THE final off-shears sale for the year last Thursday, was the second annual on-property sale run in conjunction by Elders and Primaries on behalf of Nick Outhwaite and family's Burrandong Pastoral Co at the property's Eight Mile yards south of Kojonup.
Hailed last year as the largest single vendor sale of commercial Merino sheep, with 8305 head offered and sold, Mr Outhwaite increased his offering this year to 10,181 head all of which were MPM breeding ewes and wethers and the overall sale was boosted to 11,689 head with three other invited MPM breeders offering a total of 1508 ewes.
Understandably a sale of this magnitude attracts a very large crowd but as at most off-shears sales this season, buyer registrations were down on last year.
To basically sum it up, buyers requiring replacement breeding ewes were keen to purchase the younger ewes but only to a price in line commensurate with current values for trade sheep, prime lambs or shipping wethers.
Where at last year's sale there was also strong demand for the older ewes, this year there was little breeder demand for anything of 5.5 years and a number of these and CFA ewes went to the trade.
Of the wether weaners there was no trade interest this year with the bulk of the 13 lines totalling 4747 head going without much competition to the two live export buyers present.
All the sheep were spring shorn, with those of Burrandong blood just a few weeks off-shears.
The sale opened with Primaries auctioneer Jeff Lynn offering the first of four lines of 1.5-year-olds. The pen of 222 head of Burrandong ewes saw spirited bidding before it was knocked down at $69.50 to Landmark Williams agent Ben Kealy on behalf of an undisclosed client.
The next line of 242 head appeared good buying at just $60.50 paid by Ian Ryan, JC & LW Ryan & Sons, Manjimup who went on to buy the next line of 198 head at $64.50. Both lines were offered by Burrandong.
The final line of 1.5yo came from DJ & YC Hancock, Borden and their 158 head sold at $66, with these also going to the Ryan family.
It was then on to just the one line of 2.5yo ewes, the 298 head saw a number of interested parties bidding and at $73, the top price of the sale, they were knocked down to Allan Pearce, Landmark Albany, who was bidding on behalf of Ross Pike, Crystal Brook Vineyard, Narrikup.
The losing bidder on this line was Nathan Blake, a client of Robbie Williams, Primaries Denmark, who was the buyer of the top-priced line of 2.5 yo ewes at last year's sale at $155.
For this year's buyer, Ross Pike, it was his first move into sheep and he was recommended to the sale by Landmark Albany's Bob Pumphrey, knowing the ewes would be most suitable to the Narrikup and Mt Barker properties Mr Pike owns.
The one line of 3.5yo offered totalling 242 head, was also knocked down to Landmark's Allan Pearce at $62, this line bought on behalf of his client Tom Collins, TS Collins, Napier.
Next came the first of three lines being offered on behalf of Dean and Mostyn Trotter, Perillup Estate, Perillup.
Their 451 head of 3.5yo sold at $53.50 to Elders Jerramungup representative David Halleen, account Cullan SAMMs, Jerramungup.
The three lines of 4.5yo firstly saw 117 head of Burrandong breeding go at $48.50 to Dean Wallinger, Elders Mt Barker, account LM Rowland, Denmark.
Next came 203 head offered by Elders auctioneer Dennis Roberts on behalf of JE & AK Peppall, the 203 head being October shorn and again at $48.50 these went to Gino Vigolo, Primaries, Leeman.
The second line from Perillup Estate of 324 head of 4.5yo, became the third top price of the sale when, after a lengthy bidding dual, Elders' David Halleen won out at $68.50 on account of AC & DC Welding, Boddington.
The two lines of 5.5yo from Burrandong, one of 171 head at $41, the other of 193 head at $35.50, went to VC Pascoe & Co, Red Hills.
Next offered were nine lines of 6.5yo ewes, in total 2032 head.
Interest in this age group was very limited with a top of $40.50 paid for the first line of 350 head, with these bought by Elders' Michael Forward, account Elders Esperance.
Another three lines, totalling nearly 640 head, sold from $32 to $35.50 also to Mr Forward this time account Elders Merredin.
Primaries Livestock manager and local agent Peter Sheridan picked up four lines of 772 head in total, account an undisclosed client at $35 and $40 followed on by 192 CFA ewes at $32.
The other line of 261 head of 6.5yo at $27 and another of 317 CFA at $30, both went to Wellard Rural.
Later in the sale a small line of 125 young 1.5yo ewes sold at $37.50 to a Boyup Brook concern and these were followed by three lines of ewe lambs totalling 754 head, which sold from $31 to $37.50, all going to Marshlands Farm Pty Ltd, Pingelly.
It was again a very impressive line up of 4747 June/July-drop November shorn wether weaners offered in 13 lines based on weights from Burrandong Pastoral.
Perhaps just the one aspect not in their favour was the nearly 40mm of rain all the sheep had to sustain over the last three weeks.
With all the weaners having been individually weighed just before the sale, all but the last two lines indicated both the minimum average weight of each line.
The first line offered by Elders with Dennis Roberts as auctioneer, was of 300 head with a minimum weight of 40kg and average 43.5kg and just a few bids saw these go to Livestock Shipping Service (LSS) at $60.
The next two lines of same weights and of 367 and 414 head respectively, went to LSS at $61, the top price for the wether weaners on the day.
Coming back to weights of 35kg minimum and 37kg average, saw Wellard Rural take over the buying of the next six lines totalling 1974 head and paying from a low of $48 to a top of $55.
The next two lines totalling 800 head and still of the same weight ranges, went at $45 to Nigel Hawke, Elders Albany.
Wellard Rural came back in on the next line of 416 head at $43 and the final draft of 485 head went at $39 to Wibi Pastoral, Kojonup.
Finally two lines of older wethers were offered, one of 221 head of 5.5yo went at $57 to LSS and the 110 mixed age went to Wellard Rural at $62.
At the conclusion off the main auction Dennis Roberts offered six prime Burrandong wether weaners to be processed, portioned and packaged, these donated by the Outhwaite family with proceeds going to the Glenn McGrath Foundation
There was good support for all six individually sold and raising $1120 for the Foundation, the highest price of $195 paid by Kojonup local, David Jannings.
Speaking on the overall sale, Nick Outhwaite said it was very pleasing to see return clients from last year's sale along with a good number of first time buyers.
Commenting on the result, he said he was well aware where the current market was in relation to off-shears surplus sales and trade and live export values.
"Given the turnaround in the last 12 months in all these markets where most values are currently about half or less than around this time last year, one has to ask what is both the short and long term outlook for the sheep industry in WA," he said.