YOUNG Merino ewes peaked at $345 a head at the Deniliquin spring store sheep sale on Friday in a subdued market where limited lots made more than $300 a head.
The yarding of 17,000 sheep was visibly not at its best after being soaked by 20 millimetres of heavy overnight rain and buyer attendance was less than expected, especially from regions south of the Victoria-New South Wales border.
However, for those that made the journey their efforts were rewarded by claiming the majority of the better-end drafts, while online support was more prevalent for the improver lines and in particular, a substantial selection of locally-bred wether lambs.
Commenting on the subdued attendance, Nutrien auctioneer Marc Braybon said the recent addition of online bidding into the physical marketplace had become a two-edged sword.
“On one hand, the extra competition the internet brings has its benefits from an auctioneering perspective, but it tends to rob the physical auction of its intensity, and the intent of those who would normally need to travel to buy.
“It (the dual bidding system) is a necessary requirement at the moment; however, it will be interesting to see if it continues into the future,” Mr Braybon said.
Avenel Partnership ewes top sale
Topping the sale was a pen of 150 drawn from a consignment of 700 Old Ashrose-blood young ewes bred north of Broken Hill on Avenel Station and grown out at Bunnaloo by the breeder, Avenel Partnership. The June/July 2020 drop and April-shorn lot weighed 61.4kgs and was eagerly snapped up by Rodwells Euroa, which then topped a truck with a further 220 head from Avenel’s second run of 547 (51.8Kg), priced at $330.
A further run-out-the-gate of 200 of Avenel’s second draft was also taken at $330 under “Riverina rules.” The balance of the line (127) was re-offered and sold at $295 for a consignment average of $326.85.
Other lines of young ewes to sell beyond $300/head included a pen of 230 (54.5kgs) purchased as lambs from Western Australia and grown out by A&K Crossley, Deniliquin. And, the highly regarded “Mooloomoon” ewes (53.2kgs) bred at Moulamein by Berambong Pty Ltd.
The Crossley lot of ‘Wilcott’ young ewes — August/September 2020 drop and September shorn — made $324, while the July-shorn, Goolgumbla blood Mooloomoon ewes aged 16-17 months realized $302.
Also claiming $302 at the sale was M.G & M. Filmer, Burraboi with a May/June 2020 drop line of Terrick West blood August-shorn hogget ewes (45.2kgs). A small line of 65 Caroonboon blood and August-shorn ewes (53.2kg) from M.S. & C.E. Bull, Conargo, made $322.
Other lines of better grown young ewes — 50kgs plus – made mostly $255 to $280, while lighter “improver” pens made upwards of $214 a head.
Last of Toms Lake Merino sheep sold
A feature of the sale was the dispersal of the 120 year-long Toms Lake Merino breeding operation by Robert and Michelle Crossley, Toms Lake, Booligal.
The dispersal included stud and commercial lots and followed their decision to move into a non-wool shedding sheep Dorper-based operation motivated by future long-term management issues.
The dispersal commenced with a pen of 2021-drop stud Merino ewe lambs that sold exceptionally well at $285, while drafted commercial pens made $270 and $235.
Pens offered from the 2019 breeding season made $290 (stud) and $310, while pens of 2017-drop sold for $270. All of the Tom Lake lots were September shorn.
Interest in older ewes exceeded expectations
Elders auctioneer Jason Andrews said the interest expressed in middle age and older ewes was high and exceeded expectations of most on the day.
“I believe these were better priced than previous Riverina sales; however, along with the improver lines of young ewes these would provide an access to sheep with reasonable outlay comparative to returns from wool and lamb,” he said.
Watch Sheep Central’s full after-market interview with Jason Andrews
Wanganella vendor Robert Nevison sold a pen of his 2019-drop late-September shorn Spring Plains bred two year-olds (59.7kgs) for $290, while Andrew Burge from Deniliquin sold a pen of his One Oak-blood April-shorn ‘Prairie Home’ two year-olds at $305.
Thistle Downs also sold a line of 2019-drop Egelabra blood and December-shorn ewes at $246, while Cornelia Creek and L. & M. Ritchie each sold Autumn-shorn 2018 drop lots at $254 and $250 respectively.
Annual drafts of Black-tag 2016-drop 5-year-old ewes also continued to clear at recent good rates to non-processor interests.
M.G. & M. Filmer sold a pen of 617 August-shorn Terrick West blood ewes (71.9kgs) for up to $230 to average $225.70, while D.D. & A.l. Bull ‘Irroy’ Conargo sold 416 Woodpark Poll ewes (68.9kgs) for $254.
Online buyers dominate wether lamb buying
While “on-the-ground” competition prevailed for ewes, online bidding via the AuctionsPlus interface dominated the wether market.
Paraway Pastoral Company’s Cooinbil Station at Carathool was the sale’s major supplier of 2021-drop wethers, offering about 3800 unshorn Pooginook blood lambs.
The Paraway wethers were offered in six drafted lines, and the heaviest draft of 366 with an average weight of 42.9kgs made $178. The second run of 659 (39.1kgs) made $160, the third pen of 404 @ 34.4kg made $144 and the fourth run of 634 (29.7kgs) sold for $134.
G.R. Allit from Conargo sold a draft of Goolgumbla blood Singarimba bred wethers (41kg) for $160 and M.G. & M. Filmer sold Terrick West blood wethers (40.6kgs) at $150. Other lighter pens made from $98 (23.1kg) to $146 for pens weighing 38-40kgs.
Crossbred lambs sell to $380
In the opening pen of the sale, a lone yard of crossbred ewe lambs made $380 for K. Crossley, ‘Kapunda’, Deniliquin. The line 143 September-shorn lambs was sired by Cadell Border Leicester rams on account the breeder.
The sale was conducted by Deniliquin Associated Agents; however, unlike previous Deniliquin special September sales there were no fattening type crossbred lambs offered.