The first livestock sale in Feilding was conducted by Jack Stevens and Colonel Gorton in May 1880 at the Denbigh Hotel Saleyards - the same site as the saleyards now occupy. A 100 head of cattle were sold that day.
Regular fortnightly sales followed and later these were expanded to weekly sales with four firms involved - Gorton & Sons, Abraham & Williams, NZ Loan & Mercantile Agency and Dalgety, Buckley & Co. In 1920 Wright Sephenson & Co merged with Abraham & Williams Ltd.
The Manawatu Auctioneers' association was formed in 1907 and a record 80,000 sheep were yarded that year.
At one time the Feilding Saleyards complex, with 489 pens covering 3.7 hectares, was considered one of the largest in the southern hemisphere, selling 100,000 cattle and 600,000 sheep annually.
Today they remain of important significance to the region and comprise 350 sheep pens, 140 cattle pens and an additional 45 deer pens, which were built in the 1980's to accommodate growing numbers of deer being farmed. However, yarding of stock have declined in line with national trends. Now around 50,000 cattle and 450,000 sheep are sold annually. Store sock is sold at weekly sales on Fridays and prime stock on Mondays.
Fire engulfed the Feilding Saleyards cattle rostrum back in 1998, just before the $350,000 project to renovate and install electronic selling was to be completed. Following this devastating event, the three co-owners William & Kettle, Wrightsons and Elders Livestock took the opportunity to remodel parts of the complex before rebuilding the cattle rostrum and administration building that stands there today
Now electronic selling of livestock heralds a new chapter in the history of the Feilding Saleyards.