REPEAT buyers and agency support saved the day at first cross ewe sales at Edenhope and Naracoorte yesterday morning, rallying against the general impact of lower lamb prices and increased business costs.
At AWN’s Edenhope sale, repeat buyer RS Rundell and Sons paid $208 through Kerr Livestock for DT & RJ Hill’s 281 May-June 2022 drop ewes.
From then the heaviest of the 1.5 year-olds generally made from $180 up to $192 for MR & JY Hancock’s 186 May-June 2022 drop ewes that went to a local buyer through AWN.
The lighter 12-15 month-old ewes above 50kg liveweight sold up to $190, but generally from $120-$172, with the middle run ewes selling stronger for their liveweight, with the odd off-condition line making less.
The ewe lambs sold to $150 for Three Lakes 176 April-May 2023 drop ewes, going to a Nutrien Warrnambool client.
Miga Lake breeders Adam and Jessie Ferguson were awarded the John McDonald Memorial Award for the best presented pen, 121 May-June 2023 drop lambs that were bought by an AWN client. Their second 69 ewe lambs made $144.
The other 50 kg-plus ewe lambs sold from $106-$136 with lambs bought to run generally making around $100 or less.
AWN Edenhope manager David Hanel said the prices were above expectations, considering the numbers of first cross ewes and lambs sold earlier, especially at low rates online.
“When you look at the results on AuctionsPlus, we were hoping we weren’t going to get to those levels.
“We probably put trust in that there was ‘Edenhope’ in front of the sale and ‘Naracoorte’ the same,” he said.
He said the sale was well-supported by repeat buyers although there was not the normal competition from the south due to the early cut out of the season.
“I suppose it is testament to the first cross job, with people going back to their roots and keeping the first cross job going.”
Mr Hanel said the middle run of 1.5 year-olds sold extremely strong.
“We actually thought things were going to get sticky in the seconds and the thirds, but they actually held up extremely well.”
“We expected $220-$230 for the 1.5 year-olds and nothing more than $130 or $140 for the ewe lambs, even for one or two pens and the tops for $150 was an exceptional result.”
He said some of the 1-1.5 year-old ewes were showing the effects of the season, but he was happy with the ewe lambs’ weights and rates, especially the later runs.
Wallacedale prime lamb producers Ewen Cameron and son Chris were repeat buyers at Edenhope, paying $190 for JTB & RE Heard’s first (358) and second (347) runs of June-July 2022 drop ewes, through SGL agent Andrew Button. Chris Cameron said the prices they have paid for the Edenhope ewes have come back from $500 three years ago, then $400 and to $357 last year.
“We don’t breed any of our ewes, we sell all our lambs so we have to stick with our program and hopefully the (lamb) prices start increasing again.
“We were hoping the seconds would be cheaper, but we wanted them and they pushed us another $20,” he said.
Chris said he wanted the Heard ewe wool type, that is finer than that of other ewes they had bought.
Naracoorte ewes sell to $228
At the Naracoorte Regional Livestock Exchange in the afternoon, 1.5 year-old ewes sold to $228 for Coolawang Pastoral’s Blue Ribbon best presented pen of 107 sold though Elders, with another 228 making $224. PPH&S client Mentara Park sold 140 ewes for $208.
The 15,638 1.5 year-old ewes at Naracoorte grossed $2,553,886 and averaged $163.
PPH&S principal Robin Steen said the agency’s 7000-plus ewes averaged $168 and he was a little bit disappointed by the result for the top end, but the sale was set by earlier results. But he said there was good support from repeat buyers and the PPH&S client base.
“It held through at $150-plus basically right through till the last 6-8 pens of smaller and lighter ewes.”
Mr Steen said even the repeat buyers are probably wary of where the lamb market is going, but the ewe prices were about where they should be to be consistent with the lamb and mutton markets.
“The thing that has caused the biggest grief is the cost of doing business; all the input costs that don’t come down.
“The way I’m reading it, the lamb job might get a bit softer between now and Christmas before it settles back up again.”
He said the “pretty bloody ordinary” AuctionsPlus ewe values before the sales had not given the market any indication of likely rates.