MATURE age Merino ewe values reached $192 to head a strong market at the Primaries special sheep sale at Eneabba last Friday.
The buoyant sale marked a successful return to the Eneabba saleyards for the Primaries team after it revived the fixture last year following a break for a few years.
A number of vendors from last year again took the opportunity to market their surplus sheep at the sale and joined several new vendors, offering a total yarding of almost 7000 well-presented sheep.
The top yarding featured genuine lines and annual draft of ewes and wethers and reflected vendors’ shrewd breeding and favourable seasonal conditions in the northern Midlands and Mid West regions.
Proven 4.5 to 5.5-year-old ewes and maiden spring shorn ewes made up the majority of descriptions with 2.5 to 3.5yo spring shorn ewes, autumn shorn 1.5yo ewes and a couple of wether lines making up the balance of the yarding.
Under the control of Primaries auctioneer Rhys Hebberman, the sale posted a complete clearance to gross almost $1 million and average $145 across the yarding.
Young spring shorn ewes sold to $186 to average $162, mature 2.5 to 3.5yo spring shorn ewes topped at $192 to average $188 while 4.5 to 5.5yo spring shorn ewe values reached $178 to average $151.
Maiden autumn shorn ewes topped at $158 to average $130, spring shorn mature age first cross Afrino ewes reached $132 to average $131, while spring shorn wether lambs and 1.5yo wethers sold for $92 and $98 respectively.
Return vendors RG & DM Wilkinson, Challara stud, Badgingarra, offered several lines of mixed aged OJD vaccinated spring shorn ewes of their own Challara breeding which attracted a premium and headlined the sale’s top prices across most age groups.
The Wilkinson family topped the sale with a line of 159 3.5yo ewes selling to Craig Walker, Primaries Geraldton, representing return buyer Hamersley Fairfield, Walkaway, for $192.
Mr Walker went on to collect two further lines of ewes for Hamersley Fairfield, paying $172 and $168 for lines of 300 and 211 4.5yo October shorn Hill Padua blood ewes from CF Thomas & Co, Hill Padua MPM stud, Three Springs.
Mr Walker said they were targeting ewes suited to prime lamb production with stretch, frame, depth and fertility and would complement the Poll Dorset rams from the Levitt family’s Tipperary stud, Walkaway, that they will be joined to this mating season.
Terry Cockman, Tebco Fishing, Dongara, was another buyer to operate at the top of the market for Challara blood ewes.
His account included 527 September shorn 1.5.yo ewes in two drafts for $186 and 108 4.5yo September shorn ewes for $178 from RG & DM Wilkinson, the sale’s top price for these age groups.
The Cockman family also added 219 September shorn Challara blood 4.5yo ewes from G & N Wilkinson, Badgingarra.
The ewes will form the foundation of a new Merino flock to run in conjunction with the Cockman family’s sizeable Angus breeding herd and they will be joined to similar type, plain bodied white wool Merino rams in the forthcoming mating.
Mr Cockman said they were looking at buying a line of PTIC cows, but decided to build up a reasonably good sheep flock instead as ‘another string to their bow’ for their business.
He said the economics in sheep and wool were strong and he was excited about further growth in the industry, particularly with lamb products into China.
“We learnt with buying good cattle, when you buy inferior stuff, it takes a while to recover,” Mr Cockman said.
“The ewes have got long bodies and we have heard the fertility rates of the Challara sheep are high and they have come from a good home.”
Other RG & DM Wilkinson sales included the only line of 155 2.5yo ewes which sold for $184 to a Primaries Geraldton account; Jay McDonald, Primaries Perth, paid $180 for 204 1.5yo ewes while Grant Lupton, Landmark Wongan Hills, representing Matthew Lane, Wongan Hills, paid $152 for 77 5.5yo ewes.
Topping the 5.5yo market was CF Thomas & Co with 210 5.5yo October shorn Hill Padua blood ewes, selling to Barracks Pastoral Company for $156.
Challara genetics continued to sell well in the large offering of mature age September shorn ewes from GE & HL Lethlean, Badgingarra.
Mr Lupton, again for the Lane account, paid $168 for 257 4.5yo ewes and $142 for 251 5.5yo ewes from the Lethlean consignment.
Other higher prices recorded at the sale included IE & EM Teakle & Son, Northampton, selling 265 May shorn Rutherglen blood ewes to JR & JM Browne, Warradarge, for $158.
Regular vendor Heal Farming Pty Ltd, Eneabba, annual draft of young October shorn Willemenup blood ewes in the sale’s opening two pens, returned values of $152 for 325 ewes and $148 for 219 ewes, both purchased by a Primaries Geraldton account.
Two lines of wethers rounded out the sale with 395 September shorn Eungai blood wether lambs from JW White & Son, Badgingarra and 160 October shorn Challara blood 1.5yo wethers from Mallee Hills Farming, Carnamah, snapped up by fellow sale vendor Cadda Downs, Badgingarra, for $92 and $98 respectively.
Cadda Downs offered two decent sized lines of mature age first cross Afrino-Merino August shorn ewes at the sale with GB & G Nicoletti paying their $132 top price for 307 4.5yo ewes.