Description of a typical Regional Livestock Exchange (RLX) as managed by Regional Infrastructure Pty Limited
Typically Regional Infrastructure Pty Limited would purchase suitable land on a Greenfield site with access to major transport routes and of approximately 100ha to allow for the expansion of new agribusiness industries. The Environmental Impact Statement and Development Approval process usually takes 9 months after which construction can commence. It would most likely be a further 12 months before the facility was ready for trading. In cases where saleyards are currently owned and operated by Councils a further 6 months should be allowed from first contact to award of the Expression of Interest.
Stakeholders are given the opportunity to influence the design in the way that will allow them to achieve maximum effectiveness and efficiency.
The Palisade Regional Infrastructure Fund (PRIF) would finance the project and own the land and improvements. Brice Engineers would do the design and construction and Regional Infrastructure Pty Limited would be responsible for the operation of the RLX
Regional Infrastructure Pty Limited has a flexible approach toward the management of the facility when built.
The preferred method is to form an advisory committee with accredited Stock Agents holding the prime responsibility. Other members can represent producers, buyers, transport operators, Councils and concerned citizens if desirable. Regional Infrastructure Pty Limited would have a professional business manager in a senior role responsible for financial matters.
The yard fees and service charges are set through consultation with the different users but need to be competitive with neighbouring sale yards and sufficient to achieve a predetermined return on the investment funds. The management of the fees is closely linked to the sale value of the stock. If the modern facility achieves better average selling prices then a fee increase may be justified to make capital available for further development work.
Capital expenditure is justified on a case by case basis. Regional Infrastructure Pty Limited would provide a detailed estimate of the upgrade cost and the fee increase required to cover financing the expenditure. If the advisory committee can see the justification then the work is likely to proceed. The whole process is conducted in an open transparent manner with full disclosure.
Whilst specialist marketing is carried out by Regional Infrastructure Pty Limited, marketing and promotion of the facility would normally be the responsibility of all stakeholders.
The work would usually include:
- Preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement and obtaining a development approval including payment of fees for the development
- Design and construction of the facility
- Operation of the facility.
Regional Council Provided Services
- Road Access
- Potable water
The new RLX facilities and operating procedures would comply with all relevant safety legislation and provide a safe and amenable workplace. Safety management plans would be prepared for the construction and operational phases. Procedures would be regularly audited to ensure compliance.
Facilities at the RLX would meet appropriate animal welfare standards as identified by the Department of Primary Industries and Agriculture.
- Australian Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals: Animals at Saleyards (SCARM Report 31).
- Australian Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals: Land Transport of Cattle (SCARM Report 77).
- Australian Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals: Cattle (SCARM Report 39).
- Australian Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals: Sheep (SCARM Report 29).
The RLX would adopt the National Saleyards Quality Assurance Program (NSQA) as a means of managing and assessing compliance with the National Standard. A Quality Management Plan would be developed for the operation and be audited and accredited by AUS-MEAT Ltd.
Cattle sales will be conducted in a roofed pavilion with open sides. The pavilion will contain the appropriate number of selling pens plus individual bull pens together with receiving and drafting pens and larger pens for the consolidation of cattle into B-Double vehicle loads. The roof is arranged at an inclined plane following the natural slope of the land. Continuous vented skylights are provided on each longitudinal to admit natural light and ventilation. A sawdust and sand soft floor will provide a comfortable environment for the cattle. Internal dividing panels between the pens and yards are hinged to allow a mechanical scarifier to scarify and turn the sawdust at regular intervals to prevent consolidation and to allow drying. Misting sprays will permit the surface to be kept in a dust free condition and stock cool on hot summer days. The hinged division panels to selling pens will provide flexibility for pen sizes to cater for larger lot sizes as required.
Cattle will be automatically scanned and can be pre or post-weighed on individual or platform scales.
Cattle and people are separated at all times and do not share aisles.
Potable water will be provided to drinking troughs in each pen. If transport schedules require cattle to be held post sale (for longer than a day), they will be moved into open holding paddocks.
