A new record for a top-priced pen of ewes at Casterton has injected a shot of confidence into the community.
The record for the top-priced pen of Tandara ewes which sold for $354 a head was set during the annual Landmark Casterton store sheep and lamb sale on December 30 last month.
Landmark Casterton livestock manager Greg Bright said the new record highlighted the need for the Casterton saleyards to keep being used, despite a push to have some sales shifted to Hamilton.
"It's massive for our town because our yards have been under pressure for many years ... and people are saying we should send them to Hamilton," Mr Bright said.
"But we still have one of the very few store sales in the western district of Victoria at a time when there's no other sales on and we think it's very important for our town to keep our saleyards going."
He said the ewes presented well and showcased locally-bred and locally-sourced store sheep.
The two lots of the Tandara Border Leicester/Merino-cross ewes sold for $354, including a pen of 122 and a second pen of 120, to an account of LMB Livestock Pty Ltd.
"The sheep sale was fantastic," Mr Bright said.
"The better presented and young ewes sold extremely well and then Tandara topped it again in the composite ewes with $328."
The annual sale offered about 8500 head for sale with most of the sheep bought set to remain in the Casterton district.
"All our young sheep sold extremely well, our middle-aged ewes I thought were okay without being over the top and our lamb job was on a par with where we thought it was going to be," Mr Bright said.
"We had Hillview with some first Border Leicester/Merino-crosses which made $300 and Elmvale's composites made $304 and those sort of blokes breed sheep for this sale every year, year-in, year-out."
Mr Bright said strong prices for red meat in western Victoria were a promising sign of where the market would go in the months to follow.
"It shows how much confidence there is in the sheep and lamb job and the red meat industry more generally," Mr Bright said.
"These sales we've had with the sheep and cattle in recent weeks, we didn't think we were going to get anywhere near what we're getting now with the drought and fires.
"We thought we were going to be in trouble but they've far exceeded what we expected so there's a lot of confidence around at the moment."