SUMMARY: 35,300 yarded, av $288; 2020 drop ewes top $512, av $318; 2021 drop top $206; 2019 drop top $352, av $306; 2016 drop top $304, av $206
TOP-END Merino ewe prices surged beyond the $500 per head mark topping at $512 at the Hay Merino Breeders sale on Friday.
The market toppers were a line of 404 large-framed, plain-bodied Alma blood ewes bred at Booligal by the Rogers family’s Yarto Pastoral.
The buyer was Mathoura-based first cross breeder, Geoff and Di Allan, Melrose, who topped last year’s Bendigo first cross ewe sale with a stunning sale of $444.
Watch this vision of the opening sale streamed live by Elders Hay:
A second pen of the March/April 20 drop, August-shorn Yarto ewes made $470 and went to repeat buyers, Bill and David Bott, Emu Parl, Coreen while a line of Spring drop Yarto one year-olds were fiercely contested, selling at $412.
The recent surge in Merino young ewe prices saw a further 10 yards in the 24,500-strong yarding of 1 to 1.5 year-olds sell above $400, with the second-best price on the day – a bid of $475/head – recorded for the Bunyan family, Daisy Plains Management, also of Booligal.
These also were Alma-blood while a Collinsville-blood line of Coulpartaro young ewes bred by M& S Morphett, also of Booligal, was the next best priced at $450 a head.
Elders auctioneer, Jason Andrew said the better end of the plain-bodied ewes sold exceptionally well.
“We didn’t think we would crack the $500 mark,” Mr Andrew said.
“And then to complete as many sales above $400 level was a remarkable feat.”
Mr Andrews suggested that most of the price setting bidders who operated above the $400/head threshold were either repeat buyers, breeders of first cross ewes or those who have sold suckers into the late Winter/early Spring lamb market.
“Thereafter, the next run of drafts wasn’t priced over-the-top by comparison,” Mr Andrews said.
There were plenty of “highly regarded” lines that were a fraction short of their usual growth and condition due to the late start to the season that were good buying between $300 and $350, Mr Andrews said.
“And then there were a number of lighter lots that would need some TLC before accepting a ram that made $200 to $240, which overall provided a wide spread of prices that allowed everyone to complete,” he said.
Expectations exceeded despite lack of trade support
Nutrien auctioneer Marc Braybon agreed and said while there was strong early competition within the first 20 pens of the sale there were also some buying opportunities.
“We missed the Victorian competition due to the COVID travel restrictions that usually underpins the middle stages of this sale,” Mr Braybon said.
“The crowd wasn’t huge by usual Hay standards and although bidding on AuctionsPlus did fill some gaps it didn’t carry the enthusiasm as a larger crowd would,” he said.
Mr Braybon also said that sales of the older sheep also missed the usual depth of competition provided by the processing trade.
“Normally a good number representing the trade would attend this sale to purchase wether lambs, but with these sold last week in the feeder lamb sale, the older ewes lacked trade competition and mostly made mutton value or less.
“All that said it was a better day than we had anticipated and our vendors will be grateful for that,” Mr Braybon said.
Attending NSW buyers from the Riverina, Central West, Central Tableland and South West Slopes were major supporters of the sale, along with Victorian orders placed from Yarrawonga, Echuca, Bendigo and Kilmore.
2020 drop ewes
404 – Yarto – $512
374 – Daisy Plains – $475
472 – Yarto – $470
457 – Coulpartaro – $450
262 – Alma – $444
263 – Alma – $430
404 – Yarto (1yo) – $412
521 – Mooloomoon – $412
226 – Bunuburt – $410
336 – Toms Lake – $400
580 – Merwin – $400
372 – Yamba – $400
2021 drop ewe lambs
555 – Barrabool – $206
250 – B&S Schiller – $184
160 – Minarto- $174
2019 drop ewes
300 – Murgha – $354
239 – Formosa – $332
185 – Barrabool – $290
425 – Barrabool – $265
254 – Tylden (4.5yo) – $304
246 – Bronte (5.5yo) – $282
400 – Eriwah (5.5yo) – $274
400 – Daisy Plains (5.5yo) – $250