Despite widespread soaking rain across Victoria in the hours before, demand for crossbred young ewes remained steady on recent reduced rates at Ballarat on Friday.
Prices for the best-grown lots of 1.5 year-olds ranged from $280 a head to a top of $310, while a large bunch of second and third-run drafts recorded sales in the $240 to $275 range before sales eased into a lower $160-$210 price bracket for the smaller-grown one year-olds.
The market toppers were a yard of 130 ex Bromley Park Merino ewes by Rodborough Border Leicester rams.
These April/May 2017-drop and November-shorn young ewes were bred by Rod and Jodie Seers, Clearview Partners, Glengower, while Mingawalla, Cressy, sold a June/July 2017-drop pen of 121, October-shorn, at $290.
Charles Stewart & Co auctioneer Jame McConachy said it was highly evident that very little of the buying support came from north of the saleyards.
“It was very much local buying, with support from the Western District, East and South Gippsland, plus Tasmania,” Mr McConachy said.
It was also the first store sheep sale sold under its massive 7.5-acre Central Victoria Livestock Exchange roof.
Buyers were very particular for lines that were vaccinated (with Gudair).
Mulesing, it seemed, wasn’t the issue it once was but the larger lines were difficult to shift in one hammer as buyers took what they wanted and no more, Mr McConachy said.
Other young ewe lots to sell well included Bendemeer, with a pen of 141 May/June 2017-drop, that were October-shorn.
These sold for $285, the same value achieved by Schultz Pastoral on a June/July 2017-drop line of 97, that was also October-shorn.
Mr McConachy said the quality of the yarding wasn’t overly impressive but resultant prices tended to hit par (for quality) for a good way through the market.
“It took only four pens to see prices drift back to a level of $280 a head but for the next 90 or so pens a reasonably tight range of $240 to $275 [was reached] on a lot of sheep, regardless of the pen size or the strength and growth of the ewes,” he said.
The sale included a good number of mature breeding ewes.
The highest-priced was a yard of 2.5 year-olds, sold at $291, while most other 2016-drops made $176-$222.
Tim and Helen Russell, in a dispersal of their Wickliffe-based flock (property sold), received $291, after a bidding dual lasting $80, while their year-older 2015-drop ewes, also by Jackson’s Superborder rams, made $205.
The best pens of 2018-drop ewe lambs made $192-$230, while smaller-grown ewe lambs made $140-$170.
The Stewart family, Wimmera Down, Greens Creek, collected the top ewe lamb money at $230.