The Hay Annual September Sheep Sale reached heights never imagined on Friday, 2020-drop Merino ewes selling for a high of $512 a head in the 36,000 head yarding.
Despite Hay now being out of lockdown, COVID-19 restrictions meant it was one of the smallest crowds ever witnessed at the Sheep Sale - but those were in attendance gave a rounding applause when the top-price was paid for the first pen on offer, from Yarto, Booligal.
"Who'd have thought we'd reach that top, it's massive" Nutrien agent Geoffrey McDougall said.
Mr McDougall said a late break meant most sheep was around seven to 10kg lighter than last year's sale.
"Given that the guys who got the top ewes have done a very good job," Mr McDougall said.
"The market was softer in places, but in flowed in and out, AuctionsPlus was helping out at the end.
"Most of the tops made in the $300s, then into the second drafts we were down into the high $200s."
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Mr McDougall said there was a massive number of maidens this year, with 27,000 head in the draft.
"It's probably nearly double last year," Mr McDougall said.
The $512 pen were 404 March/April 2020-drop Merino ewes, 68.1 kilograms, Alma-blood, August-shorn and were purchased by Elders, Deniliquin on behalf of repeat Yarto clients.
On a live-weight basis, 2020-drop ewes weighing 56kg to 61kg made from $280 to $475. Ewes around 55kg sold from $265 to $345 and those weighing closer to 50kg made from $245 to $345.
Those under 50kg sold from $210 to $282. The few pens of ewe lambs on offer made from $150 to $206.
The tops of the two-year-old ewes sold very well, making up to $352. Demand for five-year-olds was also strong for quality articles, they sold from $192 to $304 for 4.5 year-olds from Tylden, Hay. The six-year-olds finished out the sale, attracting from $142 to $194.
Top sales included 374 April/May 2020-drop ewes, 61.3kg, Alma-blood, July-shorn, from Daisy Plains, Booligal which sold for $475 to Nutrien Forbes.
The Yarto's second pen, 472 weighing 61kg, sold for $470. M and S Morphett, Coulpataro sold 457 May/June 2020-drop Merino ewes, 61kg, Poll Collinsville blood, August-shorn for $450.
Alma, Booligal sold two pens of 262 April/May 2020-drop Merino ewes, 61kg, Alma blood, August-shorn, for $444 and $430.
Bunumburt Station, Oxley, sold 226 May/June 2020-drop Merino ewes, 58.1kg, Bluebush blood, July-shorn for $410.
Buyers were from across the Riverina, Central West and into Victoria.
The sale was conducted by Nutrien and Elders.
- Full report in next week's edition of The Land.
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