Spring sales season is in full swing at the East Gippsland Livestock Exchange and to ensure well-presented livestock and successful sales, preparation and yard conditions are required.
The East Gippsland Shire Council Livestock Swap team take great pride in preparing and presenting the sales yards throughout the year, but ahead of the spring sales season the yards are given special attention .
Sales yards offer soft floors and the welfare benefits to livestock are significant compared to concrete floors. With curfews to ensure cattle are herded for six hours before weighing and left until departure after sale, they could stand for up to 24 hours.
Resilient flooring also plays a key role in biosecurity. If there are sick livestock in the yards, the soil can be removed and replaced to make the area safe and usable again, eliminating the risk of contamination or the spread of disease and reducing the impact on industry and the economy.
East Gippsland’s spring sales are among the largest on the region’s livestock market calendar, attracting hundreds of buyers from Victoria and other states, sellers from all over East Gippsland and beyond , as well as spectators, making it a great social occasion. The provision of a contemporary livestock exchange is an important means by which the Council supports the agricultural sector.
Regular market days are also held weekly with other feature sales throughout the year.
Soft floors, happy cattle
The work of the cattle exchange team begins well before the day of the sale.
With 14 paddock lanes, the soft floor replacement is being done in stages to ensure that all planned sales continue uninterrupted.
The first step is to tear up the old soft floor and turn it over to dry. Most of the old soft floor material is removed. It is nutrient rich and is a high quality organic garden soil mix that is sold to local contractors (to offset the cost of new sawdust).
A thick layer of new sawdust is then spread and mixed with the remaining product by the movements of the cattle, and the paddocks have fresh new soil!
The frequency of renovation work depends on the number of cattle – the more cattle sold, the more often the floor is replaced.
This work was previously undertaken by a contractor, but with a new skid steer machine and keeping the old machine a bit longer, the Council saved a minimum of $8,000 by completing this recent work with in-house staff.