SOLID woolgrowing young ewes stole the limelight at the Pinnaroo off-shears sales on Friday last week, after a pen of "strong" Kamora Netley Park bloods hit $304.
With price uncertainty swirling around the wool and lamb market, agents, vendors and buyers were all surprised by the sale's result.
About 5000 sheep and lambs were yarded, with the $304 top price offered by EV&SM Francis, Mindarie.
Snapped up Elders Kingston, the pen of 204 January-shorn Kamora/Netley-bld one-and-a-half-year-old ewes, were in demand, while the 105 seconds made $276.
Selling at the sale for the fist time, vendor Elwyn Francis said it was a bonus "nabbing" the sale's top price.
"We generally sell at Lameroo saleyard but we switched over this year," he said.
"The timing of the market just suited us so we thought we would give it a crack - we did not expect to be the top price."
With a strong focus on woolgrowing, Mr Francis said his goal was to breed large-framed ewes with a plain body, to help maximise production of his 19-21-micron wool.
"We cull heavily - most years up to half of the breeding flock to retain the best woolgrowing ewes," he said.
"I suspect woolgrowers generated most of the interest on our sheep."
Prices for young ewes held strong, with Knight Family Trust, Peake, making $302 for 253 April/May 2019-drop Lampata-bld ewes that were sold to Spence, Dix & Co.
TG Braun, Loxton, also made $302 for 141, 1.5yo Moorundie-blds, while WD&MS Wilson, Pinnaroo , made $292 for 52 Ridgway-bld ewes that were sold to Nutrien Ag Pinnaroo.
A run of 212, 1.5yo Gunallo/Kamora Netley Park-bld ewes from NJ&FJ Atze, Pinnaroo, made $276 and sold to Spence Dix & Co's Rodney Dix.
WG&KJ Venning, Pinnaroo, made $270 for 82 Moorundie Park-bld young ewes that were sold to Pinkerton, Palm, Hamlyn and Steen.
The "well-presented" sale kept bidder interest high until the final pens and PPH&S agent Agent Paul Kinnaird said the "bottom-end" competition was proof of this.
"The frame and strength of the young ewes was what made the Francis sheep a standout in the sale," he said.
PPHS auctioneer Josh Manser moved swiftly across the young ewes pens before moving onto the older ewe section.
He said older sheep sold exceptionally well.
"A lot of the active buyers were chasing big, strong Mallee sheep to either retain locally or send south for lamb breeding operations," he said.
"Vendors put a lot of work into breeding these quality sheep and its good to have it rewarded."
Three-and-a-half-year-old to 4.5yo ewes made between $190-$254 - with LC&BJ Singh, Loxton, making $254 for 413, 4.5yo Hamilton Run/Gum Hill-bld ewes that were sold to PPHS.
SA&SK Shaw, Barmara, offered 71, 3.5yo Lampata/Glenlea Park-bld ewes and made $254 to Rodney Dix.
The Shaws and RL Flack, Berri, also made $222 for 86, 4.5-5.5yo Lampata-bld ewes that were secured by PPH&S, Penola.
In the 6.5yo ewe section, TM Kerber, Lameroo, made $182 for 93 September-shn Ridgway-blds that sold to PPH&S.
The wether section made to $135 for 77 Gunallo-blds from E&D Heintze, Murrayville, Vic, that sold to Thomas Foods International, while NJ&FJ Atze, made $125 for 138 Gunallo/Kamora Netley Park-bld woolly wethers to Rodney Dix.
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