Young Merino ewes were sold to a sizzling $274 a head at the Hay annual September breeders’ sheep sale on Friday where numbers offered on the day were clipped to 30,000 due to wet conditions in western NSW.
A spirited crowd estimated at 700 attended and bidding although slow starting at times it was discerning, with 20 lots surpassing $200 a head, including four sales that soared over $250.
The sale was conducted in ideal conditions on a perfect Riverina spring day, with successful buyers traveling from Bendigo, Swan Hill, Ballarat, Echuca, Yarrawonga and Kerang in Victoria and Deniliquin, Griffith, Narrandera, Corowa and Forbes across NSW with Hay district interest also particularly high.
Good support was also offered by meat processors however with grazing conditions buoyed across such a broad area very few lots were captured for slaughter.
David and Barbara Butcher, Mossgiel, NSW, were the most successful vendor. They sold Woodpark Poll-blood Bronte 15-drop young ewes, August-shorn at the market top of $274. Their Toms Lake-blood Bronte four year-old ewes made $181.
Caroonboon Merino Stud was another feature sale selling its Caroonboon blood and bred young ewes, April shorn at $272.
Mark Newnham, Elders, said the sale’s top lines of young ewes made prices that had only been dreamt of.
“It was a pleasing result, especially as the bulk of the young ewes made values that were expected in the $180- $220 per head range”, Mr Newnham said.
The pens for older four to six year-old ewes were also on the money, selling at $120-$180.
“There was a lot of repeat buying of older ewes which is a credit their longevity and performance over time.”
Hay Merino Breeders president Graham Morphett called the sale a “ripper”.
“Merinos are back in business,” he said.
“There were a lot of drafts that would average $200 a head or better, which is an excellent result by all measures. Buyers had to buy the potential of ewes going forward, whereas in the past, they have only needed to buy on the condition of what they saw before them.”
Sales of Merino wethers were also outstanding. The best priced Waiko, Ivanhoe, NSW, 16-drop lambs, Alma blood made $112. Most other unshorn lambs made $90-$105. A line of unshorn White Suffolk-cross made $118 and $134.