Sheep prosper in 2014

28 Dec, 2014 01:00 AM

THE sheep industry had some highlight moments this year. New market opportunities, a focus on building numbers, and some good prices.

One of the stand out moments for the industry was the opening of the new Katanning Regional Saleyard facility.

A huge crowd gathered to see an impressive yarding of nearly 20,000 sheep in the first ever sale at the facility.

Higher prices soon followed the exciting news and lambs were the cream of the crop in WA saleyards.

Farmers had plenty to smile about as lambs hit a whopping $158 in Katanning and then $150 at Muchea the following week.

The prices came despite more than 25,000 sheep being offered at Muchea.

Despite the good prices, there were a few issues simmering away.

Throughout the year flock numbers had been decreasing around the State, due to the wild dog problem.

Yilgarn sheep farmers are breathing a sigh of relief as work to close the Yilgarn Gap in the dog fence commenced on Thursday.

The 170 kilometre fence will extend south of Koolyanobbing and east of Southern Cross, which was closed in mid-November.

Eastern Wheatbelt Declared Species Group chairman Jim Sullivan said it was a great relief for farmers in the district whose stock had been ravaged by wild dogs.

News of new markets did create some confidence.

The WA sheep industry received a $10m boost from the State Government to build markets and WA flock numbers.

Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston announced in October, that a Royalties for Regions investment would go towards assisting the WA sheep industry to access and supply new markets.

Also, Bunbury sheep and cattle processor V & V Walsh announced it entered into a joint venture with one of China's largest red meat importers, Grand Farm Group, which will see Walshes process an extra 50,000 lambs.



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