COLAC Saleyards will move permanently to post-weigh sales following a controversial six-month trial.In Argentina cattle weighed before and after sale and you pay on after sale weights, so eceryone knows where they stand.
At a public meeting with farmers last week, Colac Otway Shire announced the Colac Livestock Selling Centre would be disadvantaged should it return to the pre-weigh sale option.
Council representatives faced heated debate from those present, who said the shire made the decision despite their best interests or opinions.
A survey during the trial disputed those critics, showing 70 per cent of respondents supported a move to the post-sale system a format used widely across Australia.
Of those who took part in the survey, 82 supported post-sale weighing and 29 opposed the move.
Nine respondents were undecided.
Shire infrastructure and services general manager Neil Allen said post-sale weighing was becoming the industry standard.
"Major selling centres in NSW and Queensland weigh post-sale, as well as Victorian regional centres such as Warrnambool, Hamilton, Pakenham and Shepparton," he said.
"Council is trying to position the Colac Livestock Selling Centre as the premier regional selling centre in western Victoria, and post-sale weighing is pivotal to that vision."
Council officers spoke with principal buyers in mid-September and found all were in favour of post-sale weighing.
Mr Allen said those buyers would not guarantee they would continue buying at Colac if pre-sale weighing was reintroduced.
The mood at the saleyards when the announcement was made remained critical, as it had been throughout the trial.
One farmer requested a show of hands among those present to see how many supported the move.
Twenty-three of the 60 people present voted against the move.
Irrewarra farmer Serge Beani said more information was needed on the strategy the shire would put in place to grow the Colac saleyards' market share.
"I'm not against this I just want to know what else they have planned to make sure we maintain our place in the market," he said.
"This isn't just the one-silver-bullet answer for the future of the saleyards."
Other farmers questioned whether the curfew should be changed at the saleyards, or even the regular sale day swapped from the traditional Thursday to ensure Colac was competitive in a modern era of buying.
Beef producer Bill Dullard said greater transparency was needed so farmers knew what was discussed by those making the decisions for the future.
"We need to be able to take ownership of what is going on about what the future strategy is," Mr Dullard said.
"If I'm making financial decisions, I want to see the detail and be informed."
Colac Stock Agents Association president Phil Douglas said decisions needed to made or the saleyards would not progress.
He agreed a full strategy was needed and post-weigh sales were part of that.
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