer boycott when contacted this afternoon.
He said that to his knowledge VFF Livestock had not been consulted or involved in any prior discussions with the yard operators or selling agents as to the possibly of turning Wodonga sales over to post-weighing selling.
“I'm disappointed that so many (buyers) have stayed away at one time and the producers' cattle were sent home without adequate competition,” Mr Feldtmann said.
The Land understands that some of the selling agents assisted their clients by the paying for the freight home of any unsold stock.
"It was the least we could do with such short notice that so many buyers would be missing,” one agent said.