FIRST cross ewes sold to a national record price of $538 at the annual Naracoorte 1.5 year-old ewe sale yesterday.
The sale’s 18,324 ewes averaged $379 and grossed $6,942,247, led by two lines of ewes that made $500-plus.
Observers said the well-prepared vendor bred lines sold well, but there was some buyer resistance over $400 for lines, especially those bought as ewe lambs and being re-sold, and lacking condition due to the tough start to the season.
Elders sold the top-priced and best presented pen of the James’ family’s Coolawang Pastoral Company, which also topped the sale last year with ewes at $472.
Coolawang’s top line of 104 June 2020 drop ewes out of South Australian Merino ewes by Coolawang Border Leicester rams weighed 84.5kgs and was sold to return buyers and well-known heavy lamb producers Guthrie Farms, Dean, in Victoria.
Coolawang also sold 166 ewes for $500 and 130 for $496 to Kalangadoo potato farmer and lamb producer Tim Widdison, and 137 ewes were sold for $450 to William Hearn at Mt Pleasant, South Australia. The 537-strong Coolawang offering averaged $493.60.
Coolawang principal Trevor James said after the Bendigo sale it was expected there would be some pens over the $500 mark, but the $538 price was unexpected.
Better bred sheep in good condition sell well
Pinkerton Palm Hamlyn and Steen livestock consultant Richard Harvie said the better bred sheep presented in good condition were rewarded yesterday.
“But in the big picture, we only had two lots over $500, then we had another little run of sheep at $450-$500, then we had a bigger percentage again at $400-$450, and then a lot at $330-$400.”
Mr Harvie said demand lacked some depth at prices over $400.
“We had one buyer who would normally buy a large number of ewes who didn’t and bought stock elsewhere earlier and that little bit of competition just fell out of the job.”
“The biggest factor on the day I believe is that the ewes that were presented … a reasonable percentage were just not quite to the standard they were last year,” he said.
“In the last few weeks, a little bit of buying urgency has dropped out of the first cross ewe job,” he said.
“Another influence is believe the cost of replacements is now making people dabble in composite breeding.
“There are people now swinging towards putting 400-500 (first cross) ewes to a maternal composite ram, rather than having to buy in ewes,” Mr Harvie said.
“You only four blokes to suddenly want to join 2000 ewes up to composites, that’s four bidders you haven’t got in your market that normally would buy 300-400 ewes here.”
PPH&S sold 9800 1.5 year-old ewes for an average of $359.46 and 908 older ewes for an average of $211.68. The agency’s top lines included Deepwater Trust 400 @ $482, Mentara Park 198 @ $450 and Pembroke 166 @ $440.
The top lines of the other agents selling in the sale included TDC Livestock and Property clients Bimbimbie Props 129 @ $474, Southern Australian Livestock Pty Ltd’s client Lockhaven 119 @ $458 and Nutrien Ag Solutions client Rushmore Run Props 140 @ $456.