Shortened spring store sheep season now likely

Short store sheep selling season looks on the cards


Sheep sellers and buyers have much to ponder as spring sales approach.


The sheep trading landscape from the NSW Riverina to south-west Victoria and Tasmania is in transition.

In the north, the dry conditions continue to restrict sheep numbers and the prospects of yardings, while in the south, wet and cold conditions are limiting interest in buying sheep until conditions improve.

The traditional spring sheep sales in the Riverina and northern Victoria are booked but numbers are difficult to measure.

Weather and feed are playing on the minds of agents and producers across all areas as attention turns to the availability and price of sheep in the coming spring selling period.

Already the word around the industry is that stock numbers are short and the selling season may also be short-lived.

Meanwhile Victorian buyers continue to purchase stock on AuctionsPlus.

At Hay, NSW, agents are preparing to yard 30,000 to 35,000 sheep at its annual September sale.

Elders branch manager Trevor Basset, Hay, said sheep coming forward were in very good condition after an early break in the region and the availability of short, but "hard" feed.

"We don't know about future sales at Hay so buyers should have a crack this month if they want numbers," he said.

"If the season is okay then producers here will hang onto the sheep they've got."

Driscoll, McIllree & Dickinson livestock specialist Andrew McIllree, Nhill, said agents would pen around 8000 at its annual store sheep sale in October.

Mr McIllree said the country "couldn't look better".

He said there was still some selective buying of sheep and lambs out of the dry country, but the store crossbred lambs were "dear enough".

Rodwells manager Damien Harrington, Stawell, said locals had taken the opportunity to buy scanned-in-lamb ewes earlier that had now lambed down.

Mr Harrington said they were now starting to look for replacement young ewes to buy.

Kerr & Co livestock marketing consultant Andrew Gunn, Hamilton, said it had been the harshest autumn he had seen in 33 years.

Mr Gunn said the majority of stock had done it tough and the season remained wet with no grass growth.

He said local producers were "hanging on" with little movement of store stock in or out.

Livestock Consulting Victoria livestock specialist Neil Hammond, Bannockburn, said it was too early, and wet, for any buying of store sheep.

Mr Hammond said there would still be demand for store lambs later, but there might not be the numbers available.

He said finishers might consider buying lighter sucker lambs at a lower buy-price later in the spring.

Richards Livestock principal Ian Richards, Launceston, Tas, said mutton and lambs had been flowing out of Tasmania at a great rate.

Mr Richards said the season was wet in the north-west, but poor on the east coast, while the midlands was "battling" on the edge.


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