NOT exactly coffin-cheaters, but 4.5yo ewes fetched the $23.40 top price at a ripper Narngulu sale last week. Every one of the 5300-head offering at the buoyant Wesfarmers Dalgety special ewe sale was sold to great demand from graziers and the trade alike. Wesfarmers Dalgety's Ron Summers was up from Midland on the lookout for ewes. "Considering the freight cost, prices here were better than Midland. It was a very strong sale ‹ up to $8 to $10 better than last year and that was a good sale," he said. Wesfarmers Dalgety Geraldton manager Craig Williamson agreed. "It was stronger than expected," he said. And in his first auction for about four years, Garry Harrison did a tremendous job on the rail, his effort (despite the 'flu) laced with plenty of humour and "help" from mates in the lanes. All attributed the great demand to competition by Fletcher International's Nigel Hawke and Geraldton Meat Exports' Nick Bailye ‹ plus grazier participation, with farmers chasing sheep to circuit-break the chemical regime on their cropping paddocks. The $23.40 top price was paid for 212 purple tag April shown ewes consigned by KE & NE Powell, Binnu. The buyer was Glenn Tapscott, Koolawa, East Morawa, who bought a total of 750 ewes on the day. Glenn will join about 1200 ewes this season, putting South Suffolks across them. He also plans to run a small mob of finer-woolled ewes. "We're dropping back on cropping because of minute margins," he said. The sale opened with GV & EB Cannon's 357 3.5yo September shorn ewes from Naraling, which were bought at $22.80 by Derek Levett, Walkaway (who also bought Poll Dorset rams from Lockier River at the meat breed ram sale after the ewes were sold). Fletcher's Nigel Hawke opened the company account on 221 Yuin station 3.5yo September shorn ewes at $16.80, also buying 158 2.5yo September shorn ewes from Moascar Grazing at $17.40. He then topped up with 67 1.5yo Texel-Merino September shorn ewes at $17.80, 41 one to 1.5yo August shorn Merino ewes at $18, 15 1yo ewes at $18 and 34 1.5yo August shorn ewes at $19. With lambs just off them, 258 of the Cannons' 4.5 to 5.5yo ewes were bought at $20.20 by Adamus, Geraldton, with Wesfarmers Dalgety's Trevor Smythe buying on their behalf. Adamus also bought 238 4.5yo September shorn ewes at $20 from BS Hebiton & Co, Mullewa, 235 2.5yo September shorn ewes from Yuin at $17.80 and 202 ewe lambs at $14 from PJ & PJ Batten, Yuna. Northampton's Box brothers from Dowellen sold 140 4.5yo September shorn ewes for $20.40 with Lawson Nominees the buyers. Lawsons also bought 224 magnificent big 5.5yo July shorn matrons from Outfield Holdings, Yuna and 210 5.5yo September shorn ewes at $17 from Yuin. GME's Nick Bailye started buying on Yuin ewes ‹ 146 4.5yos ‹ at $16.80, followed by 257 6.5yo July shorn ewes from DA & DE Green, Eradu, at $21.80. Dongara's T Bannister bought 220 1.5yo Yuin ewes at $20.40. Robert Kupsch, representing S & DM Kupsch, Trevose, Nabawa, was on hand to see 206 6.5yo August shorn ewes go GME's way at $19.40. Nick Bailye also bought 142 CFA April shorn ewes from Yumbuna Farming Co, Northampton, at $15.40. Yumbuna also sold 151 2.5 to 3.5yo ewes at $20.20 to Glenn Tapscott, who also bought a small line of 78 mixed age April shorn ewes at $23.20, account Starling. Down to Narngulu from Northampton, TJ & D Nairn consigned 208 4.5yo August shorn ewes, bought at $21 by Ken Allen, Moonyoonooka. The Box brothers also sold a decent line of 249 5.5yo ewes at $20.20 to BW & MJ Bridgeman, while LP Cooper & Co, Rose Cottage, Nabawa, sold 219 5.5yo September shorn ewes at $21 to D Patten.