Buyers restocked with quality ewes at value for money at the Elders Corrigin and Wickepin circuit sheep sale last week.
This was the nutshell summary of the annual feature fixture, with buyers seizing the opportunity to restock their breeding flocks for the future with some of the best available drafts of young ewes available in WA and take advantage of the State's subdued sheep market.
The Elders team presented a combined yarding just shy of 9000 Merino ewes showing breeding and condition in line with the sale's adage as the 'Top of the Drop' circuit sheep sale.
Late winter and spring shorn annual drafts of 1.5-year-old ewes were in dominant numbers from well-known regular vendors and some new trading names from local and surrounding areas while there was a selection of mature age ewes available at both centres.
The combined yarding was up by 1531 head from last year's sale and attracted buying interest from most parts of the State's sheep growing regions and interstate.
After the final pen was sold at the second leg of the sale, the Elders selling team had cleared 84 per cent of the combined total for an overall average of $53, reflecting the current climate of the State's sheep industry and well down on the previous few years of buoyant sheep values.
The Corrigin saleyards hosted a yarding of 4514 ewes to kick off the first leg of the fixture with strong representation from the local Corrigin region and further afield to Brookton, Shackleton and Kondinin.
Winter shorn 1.5yo ewes were in strong numbers and sold to $67, autumn shorn 1.5yo ewes topped the Corrigin market at $70, while spring shorn 1.5yo ewes sold to $64.
In the mature age groups, autumn shorn 4.5yo ewes made $54, while spring shorn 3.5yo ewes sold to $40.
At the completion of selling, auctioneer and local Elders representative Steele Hathway had notched up a total clearance of the yarding for an overall average of $54.
The $70 top price at the Corrigin leg of the sale was recorded on two occasions for lines of 1.5yo April shorn Calcaling blood ewes from the Lee families.
Michael and Kerry Lee, M & K Lee, Bullaring, sold 235 ewes and Robert and Alyssa Lee, RJ & AB Lee, Pingelly, 227 ewes, with both lines purchased by Elders commercial sheep manager Wayne Peake handling a return South Coast order.
The leg's $67 second top price was recorded from the outset with the opening draft of 231 July shorn Claypans blood, 1.5yo ewes offered by RD & SM Crombie, Corrigin, knocked down to Westcoast Wool & Livestock, Kulin agent Barry Gangell, with the ewes heading across the Nullarbor to Deniliquin in the Riverina region of New South Wales.
Mr Gangell also collected two further local lines of 1.5yo ewes for the interstate order consisting of 341 ewes of the same age, shearing and breeding from AL & S Crossland, Corrigin, for $52 and 329 June shorn AMS Performance bred 1.5yo ewes from J Poultney & Co, Corrigin, for $57.
Mr Gangell said the buyer knew WA sheep well, having purchased in the past and the ewes would go into prime lamb production.
The sale's dominant buyer was Boddington restocker Len Little, LJ & KD Little, assisted by Elders Williams agent Graeme Alexander who purchased a total of 1587 1.5yo and 4.5yo ewes.
Mr Little paid to $64 for 263 September shorn Rutherglen/San-Mateo blood 1.5yo ewes from RJ & CM Guinness, Corrigin, and the large draft of 650 August shorn Woodyarrup/Rutherglen blood 1.5yo ewes from the Doyle family, Wylivere Farms, Corrigin, for $60.
He also collected the Guinness family's draft of 385 4.5yo ewes and bid $54 for 289 March shorn Woolkabin blood 4.5yo ewes from Spring Gully Pastoral, Brookton.
Mr Little said it was an opportunity to restock with quality ewes at value, allowing him to turn off an older age group of ewes.
The ewes will be joined to White Suffolk rams to lamb from May.
Another volume buyer was Neil McLean, NG & MG McLean, Wogolin, with four lines totalling 683 mainly late winter/spring shorn maiden ewes, while Elders Merredin representative Emma Dougall, representing a Gabbin grazier who is increasing sheep numbers with the good buying, collected two lines of young ewes from the Corrigin region.
Buyers and agents hit the road following the Corrigin sale and made their way to the Wickepin saleyards for the second leg of the circuit fixture.
Awaiting them was an increased yarding of 4395 ewes from last year, coming in from the local Wickepin and surrounding areas and a number of drafts from the Lakes district of Newdegate and Dunn Rock.
Similar to Corrigin, annual drafts of late winter and spring shorn maiden ewes made up the majority of the descriptions on offer, with a few lines of 2.5-3.5yo ewes rounding out the sale.
Elders auctioneer and State livestock and wool manager Dean Hubbard toiled away with the modest buying support in attendance to record an average of $52 across the yarding.
Unfortunately some larger lines of young ewes had to be passed-in.
Restockers still in the market for quality young breeding ewes for the forthcoming mating are encouraged to get in touch with the Elders selling team to check the availability of these ewes.
Winter shorn 1.5yo ewes recorded the sale's $77 overall top price for both legs, autumn shorn 1.5yo ewes fell a bid short of top price to sell to $76 while spring shorn drafts found the going tougher, selling to $45 for maidens and to $40 for 2.5-3.5yo ewes.
The sale's $77 top price was entered into the clerking sheets from the outset with an opening line of 218 July shorn, Rutherglen blood, 1.5yo ewes offered by LJ & O Dawes, Rutherglen stud, Yealering, knocked down to Elders Narrogin agent Paul Keppel on behalf of a regular Narrogin buyer.
Mr Keppel collected a further three pens for orders, including the $76 second top-priced draft of 325 March shorn Nepowie blood 1.5yo ewes offered by McDougall Brothers, Tincurrin, and 283 August shorn Nepowie blood 1.5yo ewes from SK & TR Angwin, Cancanning, for a Pingelly account.
Mr Peake added three drafts of maiden ewes and a line of 2.5-3.5yo ewes to his South Coast order bidding to a $65 top price for 278 Nepowie/Wiringa Park blood April shorn 1.5yo ewes from the paddocks of BE Pauley & Co, Wickepin.
An Elders Esperance account paid $52 for 298 August shorn Keetlen Valley blood 1.5yo ewes from RG & KR Newman, Newdegate while Elders Lake Grace/Dumbleyung agent Graeme Taylor sourced two smaller lines of late winter and spring shorn young ewes for $45.
Elders auctioneer and Corrigin representative Steele Hathway said it was an outstanding line-up of ewes and a complete clearance made for a successful result.
"The presentation of the ewes was a credit to the vendors and I don't think I've seen a better yarding penned up here," Mr Hathway said.
"Vendors were expecting reduced pricing on previous years and were happy with the clearance.
"I received great support from vendors which made the sale run a lot smoother and I thank them for entrusting Elders to sell their stock.
"There were adequate buyers at the sale to cover the ewes and I appreciated the support.
"We sold sheep to the northern and eastern Wheatbelt and Great Southern - along with the Eastern States, which was pleasing to see.
"It was a great opportunity to buy quality young ewes with their whole lives in front of them and we look forward to an upturn in the near future."
Elders Narrogin agent Paul Keppel said it was an excellent yarding of ewes and a fantastic opportunity to buy quality sheep which will go a long way to impact flocks.
"Thank you to our vendors for the presentation of the stock, each year it's a quality yarding presented in exceptional condition," Mr Keppel said.
"It was a great effort from the carriers to have the majority of the sheep in the afternoon before the sale and from the Elders staff.
"Our vendors and us as agents, we did everything we possibly could to present the sheep well and market them accordingly.
"Thank you to the buyers who supported the sale.
"Values were in line with our expectations, but it was disappointing we fell short of competition and had to pass a couple of lines in."
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