ALREADY regarded as one of the top two or three dairy centres in Victoria, the machinations around Gippsland’s saleyards at the moment could further enhance Leongatha’s dominant role in dairy.
With Warragul’s dilapidated saleyards set to be closed down by its operators, Victorian Livestock Exchange, on December 19 this year and local dairy farmers predicting that VLE’s Pakenham Saleyards “won’t cope with dairy numbers”, as reported in the Warragul Gazette last week, the likelihood is that VLE’s “Leongatha” yards at Koonwarra will at least pick up some of the overflow.
It’s a scenario that Director at South Gippsland Livestock P/L and a Landmark Leongatha manager Terry Ginnane could see happening.
“It’s not right to say Pakenham won’t handle the numbers. You can handle any numbers. It’s a matter of management,” Mr Ginnane said this week.
“It will be up to the producers and agents over in the Warragul area and we’ve got offices over there and so have some of the other agents. It will be up to them to say where they send their cattle.
“But yes, we’re much more dairy over here (at Leongatha) than they are at Pakenham so yes, I could see more dairy numbers coming across this way after they close Warragul in December.
“The yards over there have a concrete floor and they’re open to the weather, so it was always just a matter of time before they’d be closed. Saleyards have got so much better these days and the buyers and the industry expects much more.
“Ultimately, I think the people over there (at Warragul) knew it but I suppose they hoped to have new yards opened over there before this,” Mr Ginnane said.
“People are taking an interest in what’s going on over at Warragul but it’s probably not going to have a big impact on us, apart from picking up some dairy numbers, if that’s the way they decide to go.”
In September this year, the Victorian Livestock Exchange announced it was closing Warragul and consolidating its operations at Pakenham and Leongatha until yards could be built, somewhere in the Baw Baw Shire, in the next few years. Ultimately, Pakenham would be closed, in the next three to five years, as Melbourne’s sprawling growth swallows up its prime location on the outskirts of Pakenham.
But the spanner in the works, for VLE, is the move backed by several agents, including Alex Scott and Staff, for new saleyards, independent of VLE. To be built at Longwarry.
At the time VLE announced its changes, it said the merging of the Warragul and Pakenham markets was a critical step in maintaining the viability of the live auction system in West Gippsland, confirming they’ll work alongside stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition of business.
“As we undertake the journey to our new site, we do so with the view of securing for all stakeholders a marketplace to sell and buy livestock in West Gippsland for decades to come,” Managing Director Wayne Osborne said.
“Having been the creator of the modern livestock exchange in Australia with our Pakenham site and having a proven track record for delivering, above all others, successful livestock marketing centres, VLE looks forward to ensuring West Gippsland remains at the forefront of livestock marketing in Australia.”
The message of quality standards and price performance was repeated by the firm’s principal, Graham Osborne, at a public meeting attended by 300 people in the Darnum Hall on Thursday, October 3.