LAMB industry confidence and specialist demand for shedded sheep continued to drive ewe values to record levels in the past week.
At the annual Temora/West Wyalong First Cross ewe sales last Friday three lines of scanned empty ewes sold for a record $500, with all ewe hoggets in the sale making $395-$500, and the unjoined ewe lambs selling for $355-$360.
The sale’s top price was $65 higher than the previous record for unjoined ewes set in November 2020 and $24 up on the national scanned in-lamb first cross ewe price record set in June last year.
The top priced pens included 200 scanned empty 14-15 month old August shorn ewes weighing 71.2 kgs from Eric Maguire at West Wyalong, offered through Nutrien Livestock.
Nutrien agent Will Dean said the ewes sold above expectations, with most of the averaging $400-plus.
“I think they were hoping for something in the high $400s, maybe $500, but the real expectation was in the mid-$400s, for the better end of the ewes.”
He said a new buyer from Dunedoo bought the Maguire ewes.
“The stars aligned, there wasn’t a heap of ewes there and there were a lot of repeat buyers at the sale.
“The country looks sensational, it’s not often we get two good years in a row like this, coupled with extreme lamb prices, so people were willing to go hard and get the ones they wanted,” he said.
“This sale really kicks off our store sheep season and it creates the benchmark for whatever comes going forward, Merino or first cross ewes.”
He said it is a real possibility that future ewe prices could be higher.
“We are getting into scary territory — $375 was our top last year and we thought that was a pretty good shot and by the end of the season they were making nearly $100 more than that, so once you get into Spring all bets are off …. who knows where it could go.”
Quade-Moncrieff clients at West Wyalong, Barry and Lynne Cox, sold 200 14 months-old late July shorn ewes weighing 69.9kgs for $500 and a second line of 218 slightly lighter ewes (61.6kgs) for $480.
Another Quade-Moncrieff client, the O’Dwyer family from West Wyalong sold 80 16-17 month-old late July shorn ewes weighing 69.5kgs for $500.
Quade Moncrieff selling agent Scott Hall, for the Cox family, said the record ewe prices reflected the strong demand for replacements and the high lamb prices, with suckers making $250 in Wagga Wagga and other markets on a weekly basis.
“Two lambs and you pay for a ewe, maybe they need to make $500.”
Mr Hall said confidence in the prime lamb industry is “through the roof.”
“It is to a whole new level; we’ve got this massive feed base at the moment and we looking down the barrel at a very, very good harvest, so it is a combination of a few things.
“And last year we had a good harvest and a reasonable season with sheep, so it is a combination of good feed, we’ve got producers who are cashed up and they need sheep.”
Australian White ewe lambs sell for $1351
In AuctionsPlus National Sheep Sale on Tuesday, the strategy of Australian White breeders to market only small numbers of certified Tattykeel-bred ewes yielded a new record commercial ewe price of $1351 for 10 ewes.
The 12 month-old scanned in-lamb ewe lambs weighed 86.5kgs and were offered by R.B. Jones and Partners from Condoblin through selling agents Kevin Miller Whitty Lennox and Co.