HOPES are high for strong results in the state's upcoming off-shears selling season, with the first auction indicating stock in good condition should draw exceptional bids.
But with a lot of ewes in lighter condition, due to the tight season in many parts of the state, it could be a struggle on those types.
At Murray Bridge on Monday, young ewes made to $296, coming very close to the highest price paid across SA last year – $300 at the Keith off-shears sale.
But while the top pens at Murray Bridge made exceptional money, prices for other runs in lesser condition fell away sharply.
Landmark/Golding Agencies livestock manager Curly Golding believes prices could easily surpass $300 this season, particularly at the Lameroo and Keith off-shears auctions.
“Those sales tend to have the big-framed ewes that people can mate straight away,” he said.
Mr Golding said the season was the real limiting factor for prices.
“The lamb job and wool job is flying, but it’s the season that’s really against us,” he said.
“If we had good rain, and were covered in green feed, the sky would be the limit.
“There are a lot of light young ewes on the market at the moment, but they’re making pretty good money for what they are.”
Three off-shears sales will be held next week, kicking off at Cleve on Wednesday.
Elders Cleve livestock manager Mick Noble said about 6000 head were expected in, consisting of about a third each of young ewes, breeding ewes and new-season lambs.
The following off-shears sale will be at Jamestown on Thursday.
Elders Jamestown livestock manager Jack Coleman said an estimated yarding of 27,000 was due in.
Mr Coleman expected prices would be fairly consistent with other years.
“Stock from north of Jamestown may not be in as good condition this year, but ewes from the inside country should be as good, if not better, than other years,” he said.
Elders and Landmark will offer about 6000 head at the Pinnaroo off-shears on Friday at the town’s saleyards.
Following that sale, Pinkerton Palm Hamlyn & Steen will offer an estimated 4000 head at the Pinnaroo showgrounds.
Elders Pinnaroo livestock manager David Daniel expected results would be similar to Monday’s Murray Bridge sale.
“Anything in better condition is selling well,” Mr Daniel said.
PPHS director Robin Steen expected prices would be in the $220-$280 range for young ewes and top at $180 for 5.5-year-old ewes.
Next month’s sales include Bordertown on October 17, with 4000-5000 head expected, and Kapunda on October 22, with 4000 head.