Cootamundra.1 #87. NSW

Cootamundra is located in south eastern NSW. It was operated by one owner for over 30 years to be recently sold to another Australian group, Manilda in 2014. The same year it obtained tier 2 export status. The facility was mothballed in February 2017 due to lack of sheep supply but remains registered under Aus-meat. (Accessed 02/10/2017)

Other Names

  • GM Scott lamb and beef processing plant2
  • Manildra Meat Company, from 2014.

Current Operation

  • Is currently mothballed as at 25/02/2017
  • Ausmeat accreditation Number 0087.6
    • Accredited as a domestic abattoir current in 1987 as #35N7
  • MSA accredited plant Establishment Number 0035 current as at 27.08.20138
  • Accredited as a Export abattoir current in 2013 as #876


  • Cootamundra is located approximately 95 km north east of Wagga Wagga
  • Facility is located on the Temora road19

Cootamundra 1

Cootamundra 2

Hema Maps – Australia Truckies atlas.

Other Australian Abattoirs.

This link will lead to a interactive page that lists past and present abattoirs, meatworks and processors in Australian.


  • GM Scott1
    • Owner Barry Noble.3
  • Manilda Group (2014)4


  • Cootamundra is a multi species abattoir that has capacity to process22
    • 4,000 small stock and22
    • 600 head of cattle per day22
    • Has a goat processing line22
    • Export access to 160 countries including Asia, The Middle East, Northern America and Pacific Islands22
    • Employs 300 people23
  • GM Scott – Is a privately owned business with an annual turnover of $25M3
  • Gas-Flushed cryovac system for products produced3
    • Product is sold into export and domestic markets3
  • Brand name used is – Noble farm brand.3


Source. ‘Manildra remains committed to town’ Cootamundra Herald 11.06.2015

Manildra Meat Company, Cootamundra abattoir


For employment enquiries contact Manildra Meat website and go to contacts.




  • Cootamundra facility established3


  • Cootamundra facility is currently operated by Conkey & Sons Ltd34
    • Export facility that has chilling, freezing and freezing storage capacity34
    • Authors Note. This facility could actually be in relation to Harden NSW


  • Noble family purchase facility3
  • Manager / Owner is Barry Noble12
    • Originally the facility was established by Mr Noble’s wife’s (Colleen) parents12.
    • GM Scott name is derived from Mrs Colleen Noble’s mother’s name. Grace Margaret Scott12.
      • Mr Barry Noble had worked at an abattoir in Homebush12..
        • Homebush was Government owned and closed down12..
        • Upon closure Mr and Mrs Noble looked at sites for their own establishment12.
  • Area of Cootamundra was centrally located with an abundance of top quality livestock in the area to source supply12.


  • Facility is currently registered as a domestic processing facility under Aus-meat #35N35
    • Registered name under GM Scott as a domestic facility35
  • Authors Note. It is possible that Cootamundra had 2 abattoirs operating in the region at this time. (Note made 04.01.2018)
    • Another domestic facility is operated as Cootamundra Abattoir see Harden NSW



  • July. Cootamundra abattoir is currently Domestically registered under Aus-Meat as #35N36
    • Operator – GM Scott P/L.36
      • Processing Beef and Sheep36


  • March. Cootamundra abattoir #35N is currently registered as a domestic processing facility37
    • Operator – GM Scott P/L37
      • Processing Beef and Sheep37



  • June 7. Major product recall occurs for lamb products supplied by Cootamundra to Woolworths supermarket chains9
    • Lamb products brought between May 27 and June 5 in NSW, Vic, Tas, SA and NT have been recalled9.
      • QLD products brought between June 7 – 14, only lamb and cheese rissoles, lamb mini roast and economy burgers are recalled10
      • No products are affected in WA10
      • Safeway has issued a recall of some of lamb products in some of its Victorian stores10
    • strange odour emanating from some of the products9
    • no specific health risks but issuing the recall as a precaution10
  • Manager at Cootamundra abattoir, Arthur Cullen resigns11
  • GM Scott Current Director – Peter Noble11
  • July. Cootamundra abattoir #35N is currently registered as a domestic processing facility38
    • Operator – GM Scott P/L38
      • Processing Beef and Sheep38


  • July. Cootamundra abattoir #35N is currently registered as a domestic processing facility39
    • Operator – GM Scott P/L39
      • Processing Beef and Sheep39


