THE Naracoorte first-cross ewe sale has again cemented its spot as the country's top price record-setter, after the $386 ewe record - set by Naracoorte last year - broke multiple times last week at Vic and SA saleyards.
First-cross ewe prices have hit record-breaking highs in the past few months and the record price was first broken at Edenhope, Vic, early on Thursday last week by the Rogers family, Telangatuk, Vic, with August/September 2018-drop ewes that made $388.
But Naracoorte's blue ribbon sale later that day, surpassed Edenhope's record in the first few runs and eventually arrived at the $402 national first-cross ewe price record in the final pens of the sale.
Receivers of the $402 record price - the Lock family at Mundulla - said the prices were not expected, but also "not a surprise".
David Lock said they generally received good prices at the blue ribbon sale, but in the past few years returns were "ordinary".
"It was great to be up there with Coolawang-blood sheep prices this year," he said. "Lamb prices are very high, so it is not a surprise that quality breeding ewes are performing so well."
The Locks offered 100 first-cross ewes at the sale.
For buyers Craig and Joe Hole, Naracoorte, who bought ewes at $398 at their local sale last week, it was not a difficult decision.
"We've had a great season, there is plenty of feed about and there is plenty of confidence about the job," Joe said.
The Skeer family, Thornlea, near Millicent, paid $400 for ewes, also at Naracoorte.
"You do the maths. You can sell old ewes for really good money, lambs are over $200, we've got plenty of feed and buying the same line of breeders we have bought before and done well out of makes good sense," Kim Skeer said.
"It's only going to get harder to get hold of that quality stock when the drought breaks in the north."
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Coolawang ewes deemed best
THE James family from the Coolawang Border Leicester stud, Mundulla, were the first to break the national ewe price record at Naracoorte on Thursday last week.
Their best presented pen of the sale was one of the first to be offered up, through Elders - 204 Coolawang-blood Border Leicester-Merino June 2018-drop ewes.
The James family often top the sale and were the previous $386 national record-holders from last year's Naracoorte sale, until the record fell in the final pens of this year's sale.
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Trevor James said he had sold at the blue ribbon sale since 2004 and in that time, had won 10 best presented pen ribbons.
"We set our first national first-cross ewe price record in 2004 and have made the top price at the sale multiple times since then," he said.
"We had a large amount of ewes in the best presented pen so I think the evenness of type and structure soundness caught the judge's eye.
"The judge was not looking for the heaviest sheep at the sale, but evenness across a large line."