Katanning complex has stock sales covered
Hundreds of people witnessed the official opening of the Katanning Regional Sheep Saleyards last week, which included the inaugural sale.
Construction of the $25 million project started in 2011 and has earned the distinction of being the largest undercover selling facility in the southern hemisphere, with capacity for up to 45,000 sheep.
The yards, which were funded mostly by the State Government, were officially opened by Premier Colin Barnett, Agriculture Minister Ken Baston and Member for O'Connor Rick Wilson.
Mr Barnett congratulated the Shire for completing the saleyards under budget and sourcing workers from within Katanning.
"This is a great vote of confidence for the sheep industry in Western Australia," he said.
"It shows it's internationally adopting higher standards in handling sheep, occupational safety and animal welfare.
"This, along with the new Muchea yards, the expansion of the Ord River Scheme, GM crops and alike, are showing the Western Australian farm industry is expanding with great opportunities through a more populated and wealthier Asia in the future years."
Saleyards penning contractor Mike Batchelor found comparing the new precinct with the old saleyards was like chalk and cheese.
"I mean we have got a roof for starters, that's fantastic, we had a shower of rain the day before and I didn't get wet. It's just 100 per cent," he said
"The design the layout, the build, the builders ought to be congratulated because they have done a great job."
Mr Baston highlighted the importance of getting the sheep industry back to its original numbers.
"I think it shows that we need to get sheep back on the road, we've stepped down to 14 million, we're now back up to 15 million, we were at 26 million," he said.
"The WA Government is all about finding new markets and as we find new markets from overseas with product then we need to increase that productivity.
"Sheep are very much in our lights in finding new markets and opening markets up that were closed."
_SALEYARD FACTS _
·Owner and operator: Shire of Katanning
·Total pens: 1276 including 1012 selling pens, capacity up to 45,000 sheep
·Expected annual trade: more than 1 million sheep
·44,000 square metres of undercover roof
·Potential 40 million litres of captured rainfall runoff annually
·Five dams on site with capacity to hold 52 million litres
·180 solar panels produce $65,000 worth of power
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