Singleton Regional Livestock Market is gearing up for a bumper day today with a 14-year-high of 2,000 head of cattle to come under the hammer in the first sale under the new roof.
The $7.73 million saleyards upgrade was officially opened by Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen and Mayor of Singleton, Cr Sue Moore on Monday, and the new sheltered yards are at capacity with sellers flocking from across NSW and Victoria to trade their stock.
Anthony Egan, Council’s Director Corporate and Community, said dry conditions across the Hunter Region was a major factor in the record stock but there was also an element of curiosity from people coming to check out the new facility.
Funded by $6 million from the State Government under its Resources for Regions program with the remaining $1.73 million from Council, works included a roof over the Northern Yards selling area, almost one kilometre of raised aerial walkways and installation of rainwater harvest tanks.
“There are 2,000 head booked in for the opening sale tomorrow which will be the biggest yarding we’ve had in the past 14 years according to our books,” Mr Egan said.
“We’ll be at full capacity with 1,000 head under the roof and 1,000 head in the bottom yards so there won’t be any easing into it for the new facility.
“There’s a range of stock coming to be sold at Singleton tomorrow, from little weaners to big old bullocks and the drought conditions we’re experiencing is of course a major factor as farmers offload excess stock.
“But there have also been agents who have said they’ll come back to Singleton when the roof is complete, so that would be having an impact on the numbers we’re seeing tomorrow as well.”
Tomorrow’s sale will be the fifth sale held in Singleton since Christmas with the last three sales each attracting more than 1,400 head, which continues to be high as numbers trend downwards in other areas of NSW.
“The stock numbers that pass through Singleton indicate that the agricultural industry is critically important to the local community on an economic, social and historical basis,” Mr Egan said.
“That’s why Council is also conducting an Expressions of Interest process to determine the best way to ensure the continued operation of the saleyards on the current site now and into the future.
“We were very pleased with the level of interest we received when submissions closed in December, and a report is anticipated to come before the March meeting of Council following a robust assessment of those submissions.”