The Cloncurry Saleyards – the second largest cattle-handling facility in Queensland – provide facilities for cattle in transit to be fed, dipped and watered then rested overnight on their way south or east for fattening or processing, or north to Darwin for live export.
The saleyards can hold up to 20,000 head of cattle at any one time between the two facilities (dirty/clean yards), and Cloncurry Shire Council mayor Greg Campbell said it plays a critical role in the community through the ripple effect of employment and flow-on benefits it provides.
“Council is committed to the beef industry as we have shown through our recent $2.3 million investment into the Cloncurry Saleyard complex,” Cr Campbell said.
“Whether it’s cattle from local graziers or further afield, Cloncurry is a strategic centre for the safe and timely movement of stock in Northern Australia,” he said.
“By being home to major livestock transport businesses and many grazing families, we’re well-placed to call Cloncurry the beef capital of the north west.”
Cloncurry Saleyards manager Nathan Keyes said there has been a constant flow of fat cattle through the yards since the start of 2018.
“Commercial cattle producers were forced to sell down their herds to protect themselves against the drought conditions which worsened in the later half of the year,” Mr Keyes said.
“Due to these climatic conditions we had big movements come in off the Barkly, especially in the first half of the calendar year,” he said.
Mr Keyes said export numbers have been strong throughout the year, especially before the rain arrived in March
“In particular January and February were big months compared to normal.”
He said a bright spot of 2018 was seeing the rail wagons back on the tracks.
“Saleyards staff and cattle producers were happy to see them moving again after a year of them being out of action.”
Mr Keyes said users of the saleyards have applauded the infrastructure improvement work completed in the last 18 months.
Construction on the project began in late 2016 with the $2,283,000 in funding provided jointly by the Cloncurry Shire Council and the State Governments, Building our Regions program.
Cr Campbell said the primary focus of the upgrades has been on promoting cattle care.
“This project has also ensured a safe work environment for truck drivers unloading and loading cattle, and for the employees working at the saleyards.
The following improvements have been completed at the saleyards:
- Weighing facilities were upgraded and approaches made safe
- The dipping facilities were made secure with a purpose built shed including security fencing
- Approximately 80 per cent of the old steel posts, rails and unserviceable gate structures were been demolished and rebuilt
- The main laneway floors have had surface hardening with concrete or cement treated gravel
- Dust suppression through water reticulation has been added to the entire yard
- Upgrades to truck access and loading facilities
- Livestock security has been added to the clean yard loading areas
- Upgrade of the truck washdown facilities
- Upgrade of the yard lighting and electrical services
- Installation of a new toilet block within the truck laydown area
Mr Keyes said all residents in the region are hoping for a long consistent wet season.
“If good falls arrive this summer we’re hoping producers can rebuild their core breeder herds back to normal numbers. And in saying that we wish everyone a safe and wet Christmas.”