Spring sales season is in full swing at the East Gippsland Livestock Exchange and to ensure well-presented cattle and successful sales is the preparation and condition of the yards.
East Gippsland Shire Council’s livestock exchange team takes great pride in the preparation and presentation of the saleyards year-round, but ahead of the spring sales season the yards receive extra attention.
The saleyards offer soft flooring, and the livestock welfare benefits are significant in comparison to concrete flooring. With curfews to ensure cattle are yarded for six hours prior to weighing and remain until departure after the sale, they could be standing for up to 24 hours.
Soft flooring is also instrumental in biosecurity. Should there be any diseased cattle in the yards, the floor can be removed and replaced to make the area safe and useable again, eliminating the risk of further contamination or disease spread, and reducing the impact on the industry and economy.
East Gippsland’s spring sales are some of the biggest on the region’s livestock market calendar, attracting hundreds of buyers from around Victoria and interstate, vendors from all corners of East Gippsland and further afield, and onlookers making for a great social occasion. The provision of a contemporary livestock exchange is one important way in which Council supports the agricultural sector.
Regular market days are also held weekly with other feature sales throughout the year.
Soft floors, happy cattle
The livestock exchange team’s work starts well ahead of sale day.
With 14 lanes of pens, replacing the soft floor is completed in stages to ensure all scheduled sales continue uninterrupted.
The first stage is to rip up the old soft floor and turn it over to dry out. Most of the old soft floor material is removed. It is nutrient rich and makes a high-quality organic garden soil mix which is on-sold to local contractors (to off-set the cost of new sawdust).
A thick layer of new sawdust is then spread and mixed with the remaining product by livestock movements, and the pens have a fresh new floor!
The frequency of refurbishment works is dependent on livestock throughput numbers -the more cattle sold the more often the floor is replaced.
This work was previously undertaken by a contractor, however with a new skid steer machine and by holding onto the old machine for a little longer, Council has saved a minimum of $8,000 by completing this recent work with internal staff.