An opportunity knocked to buy quality Wheatbelt breeding ewes at values not seen in a long time at last week's Nutrien Livestock Corrigin and Wickepin Ewe and Wether Sale and some producers jumped at the chance to a top of $100.
With the sheep market back a considerable amount on this time last year and the threat of the live export by sea being phased-out in coming years, this year's sale didn't see the same atmosphere and bidding competition as years gone by.
However realistic vendor expectations and support from long-term buyers saw the sale achieve a more than satisfactory outcome given the current market conditions.
Across the two locations there were 11,191 ewes and wether lambs yarded, which was up by about 1650 head on last year and quality like in years gone by couldn't be questioned.
Under the control of Nutrien Livestock auctioneer Mark Warren and backed by the company's strong network, the sale recorded a total clearance at an overall average of $55, which was well back on the $183 achieved last year, highlighting just where the confidence is in the sheep industry at present.
Descriptions at the two venues were dominated by 1.5-year-old ewes to 5.5yo ewes which included a flock dispersal for the Hodgson family, Jefan, Kulin.
Broken down 10,163 ewes sold for an overall average of $56, while 1028 wether lambs sold to an average of $48.
Last year 8576 ewes sold for an average of $191 and 964 wether lambs averaged $112.
The significant drop in prices was expected given the current position of the sheep market where producers are seeing most sheep prices 70 per cent lower than the same time last year.
The first leg of the sale kicked off at the Corrigin saleyards and a good crowd was in attendance, but unfortunately not everyone was there to buy and those who were looking to buy weren't prepared to pay to the levels they had done in previous years.
Buyers were presented with an excellent offering of 4610 maiden and proven breeding ewes as well as 1028 well-grown, August shorn wether lambs.
At the completion of selling, Mr Warren had cleared all the ewes at an average of $57 and to a top of $93 and the wether lambs for a $48 average and a top of $50.
Broken down in the ewe offering 2573 1.5yo ewes sold for an average of $53 while 2037 mature ewes (2.5yo, 4.5yo and 5.5yo) averaged $57.
The $93 ewe top price was achieved twice, for the first two lines offered in the sale as part of the Hodgson family's Jefan flock dispersal.
The first sold at $93 contained 390 2.5yo ewes and was purchased by Westcoast Wool & Livestock, York agent Mark Fairclough, who bought the ewes for LJ & JK & BJ Fairclough, York, while the second line to make $93 contained 348 2.5yo ewes and went to Snow & Co, Wickepin.
Both lines of ewes were based on Eastville bloodlines, March shorn and had achieved a 100pc lambing this year.
When it came to the 1.5yo ewe lines which dominated the yarding, it was a couple of lines of July shorn, Ronern blood maiden ewes from return vendor the Thomas family, RE Thomas & Co, Bullaring, which achieved the top couple of prices.
The first line of 280 ewes offered by the Thomas family sold at $84, while its second line also containing 280 ewes, made $83 when both were knocked to Mr Fairclough, who this time was buying for Tristan O'Brien, Northam.
The Hewett family, Chas Hewett & Co, Corrigin, was back again with its regular offering of August shorn, Claypans blood, 1.5yo ewes.
The Hewett's first draft of 413 head sold at $82 to Nutrien Livestock, York agent Denis Warnick, who purchased them for two different buyers, while its second line of 285 ewes made $60 selling to Abban Farms, Karlgarin.
Other lines of 1.5yo ewes to make $50 or more included 205 Barloo blood, July shorn ewes from Peter Bailey Partners, Narembeen, which sold at $51 to Altek Farms, Merredin and 247 August shorn, Rutherglen blood ewes from AM & MA Guinness, Quairading, that sold at $50 to Mr Fairclough, who this time purchased for EW Richards, Quairading.
The best returns for the other older lines outside Jefan's dispersal drafts were $55 paid by NG & MG McLean, Wickepin, for 329 March shorn, Woolkabin blood 2.5yo ewes offered by Cousins Farming, Bulyee, while the Guiness family, AM & MA Guiness, sold 309 September shorn, Rutherglen blood 4.5yo ewes for $34 to SR & JE Noble, Kulin, which purchased through Nutrien Livestock, Wickepin/Kulin/Corrigin agent Ty Miller.
Mr Miller also picked up a line of 446 August shorn, Kamballie blood, 5.5yo ewes from BW & CM Nicholls, Corrigin, for the Nobles at $31.
Three lines of August shorn wether lambs from two different vendors rounded out the offering at Corrigin.
