Which Are Australia’s Biggest Saleyards?
High numbers of livestock pass through Australia’s biggest saleyards each year. For the 2019-20 period 4.66 million cattle and 14.27 million sheep were transacted at the saleyards.
- For the 2019-20 period 4.66 million cattle and 14.27 million sheep were transacted at saleyards in Australia.
- According to figures from the Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), throughput fell by 10.3% in the twelve months leading up to June 2021. However, the big saleyards were still busy.
- Wagga remained the largest cattle saleyard in Australia. It transacted 1.8 million head of sheep and 113,000 cattle for the period up to June 2021.
- Other largest saleyards in Australia include Ballarat, Hamilton, Bendigo, Forbes, Dalby, and Gracemere.
According to figures from the Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), throughput fell by 10.3% in the twelve months leading up to June 2021. However, the big saleyards were still busy. For example, Wagga was still the largest saleyard in Australia. It transacted 1.8 million sheep and 113,000 cattle for the period.
11% of the total sheep transactions in Australia take place at Wagga which combined with the other top saleyards of Forbes, Ballarat, Hamilton, and Bendigo contributes 37% of total sheep sales. In the case of cattle sales, Gracemere and Dalby are major saleyards, along with Wagga.
Let’s take a closer look at the operations of these biggest saleyards in Australia.
Wagga Wagga Livestock Marketing Centre (LMC) (Wagga) is the biggest livestock selling centre in Australia. Based at Webb Street, Bomen, it attracts buyers from New South Wales and Victoria.
Cattle sales take place every Monday (except bank holidays) at the following times:
- Bulls – 7 a.m.
- Prime Cattle – 7:30 a.m.
- Store and Calf – 11:00 a.m.
Sheep and lamb sales take place every Thursday (except bank holidays).
The Ballarat Stock & Station Agents Association holds sales at 139 Sunraysia Highway, Miners Rest, Victoria. The association is responsible for Ballarat becoming one of the largest saleyards in southern Australia.
Sales at the venue take place as follows (except bank holidays):
- Store cattle monthly on a Friday at 10 a.m.
- Prime sheep and lambs every Tuesday at 9 a.m.
- Prime cattle fortnightly on a Monday at 8:30 a.m.
- First-cross sheep monthly on a Monday at 10 a.m.
The Hamilton Regional Livestock Exchange, at 105 Portland Rd, Hamilton, is one of Australia’s busiest saleyards. Around one million sheep and 50,000 cattle are sold at the venue each year. This includes buyers who travel from New South Wales and Queensland.
Sales at Hamilton take place as follows:
- Sheep & lambs – every Wednesday except during peak season (end of November to end of March) when lambs are sold on a Wednesday and sheep are sold on a Thursday.
- Cattle – every Friday with other sales on demand and special calf sales in January.
The Bendigo Livestock Exchange is located at Lot 2, Wallenjoe Rd, Huntly Victoria. It has facilities including a truck wash, weight scales for cattle, and special ring selling availability if required.
A weekly lamb and sheep sale takes place at the venue on Monday at 9:30 a.m.
The Forbes Central West Livestock Exchange is amongst the biggest livestock selling centres in Australia. The saleyard is located at Back Yamma Road, Daroobalgie, New South Wales. It handles sales of cattle, sheep, and pigs.
Sales at the venue take place as follows:
- Cattle – every Monday at 9:00 a.m.
- Store Cattle – third Friday of the month if numbers are sufficient.
- Sheep – every Tuesday at 10:00 a.m.
- Pigs – every second Friday at 11:00 a.m.
Dalby Regional Saleyards is operated by Western Downs Regional Council. Sales for cattle are held at the venue.
These sales are for prime and store cattle, and they take place every Wednesday at 7:30 a.m.
The Central Queensland Livestock Exchange (CQLX), commonly known as Gracemere, is located at 16 Saleyards Road, Gracemere, Queensland.
The main sales at the venue are for cattle and a full calendar of sales is available on the website.
These venues are regularly amongst Australia’s biggest saleyards in terms of the numbers of sheep and cattle being sold. Their exact position in the list of largest saleyards can vary based on performance each year.