Bargains - WA ewes bought before the price bubble burst

Bargains - WA ewes bought before the price bubble burst

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John Bestwick and Tom Roberts with some of the 630 Merino ewes Mr Roberts bought at $130 a head from Western Australia. The ewes stopped at the WA/SA border for 48 hours before finishing the trip for an all-in cost of $31 a head.

John Bestwick and Tom Roberts with some of the 630 Merino ewes Mr Roberts bought at $130 a head from Western Australia. The ewes stopped at the WA/SA border for 48 hours before finishing the trip for an all-in cost of $31 a head.

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As the O'Connell district reinvigorated from January and February rains, trading opportunities arose for Tom Roberts who imported Merino ewes from WA for $130 each plus $31/head transport cost.

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TRADING sheep and cattle are a big part of Tom Roberts' business in the O'Connell district near Bathurst.

His share farming enterprise on Euarra, owned by John Bestwick and family, and managed by Mr Roberts is split close to 50/50 between the partnership's self replacing Merino flock and their trading operation.

Pasture and crop is the feed source, depending on rain on the approximately 1620 hectares of Euarra and other leased country.

In early February before the sheep trade bubble from Western Australia burst, Mr Roberts purchased 630 Multi Purpose blood Merino ewes at $130 a head and had them transported to O'Connell for $31 each, stopping at the WA/SA border.

The ewes were unloaded and rested for up to 24 hours at $1 a head before reloading and transported to O'Connell.

They were 1.5 years and are now being joined to Border Leicester rams.

"If the market spiked up, which it probably won't now with the coronavirus, we would sell them station mated, but now most likely the plan will be to run them through and sell them as scanned-in-lamb ewes for someone else to take on and lamb down as future breeders," Mr Roberts said.

"We try and do a few of those type of trades every year where we try to buy-in good young Merino ewes, join them up and resell them."

Mr Roberts wasn't aware of the financing deals and said if there was something like that you'd look at it and stack up the numbers.

"But we didn't take advantage of that, didn't know at the time. We just did it on our own," he said.

"However, trading through these past couple of dry years there's been a lot of stock for sale with terms.

"You would not have to pay for them for two to three months.

"At times we have taken up those opportunities, we bought some cows out of Louth on three months terms and fattened them and calved them down with those extended terms it made it a bit easier to trade them."

Just a week ago 1000 composite crossbred ewes already scanned in-lamb to Poll Dorset and White Suffolk rams were delivered from Tasmania and will be lambed down.

"They have a higher percentage of multiples in them, so we plan, if the market spikes up, to sell some of the young ones before we lamb them, but at this stage our plan is to lamb down all," he said.

Transport cost was $24 a head and they begin lambing from May 15.

"We'll probably sell the ewes for someone to rejoin and fatten the lambs ourselves," he said.

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