FIRST cross ewes sold to record prices of $426 for 1.5 year-olds and $356 for lambs at Rodwells’ Edenhope Annual Breeders sale in Victoria yesterday.
First cross ewe finishers Mark and Janine Hancock sold 210 October shorn May/June 2019 drop ewes to Casterton producers Ian and Sarah James to top the sale.
The rest of the 3800 mainly October shorn 1.5 year-old ewes offered made $332-$420, apart from a small line of 48 at $275.
Mark Hancock said his $426 ewes were bred by Wayne and Jill McClure at Harrow and bought as lambs in the Edenhope last year for $235. Reflecting the strength of the market, this year he paid $286 for 203 smaller May/June 2020 drop lambs from Ryan McClure as replacements, at the sale.
“While we are in the game, it’s good, we sold at a higher rate so we bought at a higher rate, but next year if we come and we only get say $300 for the (1.3 year-old) ewes, I might be able to buy lambs at a lower price.”
Other lines that made over $400, included J.S. & E.M. Staude’s 198 May/June October shorn ewes at $420, another 120 at $410, 210 at $400 and $422 for 101 August/September drop ewes; $410 for Mount Yulong’s 170 May/June drop ewes and $402 for 256 June/July ewes from J.T.B. & R.E. Heard.
The ewe lamb offering of 5700 head was topped by 155 October shorn April/May 2020 drop lambs from Wimmera Downs, that sold to Powers Creek producer Richard Wait, making a switch from buying 1.5 year-old ewes. Mr Wait said the $356 price was $20-$30 above expectations, but was “good value under the conditions” for the good-sized joinable ewe lambs.
“It’s quite a reasonable price with where lamb and ewe (mutton) prices are.”
The trade lamb producer said his lambs were making around the $180, while cast for age sheep were making $160-$200.
“It seems like a lot of money, but when you work out the changeover it is probably not as crazy as it feels like.”
Mr Wait estimated the ewe lambs would weigh 55-60kg liveweight and he will run them on a clover paddock until joining to Poll Dorset rams in a month.
“They are nice framey sheep, I think they are going to stretch out nicely, I think.”
The heavier ewe lamb lines suitable for joining within a month made $340-$356 at the sale, with those suitable for an early Autumn joining and over 40kg lwt generally selling from $280-$310. Lighter lambs for running on for a 2022 joining made $238-$262.
Westwood sold 300 May/June ewe lambs @ $340, 407 @ $310 and 390 @ $282 for an average of $308. Co-principal Danny West said his tops made $285 last year and all lambs averaged $262.
He said the season has been good and “nearly too good” for the lambs.
“The grass got too high and we cut a few paddocks trying to keep the grass down.
“They grey and the length was right, but they probably didn’t finish off like we would have liked … they like short tucker and we just couldn’t hold our grass down.”
Repeat buyers dominate at Edenhope
Rodwell’s Edenhope manager David Hanel said the sale was extremely solid.
“We pretty much expected the prices we did get.
“The ewe lambs exceeded most expectations with nothing much under the $240 mark today, which was exceptional.”
He said the 1.5 year-old ewes got stronger as the sale went along, with the usual buyers from south-western Victoria, Edenhope and some South Australian interest. He some Gippsland orders kept the sale “very honest” but weren’t successful against repeat restockers on the lighter lambs.
He said it is hard to compare the sale with northern sales offering ewes of different joinings.
“Whilst we had great bloom in the sheep, they had limited sunshine this year, but it’s a testament to the breeders that they have shown up again and repeat buyers have come to buy them again.”