The future of a regional selling centre in Yass looks bright after a feasibility study proved there are enough sheep and cattle in the area to fill the proposed yards.
The group behind the project addressed council last week, excited about the prospects of the South Eastern Livestock Exchange (SELX).
Ashley Page from AEC Group said there was plenty of stock in the “catchment area”, even based on conservative estimates.
“There are large volumes that are currently produced within the region and leaving the region for sale,” Mr Page said.
He there were around half a million cattle and four million sheep being sold through saleyards in the catchment area. And, he said there was also a lot of stock passing through the region on the way to larger selling centres.
The group discovered that reviving the current Yass Saleyards wasn’t really an option as there would need to be significant investment to bring them back to life and the market was moving toward larger centres anyway.
He said the group had spoken to agents around the region and they were keen to come on board with the SELX.
“The agents are the market; they are the lifeblood of the selling market,” Mr Page said.
Brendan Abbey, one of the locals behind the project, said even Goulburn agents had expressed their wish to come to the Yass site.
This was after the city’s plans for a livestock exchange hit some hurdles, including issues with effluent and land.
Colin Medway from Landmark Harcourts in Yass has also been pushing the project and said nearly all the smaller saleyards in the area were in decline.
Mr Medway said farmers were sending stock to larger saleyards because that’s where the big buyers were.
He said large supermarket chain buyers didn’t attend smaller saleyards unless they were desperate.
“They want to come and fill orders and they can come and fill trucks,” he said.
Many councillors posed questions at the meeting and David Needham asked about the pressure the proposed yards would put the on other selling centres.
“The other facilities, will they fight back?” he asked.
Mr Page said the fees charged by other large saleyards shouldn’t be a factor as Yass had the advantage of being the first mover in the immediate area.
“This could be, all going well, out of the ground in the next 18 months,” he said.
Mr Page said it would cost around $12 to $14 million to get the project off the ground. The study predicts the yards would be moving into profit within the first eight to 10 years.
The SELX group said the next step would be to create more formal plans before going in search of investors.