BIDDING for Merino wethers and crossbred lambs was patchy at Deniliquin in NSW last week.
High buy: Peter Stone, from Woodstock West, bought the top-priced $112 pen of unshorn Merino wether lambs at Deniliquin last week.
While prices for some of the feature lots held firm with a stand-out pen of woolly 1 1/2-year-old Merino wethers topping at $148 and the best of the Merino lambs to $117, the general run of young wethers were considered "buyable" at between $65 and $80.
Elders auctioneer Jason Andrews said the prevailing mood among sheep producers was one of caution.
The headline sale was a pen of big woolly wethers from The Frontage that sold for $148 a head.
The 490 wethers were July-August 2010 drop, April shorn and Mulloorie blood, and sold to Elders for a Bendigo client.
The wethers were expected to cut in the region of $50 if carried the full 12 months for shearing.
The next best price was $117 for a line of 668 rising one-year-old Merino wether lambs from Riverina property Belaley.
They were April-May drop, October shorn and Emu Park blood.
This was followed by $112 for the top pen of unshorn wether lambs, which was paid for 433 June-July drop lambs that were Kelvale blood.
Bidding for unshorn Merino lambs was fairly consistent, with buyers such as NSW agent Peter Ellis saying clients were favouring lambs that offered wool return as a safety net.
The unshorn lambs sold from $74.50 to $112.
Mr Ellis bought almost 1000 unshorn lambs for clients who plan to shear them and target them towards the winter prime lamb market, with the live export trade a back-up option if slaughter values didn't perform.
It was the middle run of spring-shorn Merino wether lambs, where bidding fluctuated at prices from $65 to $85.
BRC Swan Hill's Joe Reilly bought a run of 665 Mungadel wether lambs, May-June drop and October shorn, for $66.50 and rated them as better buying than crossbred store lambs.
Agents did pass in wether lambs, such as 664 head from Bullawah when bidding stalled at $88.
But tail-end lambs, and wether lambs in smaller-pen lots of less than 250 head, sold well with most sales being pushed above $60.
Crossbred store lamb prices also fluctuated, with sales ranging from $42 to a top of $117 for killable lambs bought by meat buyers.