  • Meat processed at Cootamundra was sold in all Woolworths stores throughout NSW22
    • boneless leg of lamb or a French rack of lamb22
  • March. Cootamundra abattoir doesn’t appear on Aus-Meat registration listing40


  • June. Facility received a significant industry accolade award for development work with a robotic carcase cutter.2
  • Current capacity to process 200 cattle and 3,800 lambs daily2
  • Principally supplying supermarket group Woolworths.2
  • Robotic arm development – Robotic Ovine Cutter (ROC)2
    • First of its kind in the world2
    • Originated from a prototype installed at Midfield Meats in Victoria around 20062
    • Can cut up to 4 cuts per carcase2
    • Processing 360 carcases an hour (Average 10 seconds per carcase)2
    • If doing 2 cuts per carcase can process 450 carcases per hour (Average 8 seconds per carcase)2
    • Cutting system is designed to2
      • handle wide range of carcase size2
      • utilises vision-profiling2
      • dustless blade-cutting technology which prolongs shelf life2
      • High cutting efficiencies that increase accuracy and yields2
    • ROC is expected to have significant impact on the meat processing industry over the next 5 years2
    • Eliminates 4 bandsaw cuts that would otherwise be made manually by an operator2
    • Increases OH & S significantly2
    • With further refinement anticipate speeds up to 600 carcases per hour (Average 6 seconds per carcase) could be achieved2
  • August. Cootamundra abattoir is the first abattoir in Australia to receive Federal Government funding for carbon mitigation project.3
  • Facility will undertake $200,000 project to help industrial refrigeration units to run more efficently3
    • Include upgrading or recycled rainwater project3
    • will combat rising energy costs and improve productivity3
  • Current processing capacity 3500 lambs and 200 cattle daily3
  • Currently employs 200 people3
  • December. Patriarch Barry Noble passed away4
    • Owner of the Cootamundra facility Mr Barry Noble dies of a respiratory illness12.
      • Died at 85 years old. Established the abattoir in the 1980’s12.
    • Installation of improved technology had always been very important to Mr Noble to enable the facility to keep ahead of competition12.


  • Facility placed on the market as family members pursued other professional interests4
  • Facility had recently had $17M invested on a new processing floor with a view to upgrading from tier one to tier two export status4
    • Allowed opportunity to export markets like Japan, Korea and the US4
  • January. Cootamundra abattoir is registered with Aus-Meat as an export processing facility #8741
    • Operator – GM Scott P/L41
      • Processing Beef, sheep, goats and offal41


