Keener interest in small lines at Wycheproof sheep sale

Murray Arnel, October 28, 2019

Bill Rich, Goroke, left, and Stuart Kyle WesTech Ag, Kaniva, gathered 500 unjoined young crossbred ewes to top up a prime lamb breeding flock of 5000 ewes in west Wimmera.

IT wasn’t a record, but the $446 per head top price exchanged for young crossbred ewes with lambs was considered good buying and good selling at the Wycheproof store sheep sale on Friday.

The season-high price so far was, in fact, not a stand-alone result for the Elders sale, as another pen of young ewes with lambs also crossed the $400 a head level, selling for $412.

As good as the sales were, the ultimate high for similar yards of young ewes with lambs sold at the north-west Victorian saleyards was a rate of $460 a head outlaid back in the spring of 2016.

The market toppers were 114 April/May 2018 drop August shorn first cross ewes with 145 percent (130) sappy, marked White Suffolk young lambs.

Newlyn prime lamb producer Tony Torpy paid $446 for first cross ewes with lambs at Wycheproof today.

The Brenco Farming ewes and lambs from Wycheproof South were sold through TB White and Sons, Ballarat to Tony Torpy of Newlyn.

Mr Torpy said although he had bid more than he had wanted, the line was a required replacement for older ewes that would be classed and sold after raising their next crop of lambs.

“We are buying these earlier than normal,” Mr Torpy said.

“There is a risk in this decision as our season is not assured, but we believe it may be more difficult to buy next year rather than now.”

SA buyers appreciating relaxed OJD requirements

The market’s second yard to cross the $400/head threshold was a line of 234 April/May 2018 September shorn first cross ewes sold by the Pollington family of Nullawil. The ewes had 260 Southdown lambs with them and were Gudair vaccinated for Ovine Johne’s Disease. The buyer was a client of Mt Gambier agency, O’Connor & Graney.

Elders Wycheproof agent Jim Coffey said the interest in the unjoined lots of young ewes began cautiously, but intensified as the sale progressed, especially on the smaller pen lots.

The first line in the young unjoined first cross ewes, was 192 April/May 2018 drop ewes from the Simpson family’s Jenames P/L at Berriwillock. They sold for $295 to Elders Bordertown, South Australia. South Australian border interests also paid $295 for 211 August shorn ewes of the same age from Brenco Farming.

Elders Bordertown manager Brenton Henriks came from Bordertown South Australia to buy young ewes for an early joining.

Elders Bordertown manager Brenton Henriks said that now the South Australian government had relaxed Ovine Johne’s Disease restrictionss, SA buyers, especially from the earlier joining northern areas of south-east SA were now able to purchase from Victoria before the main SA crossbred selling season started.

“We still require clean sheep from the biosecurity areas for entry in SA, but the change in regulation will now make it easier for Victorian lines to be imported,” Mr Heinrik said.

Kaniva agency, WesTech Ag-Kyle Livestock was also another strong competitor from the western area of the state, seeking early joining young ewes for clients.

Westech client and Goroke lamb producer Bill Rich bought 127 August shorn Watershed West young ewes for $304, 112 August/September 2018 drop Illfracombe ewes for $318 and 165 April/May 2018 drop August shorn ewes from Bushy Lodge at Charlton for $312.

Other smaller lots of 2018 drop first cross ewes were made from $292-$314. A single pen of April/May 2019 drop October shorn ewe lambs, mulesed and Gudair vaccinated, sold for $240 to a backgrounder at Charlton. These were offered by D & S Erwin of St Arnaud.

Merino ewes sell to $250

Rod Alexander was a keen bidder on Merino ewes for joining to Border Leicester rams on his property at Skipton.

The Merino ewe section followed a similar pattern to the crossbred sale, with agents finding it slightly more difficult to generate interest in larger lines, while smaller lines gathered plenty of traction.

This was the case for 72 April/May 2018 drop maiden Fermoy ewes that had been joined to White Suffolk rams from 26 June to 21 August. Although their joining was considered as out-of-season for the northern country, the June shorn, Western Australian bred Napowie blood ewes sold for $250 to a St Arnaud buyer.

The top price in the young Merino ewe pens was $284 for 268 unjoined April/May 2018 drop August shorn Sohnic blood ewes offered by Sohnic Hose, Marnoo. The Gudair vaccinated ewes were secured by SA agent, PPHS, Naracoorte. A line of 308 July/August 2018 drop Lewisdale blood ewes from K.P. & E.V. Sait from Charlton sold for $272.

Other lots of young ewes, which varied considerably, at times, in pen size, frame size and shearing were all sold at intense interest in a tight band of prices from $225-$260, with only odd sales lower.

Elders Wycheproof agent Jim Coffey viewed these sales as incredible selling with as many as four or five bidders bidding on all pens.

This was also the case on the yards of older ewes, where sales topped at $210 a head a line of five year-old Tamaleuca blood ewes from the Ettershank family at Murray View. A line of five year-old Charinga blood ewes from B.G. & M.G. Campbell sold $186 and Buloke Downs sold 2015 drop Woodpark blood ewes at $185. All were September shorn.

This section of the market was purely driven by restocker interests with not a processor order in sight at any time through the 9100-head sale.

Restockers sought Merino wethers

Boort farmer and Merino wether lamb buyer Vaughan Toose, left, and Paul Fitzpatrick from Fitzpatrick’s Transport discuss delivery.

Allan ‘Butch’ McGrath bought shorn wether lambs with son Tim for their stubbles at Quambatook.

Merino wether demand was also driven by restocker interests, with a line of unshorn Charinga blood lambs from B.G. & M.G. Campbell making $134, while three yards of August shorn Banavie blood 2019 drop wethers from J.H. & J.J. Elliott made $108 to $136.

A large line of seasonally-affected Mungadel blood and bred July 2019 drop September shorn wethers from Carrathool, New South Wales created strong interest and made $96 for 566 and $80 for 265 to buyers from Quambatook and Birchip.


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