IT was a case of spot the agent through the dust when Deniliquin’s Landmark, Elders and Rodwells agencies conducted their annual spring sheep sale last Friday.
The dust, which rose incessantly throughout the sale due to a management decision not to pre-water the yards, failed to check the enthusiasm of a surprisingly small following, especially buyers from areas across the border in northern and western Victoria.
The often oppressive conditions; however, were no match for a determined field of mainly local area buyers, who paid to $276 a head for a yard of two-year-old Merino ewes and to an eye-watering $248 a head for a yard of five year-old 2014 drop ewes.
While some lots were sold into the central districts of Victoria, bidding was also keen for the best style yards of 2018 drop maiden young ewes, which sold to $252 a head on two occasions.
A further highlight of the Deniliquin October sale was the persistent bidding of the processing sector that placed bids to $216 a head for heavy aged ewes in good condition.
The processors were led once again by Dubbo-based exporter, Fletcher International Exports. The company bought multiple transport loads of aged ewes, while also booking several yards of the heaviest crossbred lambs and the top-priced Merino wether lambs, for finishing on grain at its Condobolin feedlot.
Elders auctioneer Jason Andrews said despite the dusty conditions, no dust nor flies was allowed to settle on the results of the October market.
“There is a very solid base in the slaughter market with mutton making $6/kilogram and most lambs, either crossbred or Merino bringing a minimum $100 or more,” Mr Andrew said.
This strong base, he said, provided plenty of incentive for a strong store market with current change –over values well-placed in favour of buyers.
The sale’s top-priced lot was a yard of the renowned Goolgumbla blood Mooloomoon ewes consigned to the market by the McKindlay family of Moulamein.
The line of 354 September-shorn June/July 2017 drop ewes was secured by a first-time buyer, Gary Holmfield of Bunnaloo. The draft’s 110 younger June/July 2018 drop maiden sisters sold to Rodwells Deniliquin for $244.
The top-priced ewes the 2018 drop offering were 432 August shorn Pooginook blood Paraway Pastoral ewes that sold for $252 to Landmark Deniliquin. These were the lead draft of 1000 consigned to the market from Paraway’s Merimba holding at Conargo. Its second and third drafts made $220 and $196 a head respectively.
Sharing equal honours as the top-priced 2018 drop sales was a yard of May shorn Kangaringa Station blood and bred ewes from Rochford Park at Elmore. These were sold for $252 to Landmark Deniliquin. A pen of August shorn Pooginook blood Bellvue ewes made $238, again falling to a bid from Rodwells Deniliquin.
Five year-old Merino ewes to $248
Other pens of young ewe maidens were cleared at prices from $160 to $204 a head depending on size, condition and shearing. Pens of middle-aged and older ewes generally made $156 to $198, with odds sales higher. These higher prices included a season’s high of $248 a head paid for 577 five year-old Mooloomoon ewes from Moulamein.
A line of five year-olds from Cooinbil at Coleambally also met determined enquiry, selling for $218 a head. A line of 144 July shorn DD-Dohne blood Walliston Dohne cross ewes from Edengower made $212.
Another sale that reached the $250 a head threshold was a yard of May/June 2017drop Willera blood and bred ewes from Shady Park, Berrigan. The August-shorn ewes sold to Landmark Bendigo. Landmark Yarrawonga paid $198 to secure a pen of 2015 drop Spring Plains ewes, with FLI as the under-bidder.
The top-end drafts of three consignments of unshorn 2019 drop Merino wethers sold to $140 a head or better.
These included 315 Pooginook blood lambs from Charlies Run, Longwood, that went to a Crookwell, NSW buyer at $142; 273 One Oak-blood Prairie Home lambs from Deniliquin lambs that went to a Bendigo buyer for $140 and 507 Hazeldene blood Benara wethers that sold to Yarrawonga, also for $140.
Other drafts of this season’s unshorn wether lambs were sold from $106 to $132, with principal orders coming from Towaninnie, Albury and Ariah Park.
Intense interest in crossbred lambs
Interest was also intense for the market’s opening sales of 2019 drop crossbred lambs with the lot-feeding interest of FLI setting a high bar and irrigation and stubble finishers also competing willingly.
The best priced, at $165 and $161, were pens of September shorn White Suffolk-Merino mixed sex lambs offered by Rankeela, Deniliquin. A draft of unshorn 400 WSM mixed sexes from Warwillah, Wanganella, sold for $159, $156 and $140.
Tandarra East, Deniliquin also sold unshorn WSM mixed sex lambs at $153, $152 and $138. Groongal at Carathool sold its unshorn WSM mixed sex lambs for $144, $135 and $123, with buyers from Shepparton and Bendigo being the most prominent.
A small display of crossbred ewes was also offered in the advertised 18,000-head penning. A small yard of 2018 drop ewes made $180, and two pens of unshorn 2019 drop ewe lambs sold for $180 and $154. A small yard of unshorn 2019-drop Merino ewe lambs made $118.