  • April. Plant cuts production from five days to four due to lack of lamb supply19
  • June. Manildra Group Purchase facility4
    • Manildra is Australian owned4
      • Manildra is 100% Australian owned13.
        • Family owned and run business13
          • Honan Family17
          • Interests in ethanol, flour, sugar and value added products such as starch13
          • Stockfeed business with crop processing ventures in 5 regional centres17
        • Company is 62 years old13
          • Employs over 1,000 people13
            • Most are located in regional Australia, head office is located in Sydney13
        • Manildra also recently purchased a beef boning room and retail ready meat packaging facility in Bomaderry (150km South of Sydney on the East Coast)13
        • Also operated starch and gluten plants in the US for 35 years17
        • Purchased Argyle Prestige Meats in the South West Slopes17
          • Manildra purchased a 50% stake17
          • Argyle meats moved from leasing boning and packing facilities at Harden abattoir to a high tech operation at the former Dairy farmers factory in Nowra17
  • 2 Chinese entities and 2 Australian entities considered or placed bids for facility4
  • Manildra plan to lift processing capacity beef kill immediately to 150-200 a day4
    • processing mainly company owned cattle.4
    • The existing beef line has been under-utilised in the past13
      • Modestly working 100 head per day initially13
  • Facility has current service kill contract with Woolworths to process and bone 1,400 lambs a day4
  • Lambs are sourced from Wagga to Griffith, Forbes, Goulburn up to Cooma4
  • The local area is very high MSA (Meat Standard Australia) capabilities
    • Major selling point for Manildra with easy access to stock13
  • Manildra had been a client of GM Scott in the past13
  • July 1. Official takeover of Manildra group of the Cootamundra abattoir 13
  • Management team
    • Launches the Manildra Meat Company 17
    • GM Scott business manager – Bill Scott13
    • Manildra Group director of business development Peter Millard13
    • GM Scott CEO Len Jones13
  • Full export licence granted – expanded potential overseas markets from 18 to 1485
    • ‘tier two’ export13
    • Has taken 14 months in application of process to obtain the licence13
      • Market export increase capability from 22 to 18413
    • GM Scott already had connections with USA & Hong Kong13
      • working toward ties with China13
  • Cootamundra abattoir is the largest employer in the area13
  • Target markets will be5
    • Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Taiwan and Papua New Guinea5
    • China – Took over the Middle east as Australia’s biggest lamb and sheep meat market5
    • Middle East markets – take a lighter lamb, most sourced locally or from the New England area5
      • recently was a good market for mutton to ME but now is not viable to produce for5
  • Most prime lamb is sourced within 100km of abattoir5
    • 70% of the meat processed is service kill.5
    • 30% is export5
  • Currently processing 4000 lambs and 200 cattle a day, with 200 employees5
  • Cootamundra abattoir is confident of continued source of supply even if abattoir at Young opens5
  • Cootamundra compete with abattoirs in Victoria and Queensland for livestock5
  • September. New Goat abattoir is proposed at Blayney, off Newbridge road14.
    • Blayney is located approximately 200km North East of Cootamundra14
    • Goat specific abattoir $38M project14
      • Only one of its kind in the state of NSW14
        • Capacity 13,500 goats14
          • 4,500 processed daily14
        • located at the current SeaLink Freezer site14
      • could employ 165 people likely 5 days per week14
    • Environmental impact will be completed mid October14
    • Strong opposition from neighbours, residents and business in regards to noise, traffic, smell and impact of the facility14
  • Cootamundra livestock producers are looking to a 2nd abattoir in Cootamundra to process livestock for the domestic market15.
    • Export lines are given priority kill over other supplies of kill space15.
      • Facility and management require large numbers and would desire full vertical control of all animals and outgoing meat products15
    • Many farmers in the area are organic producers15.
    • Manildra investment is great for the town has meant some producers have had to seek other facilities to kill stock15
    • Manildra meat Company have offered producers services of its plant on commercial terms appropriate to the operation of the business15.
  • October. Cootamundra abattoir is currently export registered #8743
    • Operator – Manildra Meat Company43
      • Licensed to process beef, sheep, goat and offal43
  • November. 2nd abattoir in Cootamundra gains momentum with a proposed location identified along Turners Lane16
    • Facility would focus on service kills16
    • small multi-species abattoir16
    • Local farmer David Booth leading the push for the abattoir16
      • previously had lambs and goats processed at Manildra16
      • Not allowed to open a small abattoir on his property due to Council Local Environment Plan of the area zoning16
    • Investment funding is being sought16
      • Potential investors have pledged support16
        • wholesalers in Canberra, butchers and small farm operations16
    • Proposed abattoir would be independently run16
    • New proposal could exist with current abattoir16
      • We will focus on small, domestic service kills, They will be all about processing only  with no packaging or wholesale from the site. We don’t intend to put anything in a box” Mr David Booth16.
  • December. $10M upgrades are occurring at the Cootamundra abattoir17.


  • March. Facilities staff and management commit to very high standards of Animal Welfare18
    • Livestock manager David Alexander18
    • Abattoir aimed to not only meet industry standards but be industry leaders18.
  • Animal Welfare is the single biggest issue currently being faced18
    • Improvements are made to ensure the animals are calm and as stress free as possible18
  • A new shed will increase the undercover capacity to 7,000 animals18
    • sheep will be kept dryer and cleaner18
    • New pens will enable better access to water18
    • flooring used will be steel mesh18
      • Previous timber floors break and cause injury18
  • Vets are in attendance each day and asses each animal for injury and ailments18
  • Any animals deemed unfit for slaughter are euthanased18


Source ‘Animal Welfare awareness at the abattoir’ Cootamundra Herald 26/03/2015

Working dogs are muzzled to prevent biting. The dogs are restrained in purpose built dog boxes when not required and used sparingly.

  • Graded steel ramp used for the sheep to reach the initial restrainer stunning area is about 3 – 5 storeys high. Sheep were unsettled when the sheep could see they were elevated. Construction of a corrugated iron floor beneath the ramp, concealed the height and allowed the sheep to move up it more calmly18.
    • Eventually the entire ramp will be concealed18.


