Initial testing clears air at NRLX

RICHMOND Valley Council has ordered thorough air quality testing at the Northern Rivers Livestock Exchange (NRLX) to dispel rumours dust was responsible for the unfortunate recent deaths of 20 cattle who died on farm after lengthy trips.

Initial testing was conducted last week by Lennox Head-based ENV Solutions Pty Ltd. The testing was carried over a 23-hour period, and covered the busiest periods at the saleyards, including pre-sale receivals of cattle, the actual sale and the unloading of pens post sale.

Final results will be received this week, but preliminary results indicate dust and ammonia levels at the NRLX are well under the acceptable levels.

Council’s General Manager Vaughan Macdonald said he was disappointed the unfounded claims were raised in the media, when Council had been responding to concerns raised by some stakeholders about dust from the soft floor and had been working proactively with the Casino Auctioneers Association to address them.

Mr Macdonald said no one had provided Council with any evidence the NRLX had contributed to these cattle deaths.

He said Council has been requesting results of any autopsies on the dead cattle and despite repeated requests none had been received.

“The deaths involved young cattle; it was over a very hot and humid weekend when they occurred and those who were reported to have died all travelled significant distances after being bought at the NRLX,” Mr Macdonald said.

Mr Macdonald said an unfortunate result of such rumours could put uncertainty into a facility which had turned over more than $60 million so far this financial year, and was critical to the livelihood of so many farmers, agents and associated industries across the Northern Rivers.

He said Council had invested $7 million in upgrading the facility and would be investing a further $7 million from July this year thanks to the support of the Federal and NSW governments.

Richmond Valley Mayor Robert Mustow said he was annoyed that inaccurate allegations like this found their way into the media as they impacted the NRLX business, which was the fourth largest in cattle sales in NSW and ninth across Australia, and played a big part in the local economy in many ways.

Cr Mustow said the NRLX was a critical facility for our regional economy, and with people coming into town to buy and sell cattle the commercial flow-ons were significant for Casino and the Richmond Valley.

He said with more than 100,000 head passing through the gates each year, it was little wonder the NRLX was the number one selling option in northern NSW for producers looking to get premium returns on their cattle.

“Benefits flow to local growers having a facility close to their operations, stock and station agents who use the yards to run their business, transport operators who move stock and purchase fuel, locals who work there, and the businesses who support the NRLX operations and its users,” Cr Mustow said.

Weekly sales continue at the NRLX.

For further information, or comments from Mayor Robert Mustow and General Manager Vaughan Macdonald, please contact Sharon Davidson on 0419 401 214.