Lamb photo

Livestock auctions have stayed open despite the coronavirus outbreak, maintaining a key link in the agricultural supply chain.

Some 1,555 cattle and calves sold on Monday at New Holland Sales Stables in Pennsylvania, up from 1,484 last week.

Sheep and lamb consignments fell to 2,512 from 3,049 head from last week. Goats fell from 2,073 to 1,931. Those week-to-week fluctuations aren't particularly remarkable.

Two calls to New Holland sale management were unsuccessful.

Meanwhile, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation said sale barns should be limiting spectators, and farmers should unload their livestock and then leave the site. The recommendations reflect social distancing protocols that public health officials say can reduce transmission of Covid-19.

“We understand these auctions are often utilized as a social gathering, but during this time, we recommend only active buyers attend the auctions,” said Roger High, Ohio Farm Bureau director of livestock.

High recommends farmers check the status of the auction before hauling livestock there.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf yesterday urged the temporary closure of nonessential businesses to slow the coronavirus, but a range of agricultural businesses are considered essential.

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