Domestic Lamb

Wagga Wagga saleyards reign, in year of throughput falls

Sheep Central, December 9, 2020

SALEYARD sheep and lamb throughput decreased in all states in 2019-20, led by major centres in New South Wales’ drought-affected New England area, according to Meat & Livestock Australia’s annual survey.

The Wagga Wagga Livestock Marketing Centre has retained its reputation as the largest selling centre for sheep in the country.

But MLA said the number of sheep and lambs consigned in NSW saleyards in 2019-20 was 7.29 million head, down 1.26 million on 2018–19 levels and a 14.7 percent decrease year-on-year.

The highest throughputs were led by Wagga Wagga in New South Wales, Ballarat in Victoria, Naracoorte in South Australia, Warwick in Queensland and Katanning in Western Australia.

The survey showed the saleyards with the largest decreases in sheep and lamb throughput were primarily located in the New England area, with the Tamworth, Guyra, Inverell and Glen Innes centres all having large reductions. The Wagga Wagga and West Wyalong centres had increased throughputs, but almost all other saleyards in the Murrumbidgee and central west regions reported decreases.

The Wagga Regional Livestock team selling at Australia’s most popular sheep saleyards.

As was the case in 2018–19, Wagga Wagga again had the highest total throughout of 2.03 million sheep yarded in 2019-20, up 15.7pc year-on-year, supporting the Wagga Wagga Livestock Marketing Centre’s reputation as the largest selling centre for sheep and lambs in the country.

Forbes followed Wagga with 1.11 million head penned, ahead of Dubbo with 802,090 head. Both of these sites recorded substantial throughput decreases of more than 25pc year-on-year, with Wagga down 27.8pc and Dubbo down 29.7pc, The SELX Yass throughput fell 16pc to 722,550, followed by Corowa with 674,300, down 15.1pc.

Numbers lifted slightly at Carcoar to 410,900 head, an increase of 6.5pc year-on-year, but throughput decreased at Griffith to 391,230 head. Cowra and Deniliquin also reported reduced yardings – Cowra to 270,520 head and Deniliquin to 145,650 head, down 32.6pc.

The New England selling centres of Tamworth, Guyra, Inverell and Glen Innes all recorded major decreases in throughput. The severe drought conditions over a number of years through to early 2020 were a major contributing factor to this decline, MLA said. Tamworth was down 23.7pc to 161,550 from 211,680 in 2018-19. Guyra yarded 88,370 head, down 55.8pc. Inverell recorded 56,750 head, down 40pc, and Glen Innes’ numbers decreased 61.7pc to 27,640 in 2019-20, down from 72,140 in 2018-19.

Queensland throughput down 22pc

Queensland yarded 88,010 head of sheep during 2019-20, down 22.3pc year-on-year. Warwick was again the main selling centre, penning 87,840 head. Very small numbers were recorded at the Toowoomba and Moreton saleyards.

Victorian sheep saleyard throughput drops 11pc

Total sheep and lamb saleyard throughput in Victoria exceeded 4.5 million head in 2019-20, a significant decrease of 11pc for the state year-on-year, shifting back to numbers seen during 2017-18. All saleyards polled during both the 2018-19 and 2019-20 survey indicated a decrease in numbers penned.

Ballarat again recorded the highest throughput with 1.49 million sheep yarded, down 4pc from 1.55 million head year-on-year. Bendigo followed with 1.04 million head, experiencing a decrease of 9.5pc.

Hamilton yarded 977,590 sheep and lambs, decreasing by just 3.3pc. Next was Horsham, penning 428,860 head, followed by Ouyen with 175,460, representing a significant decrease of 33.7pc year-on year for Ouyen.

Swan Hill penned 169,890 sheep and lambs to be down 29.7pc, while Warracknabeal yarded 94,320 head. Numbers decreased by more than 50pc at Wycheproof, declining from 90,890 head to 44,620 in 2019-20. Shepparton’s saleyards also had a large decrease of 42.2pc, yarding 43,140 head.

Naracoorte saleyards leads in South Australia

Just over 1 million sheep and lambs were penned in South Australia during the 2019-20 financial year, down 11.4pc on 2018-19 numbers.

The largest numbers of sheep and lambs went to Naracoorte, where throughput reached 477,450 head, up 6.6pc year-on-year in 2019-20. However, numbers through the SA Livestock Exchange at Dublin, declined 25.4pc to 453,110 head. The Mount Gambier saleyards’ throughput also declined, by 8pc to 111,840 head.

Katanning yards the most despite biggest drop in WA

Total throughput of sheep via Western Australia saleyards declined 9.1pc year-on-year, with 1.26 million head yarded during 2019-20.

Muchea penned 558,540 head, up 3.5pc, and Katanning, yarded the largest number of sheep in the state at 704,000 head, a decrease of 17.1pc on 2018-19 numbers.

Tasmanian saleyard throughput decline continues

Tasmanian saleyards experienced a steady decline in sheep throughput year on year, down 24.9pc. MLA said a saleyard breakdown could not be provided.

Click here to view the full saleyard survey report by NLRS livestock market officer manager Brendan Wade.

View the full saleyard survey report

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