THE decision to transition from an online sale to a physical yarding was a popular one with vendors, buyers and viewers at the sparkling debut of the Mid North Feature Ewe sale on Wednesday.
Held at the Marrabel Rodeo Grounds, the large crowd enjoyed being able to view nearly 8000 quality Merino, Poll Merino and Dohne ewes and ewe lambs yarded by the Spence Dix & Co agency.
Competition was extremely strong across the yarding, which consisted of mainly Merino and Dohne ewe hoggets, 4.5 and 5.5-year-old ewes and ewe lambs.
The total sale grossed about $2.3 million and the 4314 ewe hoggets on offer averaged $353.
A new state record for Merino ewe hoggets was established, with 380 August-shorn, Moorundie-blood, April/May 2020-drops, averaging 72 kilograms, from Tiller & Thompson, Balaklava, making $404.
The vendors held the state record for a short time last year after selling their 2020 hoggets for $350 on AuctionsPlus.
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This year's annual draft of surplus to requirement ewe hoggets was purchased by Brenton Francis, Western Flat.
The seconds, av 64kg, made an impressive $382 to Spence Dix & Co Keith.
Vendor Paul Thompson said they always went the extra mile to present the ewes in the best condition possible.
"We've rode the crest of the wave with sheep in recent years on the back of strong commodity prices," he said.
"We're over the moon with today's result."
Mr Thompson was full of praise for Spence & Dix Co for organising the Marrabel sale.
"We've been really happy with AuctionsPlus and the results we've had, but this is a good opportunity to display our sheep," he said.
"We had a lot of positive feedback from people who haven't seen our sheep before, which is good to hear."
Also making $382, across two pens, were 402 August-shorn, Glenowie-blds from the Stockman family, Glenowie Poll Merino, Burra, to Pinkerton, Palm, Hamlyn & Steen Naracoorte.
The Stockman's thirds also made $358 to Spence Dix & Co Keith.
Hillcott Grove Proprietors, Kapunda, received $370 for 315 Leahcim and Ella Matta-bld July/August 2020-drops, with $368 paid for 250 Moorundie-blds from Fairvale Props, Jamestown.
Bidding reached $364 for 239 Baderloo-blds from JW&VL Higgs while 250 March-shorn, Lines Gum Hill-bld, July/August 2020-drops from Bennett Farm Trust, Tarcowie, attracted $360.
Also making $360 were 308 Lines Gum Hill and Nyowee-blds from DS Barr Farms, Balaklava, while 201 Hamilton Run-bld Dohne ewes from Schutz Family Trust, Point Pass, made $358.
Two other vendors hit the $350 mark - LM&SJ Cadzow received $354 for their 131 July-shorn, Baderloo-blds, while 272 Hamilton Run-blds from RJ&SM Simpson, Jamestown, attracted $350.
The tops of the 4.5-year-old ewes - 150 April-shorn, Flairdale-blds from AJ&DK Whitehorn, Koolunga, made $268.
DS Barr Farms received $260 for 191 Lines Gum Hill and Nyowee-blds, with 140 Moorundie-blds from Majula Farms, Balaklava, also making $260.
The offering of 5.5-year-old ewes also sold strongly, with 206 April-shorn, Glenville-blds from SM&NK Mudge, Mallala, topping the category at $244.
Receiving $236 for their 158 Lines Gum Hill and Nyowee-blds to cap off a solid selling day was DS Barr Farms.
There was a limited selection of ewe lambs on offer and it was a 299-head complete drop of April/May-drop, Hamilton Run-blds from PD Springbett that escalated to the top price of $226.
Spence Dix & Co agents Daniel Doecke and Daniel Griffiths were ecstatic with how well supported the sale was.
They said there was good buying support from both locals and South East buyers.
"The sale completely blew away my expectations," Mr Doecke said.
"We had fantastic support from both vendors and buyers. It was a really good quality yarding that delivered on the tag of a top-end feature ewe sale."
Mr Griffiths said they were happy with the strong results on older ewes and ewe lambs, as well as the ewe hoggets.
He said the $404 record breakers were "outstanding sheep" and a credit to Tiller and Thompson.
"There have been plenty of people here commenting that they're up there with the best commercial sheep in the state and even further afield," he said.
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