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Lamb producer pays record $302 at Edenhope first cross ewe sale

by Terry Sim, 13 November 2017

Gordon Mitchell with his $302 ewes.

WESTERN Victorian lamb producer Gordon Mitchell wasn’t the youngest buyer at Edenhope’s Ruralco annual first cross ewe sale last week, but he was quick enough to pay a record price of $302 for the best pen of 1.5 year-olds.

Mr Mitchell, 76, from Karnak, north-east of Edenhope, said the price he paid for the 75 May-June 2016 drop ewe from Lees & Fox was more than double the $150 he paid for ewe lambs from the breeder two years ago.

“They’ve increased a bit in price in two years haven’t they?

“It’s a record.”

Mr Mitchell said he had no problem with his agent Stuart Kyle paying $302, after selling lambs at Naracoorte the previous week for his highest price ever — $186 — $30 up on his best price last year. He was paid $186 for 38 and $162 for 181. He is expecting to get more than $100 for his cull ewes.

He has been a lamb producer since he left school and was looking for a few replacements after drafting out some cast-for-age ewes, which are usually run until they have no teeth left.

“I’d have been culled out years ago,” he grinned.

Mr Mitchell runs between 400-500 first cross ewes and 100 Hereford-Shorthorn cows on 400 hectares and leases out 160 hectares. The current conditions of high lamb and mutton prices are the best he has seen.

“I just hope it stays that way.”

Ruralco manager at Edenhope, David Hanel, said the $302 was a record for the saleyard and he was also pleased with the consistency in prices paid for the 2800 1.5 year-olds, which averaged $285, up $15-$20 on last year.

The top price of ewe lambs sold for $276 at the sale, with 5400 averaging $217. The first run of ewe lambs sold $20-$30 above expectations, and the seconds and thirds made $30-$50 above predictions. Experienced analysts said prices for the lighter ewe lambs were $30 dearer than those paid for similar sheep in Bendigo earlier that week.

“It was just one of those sales that it was great to be a part of.

“This year everyone wanted something and it just got dearer as the sale progressed,” Mr Hanel said.

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