January 14, 2013
There is never a shortage of topics for conversation around the saleyards with all manner of subjects arising and, depending on the people involved, the discussion can range from jovial to heated. From early in the spring of 2012, there has been a fair bit of speculation about the future of the Dublin cattle sale because of the lack of numbers being yarded. The many self-styled experts around the rails seem to have some fairly strong opinions about the causes and cures for what they see as an almost insurmountable problem. Many people think the location is wrong, arguing there is no abattoir within a close radius to the yards. The venue at Dublin, however, is the same distance to lamb abattoirs as for beef while having one of the most vibrant and successful lamb sales in Australia. So that argument lacks some merit. Many agents, and some vendors, constantly complain that Dublin yard fees for cattle are exorbitant; it is true that it ranks at the high-end in South Australia but, then again, the main centres at Mount Gambier and Naracoorte are Council-owned and run, and have been in business for a very long time. Dublin is a privately-owned saleyard, opening for business in 2003. It is also imperative that shareholders get a return on their investment, a fact of life that I’m sure most graziers will appreciate. The one thing that some detractors hang their hats on is the perceived lack of buyers at Dublin. This is an argument with some validity. It is true there is a larger pool of interstate buyers at Naracoorte and Mount Gambier, but that begs the question: do prices achieved at those centres equate to the prices achieved at Dublin after the extra freight charges are taken into account? The short answer is generally not. This is not supposed to read like an advertorial for Livestock Markets Ltd, these are simply the facts of life. Some agents may have agendas to support certain sales centres, but as in any business it is probably better in the long run to sell local.