The strong lamb and mutton markets were the catalyst for a strong first-cross ewe market at Ballarat.
Compared with the 2018 sale, prices were $30 to $80 a head dearer this year with 1.5 year-old ewes topping at $375.
The majority of the 1.5 year-olds sold above $300, and mainly in a band of $308 to $330.
The real strength of the market was reflected in the prices received for second and third drafts and secondary sheep where buyers dipped into their pockets to pay $280 to $320.
Top price in the 1.5 year-old ewes was a line of 120 sold by Rural Property Management, Evansford.
These were May 2018-drop, October-shorn, by Retallack rams, and went to Elders Avoca.
Among the lines to make $368 was Rod Seers of Clearview Partners, Glengower, with 120 April/May 2018-drop ewes, November-shorn, by Rodvale rams.
The Clearview ewe lambs later sold to a top of $246 for a pen of 76.
Deebys Way, Bamganie, also received $368 for a line of 150, July/August 2018-drop, October-shorn, by Ellingerrin rams.
The same vendor's second run of 251 made $330.
Murray Cooke, Clunes, on behalf of JW Cooke and Sons, sold 112 April 2018-drop ewes, by Rodvale rams, that made $366.
Next best was $365 for a pen of 108 sold by B Herbertson.
These were May/June 2018-drop, November-shorn.
A line of 104 ewes, September-shorn, sold by A Lang & Son, sold for $345.
Of the ewe lambs offered, the highest price was $268 for a pen of 108 sold by M & A Hull, Dunach.
The seconds from the draft made $260 and the thirds $200.
The lambs were April/May-drop, October-shorn and by Ellingerrin rams.
W & W Coutts sold ewe lambs with the top 79 selling for $232 and the seconds for $182.
Spring Grove Partners had 1345 lambs that sold for $222.
Dallwater sold 62 at $200, and Three Sisters sold 145 at $188.
Mt Hesse, Winchelsea, forwarded its annual draft of lambs with 1641 penned.
These were July/August 2019-drop, November-shorn, by Ellingerrin rams.
The top line of 249 sold for $205 and the entire draft averaged $179.
Feature of the older ewe offering was a consignment from Twin Eagles Pty Ltd, whose two year-old first-cross ewes, October-shorn, sold for $278 for 92.
Two lines of its four year-old ewes, October-shorn, were knocked down at $240 and $235.
TB White & Sons auctioneer Tom Madden said nearly 14,000 ewes were yarded.
Mr Madden said the line-up of stock were well presented after a good spring.
He said the top pen at $375 were local breeders' sheep.
"Most 1.5 year-old sheep made $300 and above," he said.
"We were happy with the top end prices but equally happy with the bottom end prices."
He said there were lighter sheep that made $280 to $320 depending on breeding and genetics.
Older ewes sold extremely well as well with four year-old ewes averaging up to around $240.
Mr Madden said buyers came from as far as south-east SA, but local clients were strong across the board.