Limited opportunities as numbers decline

Limited opportunities as numbers decline


Sheep
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Disturbing news for the sheep industry has come this week from the Hay district in New South Wales – the very heart of the Riverina sheep grazing region and supposedly the Merino capital of Australia.

Disturbing news for the sheep industry has come this week from the Hay district in New South Wales – the very heart of the Riverina sheep grazing region and supposedly the Merino capital of Australia.

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Horsham 1st-cross ewe breeder, Jock Heard and Wayne Driscoll, Rodwells secured 1055 Banyandah Pastoral Bundy-blood ewes at Deniliquin.

Horsham 1st-cross ewe breeder, Jock Heard and Wayne Driscoll, Rodwells secured 1055 Banyandah Pastoral Bundy-blood ewes at Deniliquin.

And the disturbing news is this – the Hay district for all its wool and sheep breeding notoriety cannot muster adequate numbers for its annual October sale, and this fact may have caught many wannabe southern sheep buyers well and truly off guard.

The possibility of a no-show October Hay sale has been openly discussed at all three Riverina sheep sales this spring. Usually it’s a fear-mongering, throw away conversation but with Jerilderie and Deniliquin sales now both done and dusted, with no repeats this spring, it sheds new meaning to the often-used auctioneer’s saying “here today, gone tomorrow”.

Intending buyers will now need to more closely scrutinize sheep offerings on the screen and any and all Victorian and remaining South Australian sheep sales if replacements are to be sourced.

Its perhaps a reason why store sheep, mutton and lamb prices have traded so boldly during the opening stages of this spring selling season while store and prime cattle prices have faded.

As Elders Deniliquin livestock manager Jason Andrew reiterated this week “the market for young ewes has been so solid this spring a small blanket could be used cover the tight range of prices achieved – $170-$230 - at all three Riverina sales, with just a few isolated sales both higher and lower”.

And why not he argues. Most Riverina wool clips have so far this season averaged $2000 per bale, station-bred five year-old ewes, $110 to $140 off-shears, and five month-old wether lambs have sold from $85 to $110 unshorn. Sheep breeders and wool growers, he said, have experienced a fantastic selling season albeit being dry and difficult.

The “no-October Hay sale” scenerio brings greater focus on two Wycheproof sales scheduled for this month – one today Thursday by Landmark and Rodwells and another by Elders next Friday.

Kevin Thompson, Elders reports next Friday’s Elders nominations have grown to 17,000 with the inclusion of a 4000-head Merino ewe flock dispersal by Graham and Cheryl Supple of Paradise.

Graeme Supple was the first client, 50 years ago, of Glendamar Merinos when it inaugurated. Mr Thompson described the Supple flock as “large framed, plain bodied, heavy wool-cutters that wont disappoint”.

The Elders Wycheproof penning will offer an extensive line-up of all classes. It is their biggest yarding for some time and lists 2000 firstcross ewes - 1.5 year-old and lambs, 8500 Merino ewes plus 3500 wethers, both lambs and one year-olds.

And, a reminder the MLA/AWI wool and sheepmeats survey closes 31 October.

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