Sale yards cel­e­brate a mile­stone

Manjimup-Bridgetown Times - - Manjimup-Bridgetown Times - Ce­cilia Allen

FOR farm­ers Bob Pes­sotto, Bill Phillips and Tony and John Ryan, this month’s cat­tle sale will be a ma­jor mile­stone as they en­ter their 10th year of op­er­at­ing the Man­jimup Sale Yards.

Co-owner Tony said the his­tory of their own­er­ship started when the West Aus­tralian Live­stock Sell­ers As­so­ci­a­tion put the sale yards up for ten­der in 2007 af­ter the State’s work­place safety reg­u­la­tor forced the clo­sure of the yards due to a num­ber of oc­cu­pa­tional health and safety is­sues.

Tony said there was a gen­uine fear when the yard was listed for sale that out­side par­ties could have bought the prop­erty and de­mol­ished the ex­ist­ing fa­cil­i­ties leav­ing lo­cal beef pro­duc­ers to trans­port their stock to Boy­anup.

“We went in know­ing we wouldn’t make a profit but not hav­ing the sale yards would have been a real set back for Man­jimup if we didn’t have them,” Tony said.

Co-owner Bob said the yard was an as­set for Man­jimup and sur­round­ing dis­tricts.

“We’ve seen the clo­sure of Bus­sel­ton, Den­mark, Al­bany, Bridgetown, Brunswick and Wa­roona cat­tle yards,” he said. “We saw life in these yards. “It would have been a disas­ter to lose it.”

They held their first cat­tle sale in Septem­ber 2008 which they de­scribed as a “suc­cess”.

Along with sales, the yards are used as a tran­sit point for cat­tle farm­ers from across the re­gion, al­low­ing many smaller grow­ers to use them as a con­ve­nient and cost-ef­fec­tive base from which to trans­port their stock to abat­toirs and other des­ti­na­tions.

In 2009, five new walk­ways were built, thanks to the Man­jimup Shire Coun­cil, which al­lo­cated the sale yards Roy­al­ties for Re­gions fund­ing.

In ad­di­tion to the walk­ways, the farm­ers used their own money and time to clear up all the WorkSafe or­ders out­stand­ing from the pre­vi­ous own­ers.

John said the power lines and wa­ter pipes were re­placed, the pad­dock was re-fenced, the hold­ing and load­ing ramps were up­dated and a grand stand was added “a lot of time and money went into fix­ing the place”, he said.

In 2011, ex­tra se­cu­rity mea­sures were added to the de­pot to pre­vent peo­ple from us­ing the fa­cil­ity with­out pay­ing in­clud­ing CCTV cam­eras, new sig­nage, elec­tronic gates and a Na­tional Live­stock Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Sys­tem.

Since re­open­ing the yard al­most 10 years ago live­stock numbers have in­creased with an av­er­age 500-head of cat­tle, al­though the yards have catered for al­most 1000-head of cat­tle at times. Elders and Pri­maries joined Land­mark in 2014 to hold monthly sales, which Tony, John, Bill and Bob said “was a great op­por­tu­nity“be­cause all three com­pa­nies have rep­re­sen­ta­tives in Man­jimup.

The farm­ers hope to keep the yards in the fam­ily, with their sons also heav­ily in­volved in help­ing out.

“Thank you to all the pro­duc­ers and the agents who have sup­ported us,” they said.

Tony also hoped other cat­tle pro­duc­ers would use the fa­cil­i­ties.

We went in know­ing we wouldn’t make a profit but not hav­ing the sale yards would have been a real set back for Man­jimup if we didn’t have them – Tony Ryan

Farm­ers Bob Pes­sotto, Bill Phillips and John and Tony Ryan brought new life to the Man­jimup Sa­le­yards when it was put out for ten­der al­most 10 years ago.

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