Yards too hot?

Scorching temperatures brought animal welfare to the fore as Kyneton prepared for its annual weaner calf sale last Wednesday.
Despite a forecast well above the mid-30s the sale proceeded with 1300 quality steer and heifer weaners yarded, which is typical practice according to Macedon Ranges Shire Council.
“Sales are usually only cancelled if dangerous conditions exist, like lightning,” council’s director of assets and operations Dale Thornton said.
But several residents had raised alarm about the conditions for animals housed at the Kyneton Saleyards on hot days, which led to a council inspection of the site on Monday.
“On Monday only one pen was in use – a rear pen which had access to afternoon shade. No animals looked stressed, and fresh clean water was available,” Mr Thornton said.
“Some animals will choose to graze/rest in the sun no matter what the conditions.”
Mr Thornton said conditions at the saleyards complied with Agriculture Victoria animal welfare standards and guidelines.
“On hot days, council takes several measures to improve animal welfare; ensuring stock densities are reduced to ensure good air flow. Water troughs are inspected more often, and animal stress levels are monitored. Animal handling is also minimised and restricted to early morning and late afternoon, when the weather is cooler,” he said.
Animals are typically kept on site overnight and in some circumstances, such as bigger sale days, cattle may be delivered by the vendor a few days before.
Weather watcher timeanddate.com recorded Kyneton’s temperature had reached 35 degrees Celsius before the sale began at 11am and by noon the mercury had climbed to 40 degrees Celsius.
Kyneton Associated Agents president Kieran McGrath said consideration was taken to reduce stress on the cattle including an early 4am start for agents, drovers and scanners to weigh and scan the yarding on offer, which was done in three hours.
“All the carriers and staff worked well under trying conditions over a couple of days and all took into consideration the wellbeing of stock and for them to be less stressed than was necessary,” Mr McGrath said.
Carriers acted quickly to take delivery and consign them to their new homes.
Stage one of the Macedon Ranges Livestock Exchange and Truck Park project is expected to begin by April 30. Full completion is anticipated by October 2020.
Mr Thornton said the project would be split into phases, and the roof at the saleyards might well be in place
before that end date.

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