Midland review likely

17 Sep, 2003 10:00 PM
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A FIRM decision to reduce the number of selling days for sheep at the Midland Saleyards could be made in mid-November, according to WA livestock Salesmen's Association (WALSA) chairman Bruce McCosh.

Although there have been reports that the sales would be cut back to one a week from December 1, Mr McCosh said no final decision has been made.

Sheep sales at Midland are held on Monday and Tuesday. Cattle are sold on Monday and Wednesday.

A meeting was held last week between Elders, Landmark and Midland Saleyard livestock contractor Hugh Nairn to discuss a one-day sheep sale on Tuesday for when sheep numbers were low. Mr McCosh said the discussions centred around the low sheep numbers and how that was affecting their businesses.

He said WALSA would review the situation in mid-November to see if numbers were increasing, and if they weren't, there could be a one-day-a-week sheep sale introduced from December 1.

The one-day sale would be held on Tuesday.

He said it made no business sense to continue with a two-day sheep sale when the low sheep numbers could not justify it.

"No one is under pressure to sell, it is an excellent season," he said.

There have recently been yardings of between 3000-4000 sheep at Midland, which would have cost about $1000 in saleyard fees alone.

Meat Industry Authority chief executive officer Mike Donnelly said the authority would save on overheads and operating costs if one-day sheep sales were adopted during quiet times.

He said this would also help to keep saleyard fees from rising.

Mr Donnelly said livestock numbers through saleyards were expected to be down for the next few years as farmers restocked.

He said statistics showed prices remained competitive at saleyards.

"We would rather they have one good sale than two average sales," he said.

"It makes more sense from sellers' and buyers' points of view to make sure you got the maximum number of buyers here who will pay the top prices."

Landmark and Primaries also supported a one-day-a-week sheep sale at Midland.

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