June special sale to $126 top
The once-a-year June Special Invitational Sheep Sale last Friday in Katanning saw prices reach a top of $126 a head for Merino ewe lambs.
Local and Eastern States-based buyers dominated the sale in the absence of live exporters, which drove demand for lighter animals.
Agents from Elders, Landmark, Primaries and Westcoast Livestock yarded just over 20,000 wethers and ewes.
Average prices were down on last year's sale, with agents blaming the lack of interest in the sale from livestock exporters willing to pay higher prices for larger lambs.
Landmark auctioneer Tom Bowen and Elders auctioneer Don Morgan said in comparison to previous years' sales, this year's were softer.
"This was due to the dry spell sapping grazier confidence, and processors and live exporters have fulfilled all their immediate requirements for the moment," Mr Bowen said.
"Buyers this year were favouring store wethers and ewes, but the heavier killing type lambs were disappointing," Mr Morgan said.
"With little to no live exporter buying this year, we still were able to receive a little bit of support from the Eastern States and also some good support from local buyers."
Primaries auctioneer Geoff Daw said they were happy with their top price of $99 for a pen of Merino wethers.
"For us, we found the store sizes sold well, with the lighter sheep dominated by the dominant buyers," he said.
Westcoast Livestock auctioneer Lincon Gangell said the ewes sold above expectations. "It was just a shame we didn't have the sale a couple of weeks later when there were more boats in," he said.
Chris Metcalf, purchasing for Hillside and Livestock Shipping Services, was one of the day's most active buyers, focusing on Merino wether lambs and Merino wether and paying around the mid-$90 mark for numbers.
Hillside/LSS purchased about 2400 at the sale. He described the sale as a "buyers' market".
"There was ample sheep for processors and live exporters out of the paddock, so competition was relaxed due to a year that was not as good as previous years," he said.
"We had stronger demand and less supply in previous years, and this year was the exact reverse.
"LSS have supported the June auction for the last 10 years but because of the time of our shipping program it did not make sense to be putting sheep in a feedlot for the next three weeks waiting on a ship."
Agents yarded 8595 in the Elders Livestock catalogue.
With the largest yarding in the sale, Elder's catalogue included the Tyson family's top line of rising year-old Merino wethers, which sold for an average over the two lines they offered of $116/head.
Both lines were purchased by Eastern States buyer Southern Riverina Livestock & Co, which paid the top price of $126/head for one of the lines, which was also the top price for the sale.
Across the offering, wethers averaged $69 to $106/head while ewes managed $75 to $76/head.
Elders also sold the largest line of the sale with 898 head of two-year-old wethers from vendors Craigmore Pastoral Company.
Agents yarded 7677 in the Landmark Livestock catalogue.
Landmark's catalogue included the Shackley family's top line of rising year-old wethers, which sold for $114.50/head.
V&V Walsh purchased the Shackley line, with second top price of $114/head for 78 of the Shackley's Merino hoggets.
Across the catalogue, wethers made $81 to $114.50/head, while the one line of ewes on offer managed $87.50/head.
Westcoast Livestock *
Agents yarded 1268 head in the Westcoast Livestock catalogue.
With the second top price of the sale, Blackwattle paid $122/head for 628 K&S Vaux & Co two-year-old Merino ewes.
Agents yarded 2234 in the Primaries Livestock catalogue.
Primaries averaged the lowest price of $62/head across its offering of lambs.
A top of $99/head was reached for a line of Merino wethers purchased by Chris Metcalf on behalf of Hillside.
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