IN the absence of an early Autumn break, quality lines of store sheep met strong inquiry from greener parts of the country, at the Wycheproof on Friday, with first cross ewe lambs selling to a saleyard record of $390.
Other lines at the western Victorian store sheep centre realised expected values on the back of recent softer online price results.
Faced with a small crowd at the sale, the decision by selling agents, Elders, to interface its February offering with AuctionsPlus bore fruit, with the online listings attracting an additional 50 bids from eight active bidders.
The sale’s online exposure also generated plenty of pre-sale interest, with 2241 catalogue views and 131 people logged in and prepared to bid.
Topping the sale, at a knockdown price of $390 a head, was a ready-to-join line of 225 October shorn May/June 2020 drop first cross ewe lambs with an assessment weight of 55.8kg.
Breeders Adrian, Patrick, Chris and Peter O’Shannessy of Swanwater via St Arnaud, saw the line trucked south by Ballarat agency TB White and Sons. The O’Shannessy’s second yard of 106 ewe lambs weighing 50kg went the same way at $300.
Other pens of unjoined restocker ewe lambs made $198 to $258. These had assessment weights between 30 and 42kg, with the best of these weighing 42.5kg, sold by Harris Farms to Elders Ballarat.
To complete the crossbred sales, 72 5.5 year-old first cross ewes weighing 86.4kgs — joined to Poll Dorset rams from 6 October and scanned 90pc in lamb with 40 multiples, 32 singles and five undetectable — made $272 for G.T. Allan, Wycheproof.
Online bidders dominate Merino offering
Keen interest from online buyers dominated the bidding for the opening yard of the Merino penning offered by vendors Greg and Leone McGurk and family.
This was a line of 435 recently shorn 1.5 year-old Nepowie blood ewes scanned 100 percent in-lamb to Border Leicester rams, but too late to detect multiples.
The ewes were originally imported as lambs from Western Australia and grown out to 56.7kgs on the McGurk family’s Charlton property, and sold for $315 from an online bid to a New South Wales buyer at Wellington, about 900 kilometres from the Wycheproof saleyards.
The next to sell, at $287 a head, was 295 November shorn, June/July 2019 drop Manuda blood ewes weighing 70.6kgs. The ewes were imported as lambs from WA and grown out at Birchip by J.P. & E.M. Casey, then joined and scanned in-lamb to Poll Dorset, White Suffolk and Suffolk rams.
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Other sales of joined scanned in-lamb 1.5 year-old Merino ewes — also mostly imported as lambs from WA and grown out in the local area — were then sold in a tight price range of $240-$280.
These included 276 and 162 sold by Kaneira Holdings, Culgoa, for $280 and $265, and; 367 and 111 from Eversley Farm at Birchip that sold for $274 and $265. Sterling Park at Birchip sold 217 ewes for $264 and Mt View at Wycheproof sold 176 for $240.
Elders auctioneer, Kevin Thompson, said the prices and demand varied a bit through the market.
“We were happy with the quality, and while a lot of the vendors expected top prices, most were sold at expected prices.”
Mr Thompson said although first cross ewe lambs had sold for high prices earlier in the se4ason, the $390 paid for the McGurk offering was a record price for Wycheproof.
In his aftermarket wrap of the sale with Sheep Central, branch agent Sam Crow said the sale was given a positive start to the sale when the O’Shannessy Bros ewe lambs made $390.
This was a tremendous result under the circumstances, he said, while other crossbred “restocker” ewe lamb sales “weren’t too bad” as they would need further improvement prior to joining.
Commenting on Merino young ewe sales, Mr Crow said the assistance of the online support, which was a first for Wycheproof, saw valuations for the best presented lines fully realised, while buying opportunities in the $260 to $290 price range prevailed for the remaining balance. These were still very good sheep, but a bit under what might have been initially hoped for Mr Crow said.
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Joined 3-5 year-old ewes also met consistent demand. Lines joined to terminal sires made $240-$280 and those mated to Merino rams sold for $190-$200.
A handful of unjoined Merino ewe sales ranged according to age from $184-$242, with the best of these being 189 January shorn July/August 2019 drop ewes weighing 67.5kg from the McRae family at Oakbank, St Arnaud.