An 800 square metre roof is dominating the skyline at the Blackall saleyards as the latest stage in the 20-year evolution of the complex takes shape.
Beginning the week after the last sale, in November, PF Instal Solutions of Toowoomba moved in to demolish the old scale house, weighbridge, bull ring and lead-up race, and is now racing to have the replacement completed before sales recommence in February.
Once it’s done, the oldest part of the yards will become state-of-the-art, according to manager, Dave Carter.
As well as providing shade for cattle and the staff working them, it will put workers above the stock rather than in pens with them, operating air and hydraulic equipment, and provide faster processing of cattle.
“All your painted cattle will run one way to be sorted, then there’ll be an express lane on the other side where pens that haven’t been painted can come straight through.
“It’s more or less the one shift instead of splitting the cattle into three lots coming over the scale.
“You’ll probably gain another hour a day, which is very important.
“A lot of our cattle go that afternoon so the more time you can have back in your water yards, the better the cattle settle.”
Agents juggling 5000 head at the monthly weaner sales will also feel the benefit of 30 new pens being constructed, while roadtrains pulling in for private weighs will appreciate the 10m x 3.5m weighbridge that can handle a deck at a time.
“The efficiencies just mean that more money stops in producers’ hands,” Dave said.
The extra length of the new scales was made the redesign essential, with nothing else fitting as a result.
A larger multi-purpose scalehouse will be incorporated, along with a new bull selling ring that allows patrons to sit in the shade.
PF Instal Solutions spokesman, Aaron Purse, said it was a good job to be working on.
“We’ve previously done big feedlot jobs – Kerwee, Opal Creek, Yarranbrook – but a total saleyards refurbishment is a bit different for us.”
Blackall-Tambo ratepayers are footing the $1,050,000 bill for the latest redevelopment, which brought to mind the scene for Dave of 20 years ago, when the Blackall Shire Council of the time sat on the fence debating whether to close the yards down or keep them open.
“Back then, it was very controversial – nothing added up to much – but they decided, let’s keep going, and that positive trend has just kept going.
“This is not going to hurt us. We see a lot of buyers come here these days.
“All it needs now is to rain, back out in this country where people will breed up again.
“There’s no need to go to Roma. Longreach will be on again, but we did all co-exist years ago.”