A COLAC district farmer wants a municipal referendum on post-sale weighing.
Yeodene’s Andrew Arundell has called for Colac Otway Shire Council officers to allow farmers to vote on whether they want post-sale weighing.
Mr Arundell said a vote was necessary because he did not trust the council to make a decision on his behalf.
Colac’s saleyards is midway through a six-month post-sale weighing trial, which has sparked debate among producers, agents, the council and buyers.
Angry producers say a post-sale system would hurt their returns, but agents say it gives buyers a more accurate indication of cattle weight and brings Colac into line with most of the country’s saleyards.
Mr Arundell said producers should be able to vote on which system they wanted, and that council officers should follow their verdict.
“I wouldn’t trust any council or its staff to make such an important decision on my livelihood’s behalf,” Mr Arundell said.
“The staff and agents and the buyers, they shouldn’t get a say in it,” he said.
“It’s the producers who are the only ones who should get a say in it.”
Buyers bid on cattle on a per-kilogram basis and find out the total value of their purchase after saleyards staff weigh the cattle.
The previous system would display the cattle’s weight and origins before a sale.
“If there’s no weights displayed, I have to guess and because we have such a variety of animals in this area, we wouldn’t guess the weight,” Mr Arundell said.
“Farmers aren’t getting a guide or an appraisal of what the animal is worth.”
Colac Stock Agents Association president Phil Douglas said agents had sellers’ best interests at heart.
“We’re charged as agents to do the right thing and give the best returns to the producer,” Mr Douglas said.
“The worst part of this thing – not all people but a few are very outspoken and don’t even sell at the Colac yards,” he said.
“I think it’d be a huge mistake if we go back and it’ll be proven in years to come.”
Mr Douglas said producers and agents would have input into the council’s decision.
Council chief Rob Small encouraged farmers to talk to the saleyards’ advisory sub-committee, which recommended the trial.
The committee has representatives from the council, agents, saleyards, transport industry, United Dairy Farmers Victoria and Victorian Farmers Federation.
Mr Small urged farmers to complete a survey available at the saleyards and the council’s Colac office.
“The survey feedback will help the council decide whether post-sale weighing should continue beyond the trial,” he said.