CROSSBRED ewe values soared to an impressive $212 a head at the annual December Ballarat sheep sale on Friday.
The buoyant prices were fully firm compared to other recent district sales and were largely driven by the severe lack of sheep numbers around the state, according to Graeme Nicholson, Elders, Ballarat.
Agents yarded a total yarding of 14,833 (including 113 rams) but numbers were markedly reduced by about 10,000 head from last year’s sale, which is a telling sign of the times, Mr Nicholson said.
“A lot of breeding sheep were sold for slaughter last year and people haven’t had the feed to restock until now,” he explained.
“This spring has been the best one I can remember in quite some years and now we are just starting to see producers wanting to go back into sheep again.”
That demand for crossbred breeding ewes pushed many of the top lines to make from $170-$190 in a strong market, with buying support largely from Gippsland, Western Districts and local restockers.
Mr Nicholson added that many farmers were “frightened” that if they didn't buy they would not get them at all.
“People are thinking that they need to buy at least partial replacements now - just in case they can’t find them later on,” he said.
The top-priced pen of 210 1.5 year-old Border Leicester-Merino ewes, September-shorn, offered by Glen Creek Farm, was knocked down to Charles Stewart, Geelong, on a $212 bid.
The outstanding prices continued for a second-draft pen of 102 Border Leicester-Merinos, 1.5 year-olds and September-shorn from the Boatman family. The vendor’s first pen of 216 sold for $196.
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