Source ‘Animal Welfare awareness at the abattoir’ Cootamundra Herald 26/03/2015

Sheep following each other towards the restrainer


Source ‘Animal Welfare awareness at the abattoir’ Cootamundra Herald 26/03/2015

This sheep stands at the top of the ‘restrainer’ before it is electronically stunned by the device pictured

  • 4 men herd the sheep through the gates and towards the stunning area18.
  • 3 men are stationed at the helm of the operation of the stick hole18
    • 1 is the stunner and 2 hang the limp carcases18
  • Manildra process 3,400 sheep and lambs each day18
    • and 100 head of cattle18
    • Site is being upgraded to process 4,000 sheep and lambs18
      • and 300 head of cattle a day18
  • June. Seasonal downturn allows for upgrades to the meatworks19
  • Rumours working hours have been reduced19
  • Lamb prices were up to $6.10/kg carcase weight at the last Cootamundra stock yard sale19
    • Higher prices are believed to be part of the reason for cut in production19
  • Other abattoirs are facing similar issues19
    • Dubbo, Fletchers had shut its plant for a week due to a shortage of sheep19
      • Non-production week used to do maintenance on the plant19



  • September. Abattoir nears completion of capital works20
    • Expansion of the beef slaughter floor20
    • Improvements to staff amenities20
  • Had been a contraction in beef processing line  due to on farm and saleyard cattle prices22
  • October. Dam located on Manildra meats property bursts it banks and nearly derails a train21
    • Dam is located 2km from the abattoir facility21
    • Dam only contains run off storm water21
    • Dam had burst its banks and washed away part of a railway embankment21.


Source ‘Train nearly derailed as dam bursts’ Cootamundra Herald 06.10.2016

Dam located on Manildra Meat company land bursts its bank and undermines the train track.

  • As of December this year the Cootamundra abattoir would no longer process meat for Woolworths22.
    • Traditionally Woolworths had been a major customer22
    • Well known in 2010 that lamb meat processed in Cootamundra was sold throughout NSW Woolworths stores22.
    • Followed a competitive tender process24
    • Loss of Woolworths will provide Cootamundra opportunity to expand domestic and export business22
  • Staff numbers would be assessed according to seasonal demands and industry challenges22
  • Contract to process lambs for Woolworths has been lost to the Junee Abattoir24
  • Local producer Ron Ward and ACT’s Griffith butchery win 3 awards at the Official Great Aussie pie competition25
    • Mr Ron Ward used to have his meat processed at Cootamundra but since 2014 now has his stock processed at Cowra25.
  • November. New General Manager Jason Graham26
    • Managed New Zealand abattoir 3 years26
      • New Zealands’ largest red meat processing facility26
  • Accessible abattoirs willing to process organic produced animals is of concern to local producers27.
  • Very important to local producers to have the capability to diversify to spread risk and enable a spread of earning possibilities27
    • Manildra closed its beef floor to organic animals27
    • Cowra’s Breakout River abattoir beef line is fully booked at the moment27
    • Young abattoir may re-open for beef, but not sure when27
    • Sheep can be service- killed at Cootamundra27
    • Goats can be killed at Cootamundra27


  • February. Manildra Meat Company, Cootamundra Abattoir will close28
    • Last kill will occur 24/02/201728
    • Plant will be mothballed28
  • Authors note – Mothballed is a term used to describe placing a facility in shutdown but still keeping up maintenance and all required standards to re-open and begin operation of animal slaughter in a short period of time. Facilities may maintain Aus-meat registration status even though they are not actually processing any stock.
    • A maintenance team will be at the facility28
  • Very difficult meat processing environment at the moment28
    • Near record high slaughter cattle prices28
    • Intense export market competition28
      • particularly Brazil28
    • Processors have taken heavy losses in the last 12 months28
      • A QLD processor was reporting losses of $200 per head on heavy grass-fed steers28
  • Facility currently employed 150 permanent and 70 casual staff28
    • All employees will be paid full entitlements28
  • All outstanding financial obligations will be met28
  • Plant will not be sold29
  • “We cannot continue to maintain a viable business in the current industry environment, particularly given the record high livestock prices and the inability of our customers to absorb these price increases” Manildra Meat General Manager Jason Graham29
  • Abattoir operations can be a volatile industry especially when cattle prices are at the level they are at now. My thoughts are with the individuals and families as they go through this tough time” Member for Cootamundra. Katrina Hodgkinson30
  • Cootamundra township has a current population of 7,500 people32
    • Loss of 220 jobs in that size of a town has a huge impact32
    • Some staff have applied and obtained work at other meat processing facilities such as Wagga Wagga #291 NSW, Gundagai #106 NSW and Young #128 NSW. 33
    • Some staff have also been accepted to work at the Junee Correctional centre33
  • Roger Fletcher, Owner of abattoirs at Dubbo.2 #2309 NSW  and Narrikup in WA comments on the current trading conditions of processing lamb and sheep at the moment and that it is a tough industry32
    • “I do the numbers and it’s unsustainable where we’re at”. Roger Fletcher32
    • “It’s a bit like if there are six hotels in a town and there’s only enough room for five drinkers, one’s got to close. And there will be more close.” Roger Fletcher32
  • April. JBS Australia announce they will temporarily close two of its southern lamb processing plant due to current livestock supply and price conditions31.
  • Other facilities that have also stopped production or reduced throughput recently are31
  • Some plants are currently operating on loss-making skeleton 3 day weekly kills31
  • Recent spate of abattoir closures raises questions in regards to over capacity of the processing sector with oversupply of stock due to drought31
  • Has been high levels of foreign investment interest in investments directed into processing31

