Katanning saleyard bounces back

Zach RelphCountryman
Katanning Regional Saleyards manager Rod Bushell says rising sale numbers signal a welcome change and have vindicated the decision to move to the new facility.
Camera IconKatanning Regional Saleyards manager Rod Bushell says rising sale numbers signal a welcome change and have vindicated the decision to move to the new facility. Credit: Bob Garnant

Sheep sales through the Great Southern’s flagship saleyard are rising, with the facility emerging from the doldrums and edging closer to reaching peak throughput levels.

The Katanning Regional Saleyards, controlled by the Shire of Katanning, passed 829,880 sheep through the yard in 2017-18 to notch a 136,529 head spike compared to last financial year.

Katanning saleyards manager Rod Bushell said it signalled a changing of the tide for the saleyards, after sheep throughput sunk to about 700,000 head in 2015-16.

Mr Bushell said the region had averaged about 1 million sheep yarded annually in the last 20 years, with the popular livestock boss bullish about achieving the levels again on the back of strong mutton and lamb prices.

“The saleyards are always popular when the market is strong and are more attractive when the prices are good,” he said.

“It is shaping up to be a good year, the last two months have been very strong and we hope it continues.”

Katanning’s former saleyards yarded about 1.3 million head annually at its peak.

However, since Katanning’s new complex opened in 2014, the region has experienced a steady fall in sales as the State’s sheep flock declined.

Katanning’s increasing sheep throughput comes as yarding across WA continues to mount.

According to Meat and Livestock Australia’s latest findings, WA’s sheep totals closed just shy of yarding 1.5 million head during 2017-18, with 1.49 million headed yarded — a 14.2 per cent year-on-year increase.

The Muchea Livestock Centre yarded 655,241 sheep, representing a 47,626 head year-on-year increase.

WA cattle throughput at saleyards remained similar year-on-year, MLA livestock market manager Brendan Wade found, totalling 234,746 head in 2017-2018.

Muchea led the way with the highest number of consignments, yarding 93,310 head of cattle, followed by Boyanup with 69,828 head.

The Shire of Plantagenet-operated Mt Barker facility recorded 67,711 head, while Manjimup notched 3897 head.

MLA reported New South Wales cattle throughput totalled 1.75 million head, increasing 8.2 per cent year-on-year.

Across the border, cattle consignments eased 11.9 per cent to 1.23 million head in Queensland.

Mr Wade said tough seasonal conditions in NSW caused cattle numbers to spike at most saleyards based adjacent to the Queensland-NSW border.

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