HIGH SPIRITS: Monto Cattle & Country's saleyard team prior to social distancing measures were in place. Photo: Contributed
HIGH SPIRITS: Monto Cattle & Country's saleyard team prior to social distancing measures were in place. Photo: Contributed

New trends emerge from Burnett saleyards during virus

CATTLE saleyards in the Burnett have managed to stay open during the pandemic, but have undergone some major operational changes in order to do so.

Owner of Monto Cattle and Country, Brad McInally, said they had continued to hold biweekly events, but with extra precautions.

"We have put protocols in place to abide by social distancing," Mr McInally said.

"People have to sign in as a registered buyer and vendors aren't able to come watch their cattle get sold.

"It hasn't affected business too much because it's always good this time of year.

"Weaners are coming off cows and people are keen to buy them."

Owner of Burnett Livestock and Realty at Biggenden, Steph Whitaker, said they had also changed their operational structure at the saleyards and had noticed market trends hat had helped with sales.

A solid yarding at the Monto saleyards. Photo: Contributed
A solid yarding at the Monto saleyards. Photo: Contributed

"After years of drought, the cattle herd in Australia is quite low," Mrs Whitaker said.

"People are buying again and the market is strong, so if you want cattle you have to pay for it.

"We had a sale a week ago and cattle are going as far a Victoria.

"Buyers are looking to southern and central Queensland for stock.

"We are just so fortunate our professional organisations like the Australian Livestock and Property Agents and Australian Livestock Markets Association as well as Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud negotiated for us to stay open because we are an essential service.

"People are being careful and doing the right thing.

"As an industry I think we have done really well."



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Director of Aussie Land & Livestock at Kingaroy, James Bredhauer, said business had been non-stop since the initial coronavirus restrictions were enforced.

"In the early days of the lockdown thing, we were flat out trying to get butchers' cattle in," Mr Bredhauer said.

"When everyone was busy stocking up on toilet paper, they were also purchasing produce and stocking up on meat, particularly beef.

"Cattle sales have levelled out now and but there is still a good demand for it.

"A lot of product is still going to America since China banned the imports of beef.

"In America they are having problems with their meatworks and can't process anything.

"This has been good for us, but once they are back up and running, the inevitable will happen.

"Hopefully restaurants will open up again soon and there will be more of a local demand."

Mr Bredhauer said he expected more business would be done online post coronavirus.

"We are a services business and there's nothing better than sitting around a table and nutting things out with five other people," he said.

"However, I think cattle and other products will be sold online."

Owner of Pratt Agencies in Murgon, Paul Pratt, said another big change would be how they operated at the saleyards.

"We will have to wait and see how long social distancing goes on for," Mr Pratt said.

"Before coronavirus, pretty much anyone could walk through and onto the catwalks.

"Once this is over, there might be a limit of the amount of people allowed into the yards."