ELDERS agents were made to work hard for their money at the monthly Wycheproof store sheep sale, but there were generally very solid returns for the quality pens.
Unjoined Merino – Border Leicester ewes made to $161 a head, while the joined crossbreds ewes made to $154.
Merino ewes depastured to White Suffolk rams made to $141, while there was also good strength in the wether market, with the top Merino wethers making $101.
“It wasn’t easy, it was hard work for us, but we’re used to that in autumn before there’s a break in the season,” said Elders Wycheproof agent, and auctioneer at the sale Kevin Thompson.
He said it was hard to provide a pricing trend, given the lack of sales leading into the Easter break, but said the top of the market was around $5 better than expected.
“The seasonal conditions are obviously limiting things a little, but I think there are producers there who recognize the opportunities in the market at present and are prepared to manage the climatic risk over the next couple of months in order to get hold of top quality sheep they could have for two or three years.”
Mr Thompson said there was a clear preference for quality at the sale.
“The discerning buyers were out and about, and they realise the opportunities that are around if they are prepared to feed sheep for a couple of months.
“Farmers in this area factor in the possibility of having to feed sheep for a couple of months more from now on and are comfortable with their risk management strategy.”
He said the availability of good water through the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline had also made risk management easier.
“There is now only the feed component, rather than finding feed and water, for many of those buying sheep.”
But he said buyers were choosy.
“They really are looking for the best sheep, the days of feeding secondary lines of sheep during the autumn are largely over.
“Later drop ewes were a lot harder to clear, and some other lines lacking bloom and maturity went to processors.”
In spite of earlier rain in the North Central region and further east, Mr Thompson said hot weather following that had burnt off any fledgling feed.
“We’re essentially dry all over.”
He said there was good demand at the sale from local buyers, along with those from the southern Wimmera.
In terms of buyers from further afield, the usual range of buyers from Ballarat were busy, as were representatives from Euroa and Bendigo, even as far afield as Leongatha, in Gippsland.
Meat buyers, including Cedar, were also strong, buying a range of ewes and a significant proportion of the wethers, which were $10 up on recent sales.
Mr Thompson said he was thrilled with the way the sheep presented, after miserable conditions the day before at the saleyards, with high winds creating dust storms.
Local farmer Trevor Allan, Thalia, west of Wycheproof, bought a line of 140 unjoined two year old Merino ewes for $100.
“They have got a fair rebate on their back in terms of wool, and I’m happy to carry them through in terms of feed because they are quality sheep.”
L&O Parker, 136 Mer – BL ewes, April 12 drop, October shorn, NSM, $161, to Landmark Euroa.
Springfield Farms 100 Mer – BL ewes, April 11 drop, SIL to White Suffolks. $154 to TB White Ballarat
Wahroonga 80 Mer – BL ewes, May 11 drop, Nov shorn, depastured to White Suffolks, $141, to Forster Livestock Edenhope.
DL and NM Fisher 111 May 10 drop ewes, depastured to White Suffolks, $141, to Rodwells Boort.
AC and AL Eckermann, 122 ewes, May 10 drop, September shorn, depastured to Poll Dorsets, $133 to Elders Avoca.
Mount View Pastoral, 320 August 11 drop ewes, October shorn, depastured to BL rams, $126 to Rodwells Horsham.
HG Peverill & Co
142 May 12 drop wethers, October shorn, $101 to Cedar Meats
SJ and NC McLean, 364 June 12 drop wethers, November shorn, $80 to Elders Bendigo
RE, SF and AJ Coatsworth
300 June 10 drop wethers, October shorn, $78, to Elders Bendigo.