Connacht Gold in Â¤1.3m upgrading of Balla Mart
Connacht Gold has pumped over €1.3m into a major upgrade of Balla Livestock Mart in Co Mayo.
The revamped facility, including a state-of-the-art €300,000 effluent treatment plant, additional animal intake points, handling systems and extended parking, was opened by Taoiseach Enda Kenny on Friday.
Balla Mart is already the largest mart in Connacht and the north west, with a throughput in excess of 50,000 cattle per annum. It is among the five largest marts in Ireland for sales of weanlings and older cattle.
However, the new facilities will enable the mart to handle even more cattle, up to 1,500 cattle per sale.
Connacht Gold mart division manager Martin Walsh said the new animal intake and parking facilities would result in a higher efficiency and comfort for both sellers and buyers.
The new circular animal intake includes an increase in the number of cattle chutes from four to six, and additional loading bays and holding pens.
Mr Walsh said the design of the new facilities had a significant emphasis on safety, animal welfare and safety for customers assessing animals.
"Particular attention was given to the creation of 'safe areas'," he explained. "This included overhead walkways in the intake and penning area."