Hells Gate’s Gordon Paterson buys up Wycheproof ewes after rain

Terry Sim May 6, 2019

Elders Wycheproof’s Jim Coffey, centre, and the Elders team take bids for first cross ewes at the special store sale on Friday.

RECENT rain drove some big buyers to Wycheproof’s special store sheep sale last Friday.

The Paterson family led by patriarch Gordon Paterson bought a third of the offering of scanned pregnant and unjoined first cross and Merino ewes for their Hells Gate property in the Riverina.

Selling agents Elders offered 6880 sheep on Friday — mainly scanned in-lamb and unjoined first cross and Merino ewes, with some Merino wethers — and Elders Wycheproof agent Sam Crow described the sale as very good.

In the scanned in-lamb lineup, first cross ewes sold to $330 and Merino made to $240. Unjoined Merino ewes sold to $200 and buyers paid $170-$190 for Merino ewe lambs. Light 30kg Merino wether lambs made to $126.

Mr Paterson said he paid an average of $258.60 for 2350 2017 and 2018 drop first cross ewes, including 850 scanned in-lamb maiden ewes that averaged him $287. The balance were rising one year-old unjoined ewes.

The family has extensive holdings in Victoria and New South Wales, including the 13,000 hectare-plus property on the Hay Plain Hells Gate which grows cotton, lot feeds cattle and produces prime lambs.

“I was just replenishing the sheep I sold at the start of the drought — when it started to look a bit ugly I sold all my sheep and I‘ve just bought a few back that’s all.”

Mr Paterson said Hells Gate recently received an estimated 33-80mm of rain.

“I thought it was time to get back in.

“Any time you get a rain like that in the Riverina and you don’t have a go, you shouldn’t be in the Riverina.”

On the basis that the first buying opportunities in a market cycle or an auction can often be the best or cheapest, the Paterson operation bought about 14 of the first lines of scanned crossbred ewes sold at Wycheproof.

“Something has gone wrong with the cycle if it is not,” he said.

“But you’ve always got to get the next rain though haven’t you?”

And Mr Paterson said his sheep-buying is not finished, but further purchases would depend on follow-up rain.

In Victoria, Mr Paterson said 17mm of rain fell at his home property at Anakie, 36mm fell at his Camperdown property, nothing at Hawkesdale, 3mm at Vermont near Macarthur and 5mm at Cavendish.

“So I reckon I did alright.”

Mr Paterson said he has only seen 80mm of rain fall in a break at Hells Gate three or four times in his life.

“You’ve got to have a bit of a sense of adventure haven’t you?”


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