CELEBRATIONS at Cooranga's 21st on-property sale were sombre as first-cross ewe lamb prices dropped to align with current rates at Lucindale, SA, on Friday.
The James family's 7344 ewe lambs, aged four to five months, topped at $158, averaging a respectable $120.79 - just over a $1 more than the Naracoorte ewe lamb sale average, achieved at the South East centre the previous week.
While the 6929 wether lambs sold to $97.50, av $63.81.
At 14,273, the yarding was the biggest in the sale's history and had an excellent selection of quality June/July-drop lambs for sale, with ewes also vaccinated for ovine johnes disease.
The top price 254 ewes sold to an underbidder on last year's record-breaking pen of $236 ewes, Andrew and Lisa Brown, Padthaway, SA.
The Browns, who have bought replacement ewes at Cooranga since 2003, in conjunction with their PPHS Naracoorte commission agent Barry Bates said the ewes would be joined straight away, to either Suffolk or Poll Dorset sires.
They said they had achieved "pretty reasonable" lambing rates of 87 to 88 per cent from maiden ewe lambs, with rates rising to over 100pc once ewes had their second lambs.
The Browns also bought part of the second highest-priced pen - with 150 at $145.
The next pen of 1105 ewe lambs was split, with 350 bought for $142 by Chay & Merrett; 320 at $143 to PPHS's Richard Harvie account David Brown; 130 at $141 to Elders Naracoorte; and 154 at $135 to Westfarmers Michael Dalby.
The next line of 1006 sold to $135, with 220 sold to Mount Gambier.
Norman-Goldsworthy & Kranz and Landmark Millicent account Watt split the next pen of 1000, taking home 500 each at $125.
Smaller lines of ewe lambs made $60 to $111.
The top line of 1139 wether lambs, 57.5kg, made $97.50 to T&R Pastoral's Ben Davies. He also took home the next 722 at 52.5kg for $89.
The next 309 at 48.5kg made $75, with 1210, av 50.5kg, making $70.50-$72.50.
ALC bought 1420, av 48kg, at $67.
Landmark Kaniva bought many of the lighter lambs, with 764 at $63.50, 1032 at $59 and 99 at $42.50.
Elders Lucindale's Peter Stock said in the 21 years since the sale started, it had doubled in size, and yards had been extended in order to hold all the lambs.
Wendy James-Ross said the sale went better than expected considering the circumstances.
Sired by Cooranga Border Leicester rams, and out of large framed, structurally sound Merino ewes bought in from private sales made in the Clare, Burra and surrounding areas.