The annual January Ballarat first-cross ewe sale has seen prices jump by $50 to $100 a head on last year, topping at $440.
Agents yarded 12,000 head of sheep in what Graeme Nicholson, Elders, said was the lightest January yarding he had seen in his time in the city.
"Sheep consistently made from $370-400 and back into the $320-330s as you got plainer lots," Mr Nicholson said.
"Quite a few vendors have sold early.
"The sheep were more forward and people are starting to want to join a bit earlier.
"There was a large contingent of ewe lambs that we normally sell in Ballarat that didn't come this year."
Grant Daniell, Charles Stewart & Co, said prices pushed well over $400.
"Right through to the first three-and-a-half lanes, there was nothing under $400," Mr Daniell said.
He said buyers were looking for mulesed, big-framed ewes.
"Anything with a bit of size, the Gippslanders were all over," he said.
He said buyers were seeking ewes that would suit bigger rams.
"We are getting more than $200 for fat [crossbred] ewes now, which probably haven't got many teeth left in their heads," he said.
"If you are paying $400, and getting $200, you are trading in for half price, which is fantastic; beforehand it was costing $300."
He said Charles Stewart did not have a big yarding.
"Because a lot of our fellas can't buy sheep, they have kept them on and are going to join themselves," he said.
Xavier Shanahan, Nutrien Ballarat, said prices were very similar to the December sale.
"Vendors were very happy and I think the purchasers were very happy too," Mr Shanahan said.
"A lot of the support was local, and South Gippsland was very strong on the top end.
"It looks like it has found a level and vendors and purchasers seem to be comfortable with where the money is now."
Tom Madden, TB White & Sons, said the best ewes sold to $440, with a lot of pens between $370 and $420.
"There were buyers from Gippsland, the western district, and our local client base," Mr Madden said.
He said prices were very similar to previous sales.
"The prices for this year have probably been $30 to $50 in advance of where they were last year," he said.
Cornhill Partnership sold 198 1.5-year-old ewes for $440.
EF Britt sold two pens of 118 and 171 ewes, by Enfield Border Leicester rams, each for $395.
Fraser Bros, Clunes, sold a pen of 137 June/July 2019-drop Ellingerrin-blood ewes for $425.
Their second draft of 188 ewes made $410.
Golden Grove sold 145 May/June 2019-drop ewes, out of Egalabra ewes, by Rettalack rams, for $410.
Spa Vale sold 145 May/June-2019 drop ewes, out of Wanganella-blood ewes, by Elarada rams, for $406.
CJ & JA Smith, Kinross, Skipton, sold a pen of 169 June/July 2019-drop ewes, that were by Glenn Rogers rams, for $412.
Monmore Pty Ltd sold 193 April/May 2019-drop ewes by Bayliss rams, for $378.
Smith Bros sold 366 May/June 2019-drop ewes for $359.
Have you signed up to Stock & Land's daily newsletter? Register below to make sure you are up to date with everything that's important to Victorian agriculture.