AGENTS have ramped up their call for those attending cattle or sheep sales to ensure they follow the social distancing protocols as prescribed by the Prime Minister this week.
Australian Livestock and Property Agents Association chief executive Peter Baldwin said now, more than ever before the role of agents was critical in the conduct of the livestock auction during the COVID -19 pandemic.
This meant agents needed to take a more clinical approach to selling and a 100 per cent non-negotiable stance on any breach of protocols.
"If it means stopping the sale, halting the bidding or identifying participants who are skating on thin ice then do it," Mr Baldwin said.
"Everyone, from Pen 1 to Pen 1001 at all times, no matter what they are doing must maintain these social distancing parameters.
"And that means, no standing about amongst others having a conversation and if people are getting in the road tell them to move on."
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In a ring-selling facility he said agents needed to monitor spacing of seated participants.
"We cannot emphasise the point more strongly," Mr Baldwin said.
"In sheep and lamb auctions and cattle auctions the health and safety of buyers who are supporting the sale and buying the livestock must be paramount.
"The buyers deserve this and we must return their courtesy in attending the sale by safeguarding their health."
Mr Baldwin said when conducting the auction agents must ensure that physical and social distancing protocols were enforced at all times.
"As agents we must develop a workable and enforceable plan with saleyard operators as to how the sale will be conducted," he said.
He suggested the plan might involve three people maximum on the catwalk or standing over the pen spaced accordingly, who include the auctioneer, the booking clerk and the saleyard operator booking the sale. No-one else.
Other suggestions included keeping one separate pen distance between the current selling agents and the next auctioneer who might be following the sale for market analysis and who should be the only person on the catwalk up the way.
"Have a plan for the placement of buyers, such as only have the willing and able accredited buyers spaced accordingly at the particular pen being offered," he said.
"Remember, we as auctioneers are adaptable beings, we need to adjust to the times and put the plan into place to co-operate with our buyers.
"If it takes longer to sell because you have to start and stop then this is better than having no sale at all."