Cattle will be delivered by transport operators and sellers into the facility at the end of the building. Cattle will be discharged via ramps and dump gates into the receiving area. Two-level vehicles will use ramps which have electric height adjustment. Smaller vehicles will have manually adjusted ramps. Dump gates are available. Cattle will be held until the curfew time is past in either the receiving pens or the selling pens.
The auctioneers will progress along elevated walkways above the cattle aisles and conduct the sale. Buyers will be on raised aisles on the opposite side of the selling pens to the auctioneer. All walkways ramps and stairs will comply with the BCA and AS1657.
Cattle can be dispatched immediately on the fall of the hammer for each lot. The selling pens are configured facing longitudinal cattle movement aisles. These aisles run continuously the length of the selling area and the despatch area affording a clear and direct path to the weigh/draft pens and loading ramps at the end of the pavilion.
Sheep sales will be conducted in a roofed pavilion with open sides and concrete floor. The pavilion will contain the appropriate number of selling pens with receiving and drafting pens and larger yards for the consolidation of sheep into larger vehicle loads. The roof is arranged at an inclined plane following the natural slope of the land. Continuous vented skylights are provided on each longitudinal to admit natural light and ventilation. Gates and hinged division panels on selling pens will permit flexibility with pen sizes.
Sheep will be delivered by transport operators and sellers into the facility at the end of the building. Multiple level vehicles will be discharged via ramps with electric height adjustment. Smaller trucks and trailers will use manually adjusted ramps or discharge directly into the receiving pens via dump gates. Each ramp discharges into receiving pens capable of holding a four deck B-Double load. From the receiving pens sheep can be moved directly to the selling pens or be drafted and sorted into different classifications prior to transfer to the selling pens.
The selling pens are situated in paired rows facing longitudinal movement aisles to facilitate direct movement of sheep through the pavilion. An auctioneers’ aisle is located between the rows allowing the auctioneer to progress along the row with a good view of both the sheep and the buyers. After the sales sheep will be moved from the sale pens to the despatch pens and consolidated into vehicle sized lots prior to loading via ramps onto trucks. Small lots will be directly loaded out from the selling pens.
Potable water will be provided to drinking troughs in each pen. If transport schedules require sheep to be held in pens post sale prior to transport, portable feed mangers will be provided. If sheep are to be held for periods longer than a day they will be moved out to open holding paddocks.
The area of the site not required for buildings and pavements will be subdivided into cattle and sheep holding paddocks with laneways for easy access. These paddocks will be irrigated with the treated water from the holding pond. The paddocks will be used for the temporary holdingof stock either leading up to or immediately after a sale. Holding paddocks will enable buyers, sellers and agents to schedule transport to and from the facility to maximise trucking efficiencies.
The planned building is a traditional homestead style with perimeter veranda. The building will contain a centre manager’s office and main computer room, private offices for Stock and Station Agents, a kitchen and dining room. The public amenities will comply with Building Code of Australia requirements and house unisex disabled facilities.
A drivers’ ablution building will be provided for transport operators containing two en-suites with toilet, shower and basin. A laundry with coin operated washing machine and dryer is included in this building.
A maintenance shed will provide secure, appropriately labelled facilities for the keeping of fuel, herbicide, detergent and paint, as well as equipment and tools used for maintenance activities at the RLX.
A covered two bay truck washing facility with AvData electronic control will be provided. Vehicle parking will be provided for B-double trucks and visitor cars. Discharge water from the facility will be screened and detained in a settlement pond to remove gross pollutants prior to piping to a primary treatment pond and thence to a holding pond prior to being used for irrigation of pasture.
Water demand for the RLX will be provided through on site roof and surface water harvesting.
Prominently displayed signage will be provided on major approaches to the RLX.
Regional Infrastructure Pty Limited works with stakeholders to assess the viability for developing co-located synergistic facilities such as abattoirs, agribusiness stores, financial services outlets, transport hubs, truck stops and fodder storage.