MERINO ewe hoggets topped at $450 and made above $400 on eight further occasions in wet conditions at the John Wells Memorial store sheep sale at Jerilderie on Friday.
Buyers from a wide area – from Dubbo in the central west of New South Wales to Ballarat and Kyneton in central Victoria — attended the mid-Riverina sale centre, and AuctionsPlus bidders added depth.
However, despite the strong buying interest there was plenty of unfilled demand remaining at the end of the sale.
Topping the sale was the lead draft of 235 young Collinsville blood ewes from a complete drop of 1150 purchased as lambs last Spring from the Hay district and grown out at Ardlethan by Neil and Katrina Morris, initially to be retained.
However, a change in circumstances saw the complete 2020 drop offered in four lots, with the first 235 head making the top price of $450, the second 235 head selling at $448, the third 235 at $430 and the fourth 235 bid to $415.
The Morris’ Rickaveera line was offered with an average liveweight of 67.4kg and went to buyers at Dubbo, Bendigo and Griffith, while a fifth line of 61.2kg ewes made $362 to an AuctionsPlus bid.
Securing the bragging rights and the honour of winning the John Wells Memorial Shield for the highest priced breeder’s line of young ewes was Andrew Sleigh’s Sleigh Pastoral offering.
Weighing in at 66.3kgs, the April/May 2020 drop, Willandra blood Sleigh Pastoral ewes made $444, and a second line of 397 weighing 60.6kgs sold at $400.
These were sold to repeat buyers at Wagga Wagga and Narrandera, while a buyer from Coleambally snared the opening of the sale, paying $430 for 120 young Wiraki ewes that were also Willandra blood.
Other breeders’ lines to cross the historic $400 benchmark were: Willandra’s 200 Willandra blood ewes sold at $426, and Irroy’s 205 Woodpark Poll blood ewes sold for $422.
Across the penning of 9530 1.5-year-olds, a further eight lots were sold at prices between $350 and $395, with 21 sales recorded between $300 and $349 for an overall average of $356.40.
A pen of Yardyilla-bred, Calga-blood Dohne ewes, April/May 2020 drop, 67.7kgs, made $375.
Watch the live video of the sale shot by Elders staffer, Maggi Gray.
Elders Jerilderie livestock manager, Nick Gray said expectations were mostly meet across the sale.
“While a few of our lead pens didn’t quite make the money we had thought the average across the drafts of 1.5-year-ols and the whole of the sale was above our overall thoughts,” he said.
But it was also a trying day in many ways, Mr Gray said.
“It was wet, which didn’t help the look of some sheep and COVID restrictions prevented many from attending.”
However, the wet conditions did generate confidence, and the inclusion again of the AuctionsPlus interface proved its worth, with nine active bidders raising bids on 20 different lots to successfully secure eight lots and justify the many hours of assessments, Mr Gray said.
Not enough ewes to go around at Jerilderie
Willandra Merino Stud principal Ross Wells said it was encouraging to see the renewed interest being shown in sheep and wool.
Sadly; however, he said there wasn’t enough young ewes to go around and there was a lot of demand left unfilled at the end of the sale.
In the sales of older ewes, a modest selection of mature breeding ewes saw prices vary from $270 for a pen of 4.5 year-old Lara Plains blood and bred ewes, to $342 for a pen of 2.5 year-old Woodpark Poll blood, Riversdale bred ewes from Riversdale.
Buyer interest in breeder lines of “classed-in” 5.5 year-olds was also pushed to the limit, with several lots finding values above $250 a head.
The best priced of the aged ewe selection was a Sleigh Pastoral line weighing 78.1kgs that made $274, while second pen of Sleigh Pastoral ewes, 68.1kgs, sold for $260.
A third yard of aged ewes to sell above $250 was a line of ex-stud Willandra ewes sold at $268, while others made $225 to $240 for an age group average of $244.
Restocker interest in the offering of 2500 2021 drop unshorn Merino wether lambs was strong, with purchase rates varying from 380-445c/kg live to average 400c/kg.
The best price of $178 was paid for 194 Caroonboon blood wethers from Innesvale, while Oola Park, Bunnaloo, sold 244 Terrick West/Wallaloo blood wethers weighing 38.2kgs for $172.
Other pens of unshorn wether lambs made $135 to $155 and yards of mixed aged older wethers made $166 to $220. The sale was conducted by Elders Jerilderie and branches.