Crossbred ewes cross $300 threshold at Naracoorte

Elders auctioneer Tom Dennis in full cry selling Thursday at the Naracoorte 1st-cross ewe sale.FOUR pens of elite breeders’ crossbred ewe hoggets crossed the magical $300 a head threshold, topping at $310, at Naracoorte’s annual crossbred ewe sale last Thursday.
Nanjing Night Net

Widely claimed by South Australians as the nation’s premier crossbred market, this year’s yarding of 17,578 ewe hoggets plus 2760 mixed age breeders saw standard first draft lines of 1 to 1.5 year-olds comfortably sell between $270 and $300 a head while secondary lines seldom fell below $240.

This acclaimed Mecca of crossbred markets grossed an amazing $5.12 million but it failed to recapture the national record of $316 snatched from it in January by arch-rival is, Ballarat, after being the first to crack $300 barrier a year ago.

A feature of this year’s market was the revised OJD regulations that have prevented SA buyers from importing interstate breeding sheep not processing a minimum of four Animal Health Statement (AHS) points.

It has for all of this year limited SA buyers to sourcing replacement sheep from within its state borders (and some areas of NSW) and this fact alone intensified demand at Naracoorte as it became SA sole provider of market-derived crossbred ewes.

That being the case demand opened extremely strongly at $260 for the first pen sold – a tidy line of 130 July//August offered by Bellsands.

As was the case for more than 85pc of this premier yarding, the Bellsands’ ewe hoggets carried the standard-issue four OJD points as deemed by SA authorities but in reality provides no vaccination protection against the disease.

Buyers wanting vaccinated sheep had merely 19 pens from the 130-strong penning according to survey conducted of the market by Primary Industries & Resources South Australia.

The survey found a buyer premium of $11.09 per head was paid for the fourteen lots sold with vaccination compared to a benchmark average of $256.83 for non-vaccinate sheep.

Topping the sale and claiming the blue ribbon as the market’s best presented line as judged by the Border Leicester Society of SA was a pen of 132 bred by Trevor, Judy and Lachie James “Coolawang” Mundalla West.

The Coolawang ewes, which offered eight AHS-points, were sold at $310 to Graeme Zilm, Lochaber while a second pen containing 133 went to repeat buyer Will McDonald of Strathalbyn at $302.

Other vendors to breech the $300 mark were Gericke and Gibbs and Lockhaven each selling lines of 95 and 84 head respectively.

Peter Scullion, Scullion Farming was the major vendor selling 2728 head to $298, average $266.64. These sheep were purchased last year from the Naracoorte ewe lamb sale while a syndicate referred to as Greenbanks sold 1088 to $276, avg $266.56.

These were a line also purchased as ewe lambs from near Narrabri, NSW and grown out on agistment at Mt Gambier in order to protect their OJD four point status.

Naracoorte agent president Bruce Redpath, SAL said repeat buyers provided excellent competition on the day.

He said the OJD –issue had no influence on the result – more so that many people with older sheep at home and hoping the market might ease had realized their sheep can’t go another year and had to buy.

“People (buyers) have returned to Naracoorte because of the quality of the sheep”.

PPHS principal, Robyn Steen said the sale produced a pleasing result.

He said prices also represented good value buying compared to the normally-lower priced Merino ewes which mostly delivered 20 per cent less live-lambs to the market yards.

This is especially the case for the wetter finishing areas located below Naracoorte where a lot of the yarding was trucked, he said.

Elders auctioneer Tom Dennis agreed there was no clear evidence vaccinated sheep were sold at premium. Anyone having a brush with OJD or were keen to source vaccinated sheep did so for not much extra money he said.

The Elders yarding in particular was an excellent line-up, and well-shorn sheep were sold for a premium Mr Dennis said.

A good number were also genuine spring-drop lines and still had their lamb’s teeth, he added.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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