Achieving the $50 top price in these pens was a draft of 357 April/May-drop, Claypans blood wethers from NB & DL Talbot, Corrigin, when it sold to the Ellis family, PJ Ellis & Co, Kulin.
The other two lines offered were May/June-drop wethers based on Ronern bloodlines offered by RE Thomas & Co and they both sold to Nutrien Livestock, Gnowangerup representative Darren Robertson.
Mr Robertson went to $48 for a line of 336 and $45 for a draft of 335 head.
The sale rounded out with the Wickepin leg where just ewes were offered and the biggest percentage of the Jefan dispersal went under the hammer.
The travelling entourage of Nutrien Livestock agents and buyers joined another good crowd of locals at the Wickepin saleyards to continue the sale and see another 100pc clearance plus the day's $100 top price achieved.
In this leg Mr Miller with the support of regular vendors yarded 5553 well-bred and conditioned ewes and they all sold for an average of $55.
Broken down the yarding consisted of 2665 1.5yo ewes which sold to an average of $68, which was back from $216 last year, while the proven breeders ranging from 2.5yo to 5.5yo averaged $42.
Topping the Wickepin leg and the sale overall at $100 was a line of 437 March shorn, Eastville blood 1.5yo ewes which were part of the Hodgson family's, Jefan flock dispersal, who has topped the sale for the past two years.
The line was purchased by Westcoast Wool & Livestock, Corrigin agent Phil Barber.
Mr Barber also purchased the day's second top price pen at $96 which was a line of 459 1.5yo ewes from Jefan which were the same description as the top-priced line.
A third line of 466 1.5yo March shorn, Eastville blood ewes from Jefan sold at $81 to Cluett & Son, Mt Barker.
Also in the first four pens offered in the sale by Jefan was a draft of 202 March shorn, Eastville blood 2.5yo ewes and it sold at $90 to Snow & Co.
There were two other drafts of 1.5yo ewes to sell at more than $50 in the offering.
Wickepin-based Fleay & Fleay sold 375 July shorn, Eastville blood 1.5yo ewes for $52 to The York Trust, Munglinup, which also purchased 239 March shorn, Eastville Park blood, 1.5yo ewes from AR Duckworth & Co, Jitarning, at $47.
After purchasing one of the Jefan dispersal lines, Cluett & Son secured 297 July shorn, East Mundalla blood, 1.5yo ewes from EI & SM Astbury, Harrismith, for $51.
In the proven breeding ewes Nutrien Livestock, Gnowangerup agent Darren Roberston, was a significant buyer.
Mr Robertson bid $72 for 313 September shorn, Nepowie blood, 3.5yo ewes offered by Erinbrook Estate, Wickepin and $53 for 625 Moojepin blood, September shorn 3.5yo ewes offered by Marwonga Nominees, Popanyanning.
In the offering of 4.5yo and 5.5yo ewes, the prices ranged from $20 to $30 for ewes which were all August or September shorn.
The line which sold for $30 contained 402 August shorn, Eastville blood, 4.5yo ewes offered by Fleay & Fleay and it was purchased by Mr Miller for the Nobles.
A large line of 584 September shorn, Ronern blood ewes from PL & JA Russell, Wickepin, sold at $26 to two different buyers - Mr Robertson took half the line while the other half was knocked down to Nutrien Livestock, Williams agent Ben Kealy.
Mr Kealy also bid $20 for 247 5.5yo September shorn, Rutherglen blood ewes from Ngaree Farms, Wickepin, which had earlier seen Mr Kealy pay $49 for its line of 231 September shorn 1.5yo ewes.
WHAT THE AGENT SAID:
Nutrien Livestock, Wickepin, Kulin and Corrigin agent Ty Miller said a 100 per cent clearance and vendors with realistic expectations of the current sheep market resulted in a successful sale.
"The dispersal lines of 1.5yo and 2.5yo ewes from Jefan, east Kulin, created a lot of interest and gave buyers an opportunity to purchase some big framed Wheatbelt ewes, as is the norm at the Nutrien Livestock Corrigin/Wickepin sales," Mr Miller said.
"Repeat vendors presented their sheep in excellent condition as always and while they weren't rewarded as well as they have been in recent years, they will all be there again next year with a more positive sheep market expected in the medium to long-term.
"I would like to thank all vendors for continuing to support the sales and also all the registered bidders for again coming to Corrigin and Wickepin to source their replacement ewes and wether lambs.
"Also, a big thank you to the Nutrien Livestock team for helping me run the two sales on the same day which would be otherwise impossible without the support from the team in green."
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