Sheep move from west to east

Sheep move in big numbers from west to east

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MOVEMENT: Sascha Squiers, with daughter Zarah, Quairading, WA, sold 600 Merino ewes to NSW for the first time ever.

MOVEMENT: Sascha Squiers, with daughter Zarah, Quairading, WA, sold 600 Merino ewes to NSW for the first time ever.

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Vast amounts of sheep are being sold from the west of the country to the east and the trend is showing no signs of slowing down.

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Vast amounts of sheep are being sold from the west of the country to the east and the trend is showing no signs of slowing down.

Since August last year, about 800,000 head were sold from Western Australia into the eastern states, the majority of them lambs.

In January, 27,050 head were sent east, another 212,550 in February and just over 274,000 sheep and lambs in March.

Nutrien livestock agent Richard Thomas, Nyngan, NSW, has helped local clients purchase an "unprecedented" amount of stock from WA.

"We're in something that we've never seen before, we're coming out of our worst drought and trying to build numbers up," he said.

"Farmers over here are looking for breeders and bigger lines of sheep, but also ewes in lamb as there's a quicker return there."

Sell sheep east

Quairading, WA, sheep farmer Sascha Squiers sold about 600 Merino ewe lambs across the country into NSW last week.

The lambs, which averaged 50 kilograms, made $265 a head.

Mr Squiers had only recently bought the ewes and had planned on keeping them himself but the drought had made that impossible.

"I bought these as an extra line of sheep, hoping for a good start, but we've just got a lack of feed, so I had to get rid of them," he said.

"Where we are, it's terrible, we had 30 millimetres [of rain] in early March but, otherwise no significant rain, just a couple of millimetres here or there.

"And that's pretty normal, we either get a lot of summer rain or none."

This was the first time Mr Squiers had sold sheep commercially to NSW, as they would normally go straight to slaughter.

He said the sheep would make good breeding ewes for their NSW buyers.

The third-generation farmer joins about 6500 ewes annually and said after selling off those lambs, he "should be right" moving forward.

Buy from west

The buyer of Mr Squiers' sheep was Michael Davis, Brewarrina, NSW, who had battled the driest year on record last year but was finally seeing some decent rain.

Since the start of February, his property has received 220mm of rain.

But when the drought was at its worst, Mr Davis had destocked dramatically.

"We normally lamb out about 5000 but we sold down and ended up with 2200 ewes left," he said.

He said it was a "lot less stressful" when the rain finally came in February, and things were "really good" now.

The next problem was trying to find affordable sheep to buy.

"Most people in the north and east of NSW have very low numbers, but we wanted to fill a hole with our young ewes given we had really bad lambings the last two years," he said.

He normally buys locally but buying from the west became the only option.

Mr Davis said the high prices were "definitely an issue".

"And it'll be a bigger issue down the track," he said.

"I think the current wool market and meat market doesn't justify the price of restocker sheep."

He needed to generate some income so decided to buy in.

"We tried to source young ones to make sure we get 2-3 years out of them," he said.

With the new sheep and other sheep he had managed to buy locally, Mr Davis was at capacity now, with about 3000 head in total.

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