Saleyards upgrade offically opens

HE said he brought yesterday’s rain, but in truth Queensland senator John Hogg brought the political fanfare that came with the official opening of the $150,000 Warwick Saleyards upgrade.

The successful upgrade was a joint venture of the Southern Downs Regional Council and the Federal Government’s Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program.

Commended by regular saleyard users for its improved efficiency and safety, the upgrade centred on a new automated drafting system.

Local primary producer Bill Gross has been a regular at the yards for “40-odd-years”.

“The upgrade has definitely made it more efficient and cattle handling safer for blokes in the yards,” Mr Gross said.

“It has also reduced bruising to livestock, which is very important.”

Standing in the light rain he claimed came with him, Sen Hogg said the project had supported 25 local jobs during the construction process.

“The RLCIP is a key part of the economic stimulus plan and is delivering local jobs in communities across Australia by building infrastructure for the long-term.”

For Southern Downs Regional Council Mayor Ron Bellingham a critical part of the upgrade was the ability to source the design and engineering genius of locals.

He said Allora-based Thompson Longhorn was responsible for the innovative livestock-handling equipment used in the upgrade.

“It is important council continues to support facilities like the Warwick Saleyards, because they are such a significant contributor to our local economy,” Cr Bellingham said.

At the saleyards yesterday close to 1900 head were yarded and recent weeks have seen cattle numbers regularly hover around 2000.

For Warwick producers like Mr Gross the growing number of cattle being sold through the yards translates to yet another item on the wish list: “I’d like more pens.”

But for the time being he, like his peers, was content to see the new drafting system in operation.

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