'New normal': saleyards and rural supplies

Business as unusual for saleyards, rural supply stores

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If you're picking up seed, stay in your vehicle.

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ASKED how saleyards were dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, Kate McGilvray chuckles and says "well it's business as unusual at the moment".

The Australian Livestock Markets Association chief executive said saleyards had each implemented their own protocols to cope with the crisis that met federal government guidelines and allowed them to keep operating.

Sales look different now, said Ms McGilvray, "you can't see the social side of the yards. But saleyards remain resilient, and the normal must carry on - traceability, tags, paper work and fit to load."

Saleyards still operating means stock must come in and stock must go out.

Eugowra Livestock Transport owner Rob Taylor said the coronavirus outbreak had slowed business a little.

"You can't hang around at the saleyards anymore," he said.

Mr Taylor said farmers still wanted to be present when livestock was loaded but it was easy to socially distance.

"It's not really that different, but the young blokes who help you unload aren't there. It seems to be working quite well, but the sellers not being able to see their stock sold hurts them."

At Harden, Peisley Transport principal Dianne Peisley said the emergence from drought conditions was having more affect on livestock transport than coronavirus.

"A lot of people destocked, but there is restocking going on now, particularly in the north," she said.

The federal government has relented after initially closing roadhouses, but the National Heavy Vehicle Operator has insisted on strict protocols.

Roadhouses are authorised to service heavy vehicle drivers in need of food, showers, restrooms and a place to manage fatigue.

However roadhouses must only open for truck drivers.

In Diesel News, Australian Trucking Association chief executive Ben Maguire said "it's vital (truck drivers) have proper facilities like showers, toilets, and comfortable places to have a meal."

Rural supply stores across the state have implemented COVID-19 protocols that basically involve phoning ahead to let the store know what you need and then collecting it.

Pursehouse Rural is open but has implemented guidelines.

  • No more than two people inside showrooms or offices at any one time;
  • Product orders to be taken by phone, email or text only;
  • Product collection from outside store pickup or drive through pick up only;
  • Customers must remain in their vehicles.

CRT remains open and will service customers, preferably by phone, to arrange pick up.

Delta Ag asks no-one enter the showroom or office and deal by phone for orders and:

  • All merchandise collections will be conducted in drive-through warehouses, or branch yards;
  • No cash accepted, transactions are to be by account sale, BPay, Eftpos or credit card.

All Elders branches are operational and are providing hand sanitiser and ensuring high-traffic surfaces are disinfected daily.

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