MORE than twenty young ewe and classed breeder lines were cleared with price tags exceeding $300 a head at the Merino Breeders annual September sheep sale at Hay, NSW on Friday.
In a smaller than normal penning of 30,000 head — 12,000 fewer than a year ago – the market was viewed as a very consistent.
This was despite buyer attendance being depleted by COVID-19 restrictions preventing the usually strong contingent of Victorians crossing the border into New South Wales.
The sale conducted by Elders Rural Services and Nutrien Ag Solutions offered about 22,500 ewes and 7500 lambs, and was interfaced for the first time on AuctionsPlus to accommodate buyers unable to attend the sale.
The competition of the AuctionsPlus bidders, although not overly dominant, added a valuable extra layer to demand that contributed to a very even sale, the selling agents said.
“This might be the way for the future,” Elders auctioneer Jason Andrews said.
“These travel restrictions could be around for some time” Mr Andrews said.
“(The restrictions) did have an effect on the crowd, but it didn’t have an effect on the bidding.
“The buyers knew what they wanted, they bid with confidence.”
Nutrien auctioneer Marc Braybon said the result was as strong as could have been hoped for, without being over the top.
However, because there was a larger line-up, particularly of young ewes, buyers attempted to pick holes in the market, resulting in some low starts and extended bidding duels.
Mr Andrews said the main buying strength — particularly in the early parts of the sale — was led by NSW’s central west, eastern Riverina and Murrumbidgee Irrigation areas, with a small presence of Victorian border region agents taking part as the sale progressed.
He said the reason for the lesser sheep numbers at the sale was the difficult seasons over the past two to four years and excellent processor prices encouraging breeders to sell down rather than face the expense of hand feeding.
Mr Braybon said the expectation of recent sales had led to a very solid basis being formed in prices across the entire sale.
The market was commenced on an impressive display of 2019-drop rising 1.5 year-old maiden ewes that were mostly July/August shorn.
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First pen makes $324
The honour of offering the opening pen of the sale went to S.J. & C.E. Booth, Booligal, NSW. with their yard of 385 Bluebush Poll blood Humewood ewes. The April/May drop ewes weighed 70kg liveweight and sold for $324 to the Elders Corowa branch.
The next line sold was 349 April/May drop Daisy Plains ewes with 40 years of Alma blood breeding. They were offered by the Bunyan Family Trust at Booligal and averaged 67.7kg. These sold for $336 to Elders Narrandera. A line of 252 Alma blood and bred ewes, weighing 65.1kg, offered by Graeme Morphett’s Western Plains Grazing made $340 with Elders Melbourne.
The market toppers, which were sold in the fifth yard of the sale, made $354 a head that was just $4 off the 2019 sale top price of $358, which was a considered a stand-alone result. The 201 July shorn Alma and Bluebush blood ewes were offered by S.P. & P. McGufficke, ‘Bunumburt’, Oxley. The next best priced line sold at $346 was 407 Woodpark blood ewes offered by Rowan Houstan’s Budgewah Pastoral, ‘Budgewah’, Hay.
As per the result list below, a further bunch of first-draft sales were recorded in a tight price range between $300 to $332, while most second draft and smaller framed ewes generally made $270 to $310.
Two year-old ewes peak at $324
Sales of 2018 drop, two year-old ewes were equally impressive, with prices of $258 to $324 achieved across 10 pens.
Heading this section of the catalogue at $324 was a line of 648 Woodpark Poll blood classed Budgewah breeders (70.8kg). ‘Formosa’ at Hay sold 200 Charinga blood two year-olds for $282.
Budgewah was again well rewarded, with sales at $300 and $316 a head respectively for two yards (357 head in each) of 2017 classed breeders.
The number of five and six year-olds ewes was more limited than normal due to the recent years’ drought-forced sell-down from flocks.
Nevertheless, with the recent strong season pushing some average weights beyond 80kg, plus the recent high mutton market valuations, the demand from restockers exceeded expectations, with prices of $186 to $250 achieved across the board.
Heading this section at $250 was an 830-head draft of Alma blood, Yamba five year-olds (74.4kg), offered by Western Grazing, Booligal. ‘Formosa’ at Hay sold 330 Charinga blood, 2015 drop ewes (83.1kg) for $246.
Merino ewe lambs sell to $188
The sale of 2020 drop Merino lambs started with an unshorn line of Minarto bred Alma blood ewes weighing 35.7kg from J.J.A. Minarto P/L at Oxley that made $188. Their best wether brothers sold in a line of 720 (49.4kg) for $154 to Kyneton processor, Hardwicks.
A line of 410 Alma blood and bred wether lambs weighing 49.5kg sold to Victorian processor Midfield from Warrnambool for $155. A Forbes, NSW restocker shelled out $149 to secure 700 Alma blood Yamba wether lambs (47.7kg).
Other restocker purchases of unshorn wether lambs were made from $121 (34kg) to $140 (45.8kg). A line of 40.6kg wether lambs sold for $140 and a 33.7kg line made $127. These two July shorn Gunbar Station bred lines were sold by ‘Tiarra’ at Trida, NSW.
Notable 2019 drop sales included 201, $354, Bunumburt, Oxley; 407, $346, Budgewah, Hay; 300, $340, Curragh, Oxley; 252, $340, Alma, Booligal; 359, $336, Daisy Plains, Mossgiel; 405, $332, Bronte, Mossgiel; 380, $322, Tupra, Oxley; 160, $332, Mooloomoon, Moulamein; 420, $330, Wargam, Boorooban; 409, $324, Whyba, Ivanhoe; 386, $324, Humewood, Booligal; 102, $324, Humewood, Booligal; 415, $324, Thollolboy, Hay; 324, $318, Mooloomoon, Moulamein; 658, $310, Budgewah, Hay; 445, $308, Willera, Boorooban; 381, $302, Groongal, Carrathool; 423, $300, Burrabogie, Hay; 211, $300, Formosa, Hay.
Click here for the full Hay sheep sale results.
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