By Lea Coghlan – Queensland Country Life – 5th November 2015
A multi-million-dollar redevelopment and current high cattle market have combined to make the Dalby Regional Saleyards one of the most significant facilities in Australia.
Officially opened in April this year, the $12.6 million facelift – funded by owners, the Western Downs Regional Council, with the support of the Queensland government – has produced a modern facility aimed at helping stakeholders achieve profitable and sustainable outcomes.
The changes include new roofing, lighting, water facilities, soft flooring, pedestrian walkways, ramps, wash down bay and safety and compliance upgrades. The new automated drafting facilities can handle 180-300 head per hour, while the upgraded facility now boasts 680 pens and capacity for about 8000 head of cattle.
The upgrades have improved speed and efficiency with cattle able to safely move through the drafts. Technology features heavily, with modern cabling in the new roofing system, coupled with Wi-Fi capabilities. A new heavy vehicle wash down facility for livestock trucks and weed seed washes became operational this week.
Western Downs Councillor Ray Jamieson, who chairs the advisory committee that oversees the facility’s operation, said the redevelopment was aimed at securing the business’s sustainability well into the future by addressing key issues like animal welfare and occupational health and safety.
“In doing that we developed a masterplan plan to redevelop the facility so we also had an environment that was safe for people to work in and also an environment where stock could be presented to their best advantage,” Cr Jamieson said.
“It’s about creating an efficient facility and providing a sustainable service.”
While 2015 has been an exceptional year for cattle prices, Cr Jamieson believes the redeveloped facility plays an important part in improving how cattle are presented. For the 2014-15 financial year, the saleyards’ gross sales amounted to $165.2 million, more than $50m up on the 2013-14 year.
“People are looking at our facility as a centre where a premium may occur and where you can present your cattle better than you could before,” Cr Jamieson said.
The saleyards draw cattle from as far south as far-west NSW and parts of South Australia, and as far north as Cloncurry.