ON THE MOVE: The Roma Saleyards have experienced higher than average cattle sales this month.
ON THE MOVE: The Roma Saleyards have experienced higher than average cattle sales this month. Molly Hanock

High cattle sales a double-edged sword

THE Roma Saleyards has delivered a powerhouse punch to the Maranoa economy, with last week's sales records expected to pump millions of dollars into the local economy.

From Monday to Friday, 13,769 cattle were turned over - which is just shy of all-time weekly sales records.

Councillor Peter Flynn, whose portfolio extends to the Roma Saleyards, said the numbers were high in today's terms.

"Very rarely do we get over 10,000 in a day but, in the dry conditions and when the herd in Australia was bigger than it is now, it wasn't uncommon for the saleyards to turn over 10,000 to 11,000 head of cattle in a single sale,” he said.

"I believe that there will be a number of big sales with most Tuesdays aiming for 8000 head of cattle.”

While the news is positive for the saleyards and local economy, the huge turnover is indicative of the severe drought currently gripping the southwest, as graziers look to offload large numbers of stock.

Cyril Close, a stock agent at TopX, said while the high turnover proved the saleyards' robustness, it was a reflection of the hardship facing those who depended on livestock.

"It's a positive that we can put cattle into other markets and sell them through the saleyards, but the negative is that these people are selling cattle they don't want to be selling,” he said.

"Regions are then being depleted of numbers through forced sales and that's not good for anyone so, where there's a good story, there's a bad one.

"There will be less cattle for the truck drivers to cart and there will be no one coming into town to purchase produce because the numbers will be gone. The negative impact will be major.”