Cancelled sale raises questions

President of the Forbes Associated Agents Geoff Rice has questioned council over their decision to cancel a weekly sheep sale during the floods.

Local agents John Martin and Bill Dunn believe it is the first time in history a livestock sale has been cancelled in Forbes.

At around 11.30am on Monday, March 5, council suggested to Mr Rice that the sheep sale should be cancelled due to flood water.

An hour later it was confirmed.

“From the point of view of the vendors it was hard,” Mr Rice said of the decision.

“I’m well aware that Forbes was pretty drastic but we had people along the river that were really desperate to get stock out of their [place] before the river came up,” Mr Rice said.

Mr Rice said Forbes is one of three top selling centres in the state and cancelling the sale put pressure on the rest of the state.

“We have a lot of people, not only along the Lachlan, that are trying to get stock out,” he said.

Mr Rice said it was imperative the sales returned to normal as quickly as possible.

“If we don’t open these yards and even the flow of stock out, when we do enter the market there will be a downward pressure system,” he said.

Wagga Wagga and Cowra both cancelled prime cattle sales due to flooding, with Wagga also cancelling their prime sheep sale.

With so many selling centres closing due to floods, Mr Rice expressed concerns about a market glut.

“We are well aware of council’s obligations but we would have liked to be in the decision making process a little bit more,” Mr Rice said.

Mr Rice said he believed council’s decision to cancel the sheep sale was based on information received from the SES and police.

Past president of the Forbes Associated Agents Bill Dunn also questioned the cancellation.

“Yes the southern side was affected but the northern and western side was not,” Mr Dunn said.

He said the cancellation compounded last week’s yarding.

Without the cancellation of the March 6 sale, agents estimated the yarding for last Tuesday week would have been around 10,000 lambs.

Instead, Mr Dunn said, 24,000 lambs were yarded.

The swollen numbers caused the market to drop $10 to 12.

“If we’d had that sale that wouldn’t have had quite so hard a drop,” Mr Dunn said.

Mr Martin said the drop has cost the local region an estimated $200,000.

Mayor of Forbes Shire Council, Phyllis Miller, said the decision to cancel the sale was brought up at an Emergency Operations Centre meeting and the decision was made by organisations who had representatives at the meeting.

Representatives included the SES, police, Department of Community Services, Rural Fire Service and Forbes Shire Council.

“[It was decided] it was in the best interest of our shire to not have people travel to the sale,” Cr Miller said.

The opening of the new pig yards was also cancelled.

The opening will now be held on Friday, April 20.

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