Sources Cootamundra #87

  1. ‘5,000 jobs at risk: Abattoirs facing closure’ Sydney Morning Herald 21.05.1996
  2. ‘Productivity: Cootamundra’s robotic carcase cutter wins innovation award’ Beef Central 04.06.2012
  4. http:’Manildra secures Cootamundra beef, lamb abattoir, despite Chinese competition’ Beef Central 27.06.2014
  6. AUS-MEAT accreditation list 01.01.2014
  7. AUS-MEAT accreditation list 1987
  8. MSA Licensed Plants Meat and Livestock Australia 27.08.2013
  9. ‘Woolworths not to blame for product recall: GM Scott’ ABC News 07.06.2008
  10. ‘Woolies recalls lamb products’ ABC News 07.06.2008
  11. ‘Meatworks manager leaves in wake of Woolies lamb recall’ 11.06.2008
  12. ‘Loss of noble man’ 05.12.2012
  13. ‘Abattoir purchase official’ Cootamundra Herald 27.06.2014
  14. ‘Blayney neighbours unhappy with plans for goat abattoir’ Western Advocate 26.09.2014
  15. ‘Farmers look to a second Cootamundra abattoir’ Foodmagazine 08.09.2014
  16. ‘Second abattoir proposal gains momentum’ Cootamundra Herald  21.11.2014
  17. ‘Manildra Group’s meaty move’ Stock and Land 13.12.2014
  18. ‘Animal Welfare awareness at the abattoir’ Cootamundra Herald 26/03/2015
  19. ‘Manildra remains committed to town’ Cootamundra Herald 11.06.2015
  20. a
  21. ‘Train nearly derailed as dam bursts’ Cootamundra Herald 06.10.2016
  22. ‘End of an era for Cootamundra abattoir’ Cootamundra Abattoir 26.10.2016
  23. Manildra Meat website
  24. ‘Competitive process results in end of Cootamundra contract’ Cootamundra Herald 27.10.2016
  25. ‘Vote of confidence for local farm’ Cootamundra Herald 28.10.2016
  26. ‘Manildra director pays tribute to former CEO’ Cootamundra Herald 01.11.2016
  27. ‘Spreading risk at Cootamundra’ Cootamundra Herald 15.11.2016
  28. ‘Cootamundra plant closure could flag more widespread processor shut-downs’ Beef Central 17.02.2017
  29. ‘150 permanent and 70 casual staff out of a job’ Cootamundra Herald 17.02.2017
  30. ‘Member for Cootamundra, Katrina Hodgkinson saddened by decision’ Cootamundra Herald 17.02.2017
  31. ‘Indefinite closures for JBS lamb plants, as supply challenge reaches critical point’ Beef Central 20.04.2017
  32. ‘Shortage of lambs for slaughter pushing up prices, forcing abattoir closures’ ABC Rural 24.02.2017
  33. ‘Meatworkers consider their fate after abattoir shuts down’ Cootamundra Herald 24.02.2017
  34. ‘World on a plate, A history of meat processing in Australia’ Stephen Martyn. 2012
  35. Aus-Meat Accreditation Listing 1987
  36. Aus-Meat Accreditation Listing November 1997
  37. Aus-Meat Accreditation Listing March 2000
  38. Aus-Meat Accreditation Listing July 2008
  39. Aus-Meat Accreditation Listing July 2009
  40. Aus-Meat Accreditation Listing March 2010
  41. Aus-Meat Accreditation Listing January 2013
  42. Aus-Meat Accreditation Listing October 2014


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