Warrnambool’s saleyards posted a smaller than expected profit last financial year and its bottom line is expected to come under more pressure when a private rival facility opens in Mortlake.
A report shows the city’s yards are forecast to produce an operating surplus of $287,164, about $150,000 below budget.
A significant drop in the number of cattle going under the hammer is being blamed.
The report shows cattle numbers are down about 15,000 at the South West Victorian Livestock Exchange, with gross turnover down by $2.1 million. Last year gross turnover topped $100 million at the council-owned yards.
The council’s corporate strategies director Peter Utri said the Western Victoria Livestock Exchange, currently under construction at Mortlake, could have an effect on the Warrnambool yard in the future.
“All the sales agents in the area have put their support to the Warrnambool yards, so as long as that stays true, it is likely there will be minimal effect,” Mr Utri said.
“The fact is that there will be more of a market share across more yards - it will have some effect. In the end what we will do is compete on commercial terms.”
Mr Utri lower cattle numbers had been consistent across the south-west and Australia-wide.
“The whole national herd is lower,” he said.
“It’s basically been a re-stocking year. We would expect that it will equalise over the next year or two.”
Mr Utri said direct on-farm sales to processors also had an effect on throughput.