FIRST cross ewe prices continued on their record-breaking path last week as ewe one year-old and older sold to $448 and lambs made to $444 at the Bendigo Blue Ribbon 1st X Sale on Friday.
The sale followed the Nutrien-Elders sale on the previous Wednesday, when 1.5 year-old first cross ewes sold to $446 and lambs made to $400.
McKean McGregor client and Raywood breeder Linda Cartwright topped Friday’s sale with 229 September shorn July/August drop ewes weighing 81kgs that sold to Tattyoon lamb producer and cropper Tim Fraser.
Mr Fraser said he had bought the Cartwright ewes for the past 10 years and had expected to pay well over $400 for them.
“Last year I bought the same ewes for $355, but given what happened on the Wednesday (at the Nutrien-Elders sale), I expected to pay at least $450-odd dollars.
“They are just outstanding sheep, they do the job for me.
“Every sheep I’ve got has come from the Cartwrights at Raywood.”
He has already sold about 500 lambs for an average of about $228 and his 80-90kg cast for age ewes are expected to make more than $200 at current prices.
“The changeover doesn’t vary too much year-to-year, it’s just that the numbers are bigger and there is more money changing hands.”
The TB White and Sons client said the ewes will be joined next week to Boongala Poll Dorset rams for an Anzac Day lambing. He generally marks 125-130 percent of lambs.
“We’ve been getting our rams from the same property for 65 years.
“I’m the third generation to get rams from the same place.”
Linda Cartwright said she also 194 July/August 2019 drop ewes for $435 and another 166 for $408. Her top line 241 October-November drop ewes made $410 and the seconds “only” sold for $395.
The Cartwright ewe lambs made to $378 for 179, with 203 ‘seconds’ making $396 and another 91 selling for $335.
She said agents found it hard work at times, but there were a lot of repeat buyers at the sale. Agents selling at the sale included McKean McGregor, F.P. Nevins and Co. and Ellis Nuttall & Co. The sale interface with AuctionsPlus.
Ewe lambs sell to $444
The top price of $444 for ewe lambs was paid by Windermere producer and Nutrien client Chris Powell for a run of 172 March/April 2020 drop early October shorn ewes weighing 63.2kg from G.J. and D.M. Allan, ‘Melrose’ , Mathoura, New South Wales, selling through Ellis Nuttall and Co.
Mr Powell said he has been buying the Melrose ewe lambs for 6-7 years.
“Last year we chased them up pretty high, but this year we made up our mind, we didn’t have much more up our sleeve, but we had enough.
“Since we’ve had them we’ve done pretty well with our lambs,” Mr Powell said.
“We find them nice and quiet and they perform pretty well for us, so we stuck to them.”
The ewe lambs will be joined to White Suffolk rams in early January.
Geoff Allan said all his ewe lambs sold to repeat buyers. He also sold about 900 ewe lambs for up to $405 and an average of $390. His ewe lambs last year sold to $372.
Stronger sale for ewe lambs than older ewes
McKean McGregor agent Alex Collins said most of the one year-old and older ewes in the sale sold from $410-$448, with the majority of these making $415-$430, with younger lighter one year-olds selling from $350-$400. Most of the ewes in the sale were Spring drop ewes under 1.5 years-old.
“I think you would have 1-1.5 year-old sheep probably averaging close enough to $400.”
Mr Collins said the Melrose ewe lambs were very eagerly sought by repeat buyers, but most of the lead drafts of ewe lambs made $370-$400.
“You had to come back a fair way from these and under 50kg lwt for the price to be under $350 and when we got into the low 40kg lines prices were still above $300.”
He said lighter ewe lambs weighing in the 30kg range made $250-$260.
“A lot of those lambs sold pretty dear.
“It definitely got dearer on a cents/kg liveweight basis.”