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Bustling Yass cattleyard shows farmers keep tipping out despite recent rain

Jake Evans, Thursday October 11, 2018 - 13:54 EDT
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The Yass sale yards are unusually busy for October - ABC

The sale yards at Yass ought to be quiet this time of year, but 1,500 cattle were sold off today — most younger and leaner than sellers might have liked.

"There's a number of people here putting cattle through the market today that would normally have held them," Sale yard manager Rick Maslin said.

"The wallet in the pocket has emptied out and they've got to get rid of them."

Recent rain showered sporadically over the Tablelands, giving some farmers up to 30 millimetres, and others almost none.

Bungendore cattle farmer Maxine Linnane received only 2 millimetres of rain last week.

She was at the yards taking stock of prices, as she plans to sell in a few weeks and leave the game.

"I'm not looking to get back into it. That's it, no more," Ms Lannine said.

"It's pretty grim."

'Panic' coming without substantial rain

Farmer Stephen Clancy, who was selling today as he scales down to breeding stock, said the rain was not enough to produce feed.

"I opened up a silage pit last week that's been underground for 32 years," he said.

"How much preparation can you do for a drought?"

Mr Maslin said that farmers are at the crossroads of "tipping out".

He said the region's core breeding stock remained in decent health, but the number of cattle being sold was creeping up.

And he warned the "panic" would really set in at the end of the month if a hot dry wind blows through and the region has not received "serious rainfall".

But Mr Maslin remained optimistic.

"Farmers are optimistic and audacious by nature," he said.

"There are a number of fellas taking the punt that it will rain.

"They're gonna take cattle out of this yarding and put them into grass and onto paddocks and hope like hell that the heavens open up in the next few weeks."


© ABC 2018

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