Council plans saleyard revamp

Corowa agents banned together last Thursday to conduct their largest spring store sheep in many years where crossbred ewe maiden made to $261 and ewe lambs sold to $204. The sale was well attended by a large and enthusiastic crowd.THE fifth largest sheep and lamb saleyards in NSW is getting a possible make-over.

The Corowa saleyards, which services sheep farming clients in the border regions of the eastern Riverina and north-east Victoria, is currently considering expansion plans estimated to cost more than $3 million.

The operator of the yards, the Corowa Shire Council, says it has completed the consultative process with users of the facility and it will consider the outcomes of this before pressing on with the planning for future expansion of the facility.

Corowa Shire mayor Fred Longmire said over the years, sheep numbers continued to grow at the saleyards and that the council had supported this growth through ongoing yard developments.

A store sheep sale of more than 22,000 head last Thursday highlighted the growth in producer support, and a top price of $261 a head demonstrated its ability to generate strong prices on behalf of this client seller base, he said.

During this spring, the Corowa prime market, which conducts weekly sales each Monday, sold young lambs to a high of $170.20, while its largest yarding was 20,800 lambs and sheep less than a month ago.

Mr Longmire says an upgrade of the waste water treatment at the saleyards has recently been completed by the council at a cost of $1.6m.

A master plan is being prepared following the consultation and will include improvements to capacity, livestock handling, lighting and traffic management.

This will highlight cost and possible stages of consideration.

The value of the throughput at the Corowa sheep-only saleyards for the last financial year was $56.7m from 480,000 head sold.

Six stock agency firms sell regularly at the saleyards.

Corowa Agents Association president Clynton Rixon said Corowa as a regular prime sheep and lamb market had gone ahead in leaps and bounds since a decision was made almost a decade ago to move to weekly selling.

He said the decision to go weekly has been well supported by local farmers on both sides of the border, particularly those wanting more frequent markets during the spring period.

Buyers from all three southern States have regularly attended Corowa markets since the adoption of these weekly sales.

And because it is held early in the week, it has helped buyers to gather constant and timely flows of livestock, he added.

The planned improvements that yard-users will most benefit from included the proposed upgrade of the lighting and increased holding areas, including well-drained dirt-yards.

Mr Rixon said a major re-alignment of the receiving, drafting and selling areas would see Corowa adopt a flow-through model similar to Wagga Wagga saleyards – one of the best working sheep saleyards in the country.

Proposed new ramp facilities to be built at two ends of the complex will hasten the delivery process for processors and transport operators managing strict and tight transport timetables.

Mr Longmire said supporting the Corowa saleyards was a key focus of council.

“We want to continue to build on its success,” he said.

“I am looking forward to the finalisation of the Master Plan which will be considered by council.”

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