Battle for cattle as opening of Mortlake saleyards looms

Opening soon: The new Western Victoria Livestock Exchange at Mortlake will have a roof the size of the MCG and comprise 6000 pen panels.
Opening soon: The new Western Victoria Livestock Exchange at Mortlake will have a roof the size of the MCG and comprise 6000 pen panels.

The looming competition from the new Western Victoria Livestock Exchange (WVLX) at Mortlake had kicked other saleyards “into gear,” WVLX director Rohan Arnold says.

Speaking during a tour this week for Moyne Shire councillors of the new $15 million facility, Mr Arnold said saleyards had been losing livestock to other selling platforms.

He expected the Mortlake saleyards would help the saleyards industry by getting all saleyards in the region to improve their operations.

While some industry observers have forecast the arrival of WVLX will be at the expense of other south-west saleyards, Mr Arnold said its arrival was “a positive” for the region.

The new saleyards is seeking to gain a turnover of 200,000 cattle a year and has signed up 11 foundation agents who have formed the WVLX stock agents association.

WVLX manager Tim Nowell said the agents serviced an area that extended from Mount Gambier through to Colac and south to the coast.

“There’s even talk of bringing cattle down from the Northern Territory and Queensland,” he said.

The WVLX stock agents association will hold a meeting this Saturday to prepare numbers for the saleyards’ first weekly prime sale on Monday, January 22.

The facility will have its first monthly store sale on Thursday, February 1, but further store sales will be on the second Friday day of the month to fit in with the timing of store sales elsewhere in western Victoria.

Mr Arnold said the prime sales were being held on Monday because cattle buyers had said they struggled to get livestock early in the week.

The first store sale was being held in February to not interfere with the Hamilton weaner sales, Mr Nowell said.

Mortlake was chosen as the location for the new saleyards because it was at the centre of one of Victoria’s largest cattle populations and supported by seven highways and arterial roads. 

The new facility which covers 2.8 hectares, will have more than 400 selling pens under roof.

Most of the pens will have a soft floor comprised of sawdust, post peelings, sand and scoria while the 120 bull pens will have a rubber matting floor.

Weighing will be post-sale with the first weighing expected to commence about 9.15am soon after the sales began.

More than 1000 people are expected to attend an open day at the new saleyards from 10am-2pm this Saturday.

A gold coin donation at entry will go towards Mortlake P-12 and St Colman’s Primary School in Mortlake.


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