The new saleyards built by Tatiara Industrial Repairs in a major project at Naracoorte have been given their first true test - and passed with flying colours.
TIR has just completed the first stage of a four-stage project at Naracoorte Regional Livestock Exchange which will cost a total $2.5 million.
The first stage, worth $846,678, involved upgrading 72 cattle selling pens from the existing 1973 construction.
Naracoorte Lucindale Council director of operations Steve Bourne said TIR won the contract to undertake the project from a field of tenderers including an interstate company.
"TIR have been doing an excellent job," he said. "The first yards underwent an inspection with Naracoorte Combined Agents to ensure expectations of users are being met.
"The first nine pens were used on Tuesday to test the new yards and all users were pleased with the pens."
Mr Bourne said the four-stage upgrade was much-needed to replace 46-year-old infrastructure, and as well as modernising the facility, would create efficiencies and cost savings.
"The cattle selling pens upgrade provides substantial cost savings as it will enables the pens to be cleaned easily with gates opening to provide a clear run along the full length of the yards, rather than cleaning out each individual pen," he said.
"A greater depth of soft flooring can now be used providing improved animal welfare.
"Rebuilding the loading ramps and bull pens will provide improved safety outcomes for users and may possibly attract grants."
The other three stages of the upgrade are:
- Stage 2 - next 72 Cattle selling pens 2020/21 - 2021/22
- Stage 3 - bull pens and remainder of selling pens - 2022/23
- Stage 4 - loading ramps and holding pens - 2022/23
Tatiara Industrial Repairs' Shane and Linda Longbottom were at last week's sale and received pleasing feedback on the yards.
"We were certainly pleased with the first pens of cattle through the new yards and received good feedback from the buyers and people at the sale," Linda said.
Mr Bourne said the council sought grants to do a complete saleyards rebuild originally, including all pens, buyers and auctioneers walkways, loading ramps and more. When unsuccessful, it revised the scope to use the current walkways to reduce costs, and break the project into stages to fund with its own resources.
Mr Bourne said the value of the saleyards to the local community couldn't be underestimated.
"Over $1.3 billion worth of livestock sold through the NRLE in the past 10 years, underlying the importance of the facility to the local and regional community."