Prices at the Ballarat first-cross ewe sale eased on higher prices gained at other selling centres, with one agent saying buyers who joined early having already bought the drafts they required.
Agents yarded 14,485 head of 1.5-year-old ewes, ewe lambs, composites and older sheep, topping at $490 a head.
Ewe lambs sold to a top of $294, averaging $204, while 1.5-year olds went for a top of $490, averaging $359.
Older ewes sold to $280, for an average of $225.
HF Richardson auctioneer James Haddrick said it had been a "tricky season", without heat, so the sheep had not 'bloomed'.
"All the same, they presented very, very well," Mr Haddrick said.
"The sale knocked on the door of $500, but there were plenty of ewes making in $470-480, on the top end drafts.
"As we progressed through the sale, the price seemed to stay in the high $300-mid $300's."
He said the market had "come off a little bit" since the earlier sales.
"The back end drafts were above expectations."
There was a lot of local support from local buyers.
TB White auctioneer Lachlan Shaw said over the last month, prices had come off the highs of the Bendigo sales, which reached $516/head.
"To get $490 today was a great result," Mr Shaw said.
Buyers, who had sold older ewes and second-cross lambs, were looking for replacements at $300-400/head.
"On previous years, they were probably a little bit lighter," Mr Shaw said
"But with the good autumn and a colder winter and cooler, milder, spring the sheep looked in great condition."
He said agents expected an easing of the prices.
"I think it is the early joining, people were looking to secure ewes for joining earlier and earlier - they are joining for an autumn lambing.
"There were fewer orders from places like Gippsland."
Nutrien Ballarat livestock manager Xavier Shanahan agreed earlier joining producers were paying more for ewes in spring.
"It was pretty solid, a lot of sheep made $370-420 and it kept up with that for quite some time," Mr Shanahan said.
"There were a few Hamilton agents here, but it was generally local and from the south-west."
Malmsbury prime-lamb producer Robert Hooppell said he'd be putting Poll Dorset rams over the 220 ewes he bought.
"It's been the best year for years, we haven't had a spring like this, since I don't know when," Mr Hooppell said.
He said he'd be joining the July-August 2020-drop ewes, by Moss Hill Border Leicester rams, out of large framed West Australian ewes, at the beginning of February.
Grigg Farming, Bungaree, sold 330 head, bred from Strathladen-blood Merino ewes from Black Gate rams for $380.
Eurambeen East sold 220 ewes, by Murdeduke Border Leicester rams out of ex-West Australian Merino ewes, for $402.
Pootilla Pastoral sold 244 northern-bred, June/July-drop ewes for $398.
They also sold 100 ewes for $380.
Gnadbro Pastoral Company sold 105 May/June-drop ewes, by Cadell Border Leicester rams out of ex-Riverina Merino ewes for $408.
They also sold another 280 ewes for $386/head.
CJ & JA Smith, Kinross, Skipton, sold 180 head of Rogers Border Leicester/ Staveley Park-cross ewes for $490/head.
They also sold 190 head for $445.
Rod Seers, Clearview Partners, Glengower, sold his first pen of 175 Rogers Border Leicester/Bromely Park ewes for $450.
Clearview sold 190 head for $448.
JW Cook sold 95 April 2020-drop ewes, by Rodvale Border Leicester rams, for $426.
Kennedy Farming sold 137 Hothorphe Grange Border Leicester/ Wurrook-blood August-September-drop ewes for $404.'
Woongara, Skipton, sold 121 Avolyn Border Leicester-blood October 2020-drop ewes for $365.
BA Herbertson sold 102 Tarrawatta Border Leicester-blood May-June 2020 drop ewes, for $422.
Minnetonka Farms, Mininera, sold 128 August/September-drop ewes for $342.
PV & GM Liston, Caranballac, sold 128 Jackson Border Leicester/Haddon Rig-blood ewes for $360.
Tarcombe Herefords sold 80 May/June drop ewes, by Womboota Super Border Leicester rams, out of Borambil Merino ewes, for $415.
KD & G Fagg sold 142 Black Gate-blood June/July-drop ewes for $372.
CA Impey sold 91 June/July-drop ewes, by Lynvale Border Leicester rams, for $442.
G & M Buttler sold 122 Jackson Border Leicester-blood July/August 2020 ewes for $442.
WW Coutts sold 58 Hobson Border Leicester-blood ewes for $190.
Wimmera Downs sold 127 April/May 2021-drop ewes for $294 and a second draft of 103 for $282.
P & B Bourchier sold 65 Jackson/Ellingerin-blood May 2021-drop ewes for $182.