Ewes through the roof

Kate MatthewsCountryman
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Demand for ewes has reached an all-time high in WA.

This was made evident when one-year-olds set a new State record of $146 at the recent FarmWorks and Primaries off-shears sale.

It was the second time the two agencies had joined forces to hold special sales following the June Special when wethers set a record price of $159.50.

The off-shears sale saw plenty of support from eastern states orders while local producers bid strongly to ensure the top lines offered by both agencies stayed in the State.

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The record breaking pen, 367 Golden Park ewes put up by Gerradayl Farm, of Ongerup, in the FarmWorks catalogue, will head north after being purchased by Craig Walker, of Primaries Northampton, for David Bagley, of Mingenew.

Mr Bagley joins 1000 ewes to Poll Dorsets and purchased the Merinos to maintain his flock numbers.

FarmWorks general manager of livestock Preston Clarke described the offering as well-grown, very-woolly, outstanding young ewes that deservedly achieved the price they did.

“It just showed people wanting ewes were prepared to pay money for them, ” he said.

Mr Clarke also said the competition across all ewes in both sales was pleasing.

“People have come to terms with the fact the ewe base is dramatically reduced and they can see a lot of potential in sheep over the next couple of years so they are investing wisely in ewes at the moment.”

Selling first at the sale was Primaries. Merino ewe hoggets, from R and L Porter, of Newdegate, with Angenup genetics made a top of $128.50 and were bought by MM and MM Johnston, of Boyup Brook.

Brian Richardson, of Newdegate, offered a line of 532 October-shorn 1.5-year-old ewes with Aylesbury genetics which made the Primaries top of $131.50.

Mr Richardson said they were exceptional circumstances sheep with the dry season forcing the sale of his young ewes.

He has reduced his carrying capacity by 50 per cent and will now run 1000 lambs and 500 ewes.

Buyer, Rocket Roberts, trading as Milarup in Lake King, is slowly restocking to build up numbers.

Averages for Primaries included $96.04 for Merino ewes, $63.50 for crossbred ewes and $59.58 for Merino wether lambs.

Auctioneer Peter Trezise said the quality yarding saw prices a bit dearer than previous sales.

In the FarmWorks catalogue, S Dolley and Son, of Gnownagerup, sold one-year-old Merino ewes for $130 to RW and JM Thomas, of Mt Barker.

A line of their F1 Dohne ewes, also one-year-old in full wool made $120 and were purchased by Kevin Forbes, of Mt Barker.

The biggest looking ewes in the catalogue were a line of 377 Wiltshires at five years old from Jensen Holdings. They were bought by Greg and Karen McNeill, of Glenidol.

The average for all ewes sold was $88.35, with all wether lambs averaging $58.

One-and-a-half-year-old Merino ewes averaged $120.97, 2.5-year-old Merino ewes averaged $94, 2.5–4.5-year-old Merino ewes averaged $79, 5.5-year-old Merino ewes averaged $58 and 6.5-year-old Merino ewes averaged $69.

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