MERINO ewes sold to $241 at Narromine last week as quality sheep continued to sell well.
Agents and observers rated prices for the better end of the 14,200 head offering as firm, despite mutton prices falling dramatically in recent weeks.
The search for good sheep drew buyers from as far away as Shepparton to the central western NSW yard, with others from Cowra, Bathurst, Forbes, West Wyalong and Dubbo.
The top price of $241 was paid for a pen of 512 Merino ewes, 1 1/2 years, July shorn and 100 per cent scanned in-lamb to White Suffolk rams to start lambing in April. They had an estimated weight of 50-55kg.
The balance of the better quality young Merino ewes made $130-$196, while ewes scanned in-lamb sold from $146-$187.
A feature line was a draft of 360 Merino ewes from Womboin, which were August-September 2010-drop, May shorn, Egelabra blood. Weighing about 45-50kg, these ewes sold for $192.
Landmark Shepparton bought a couple of lines of older Merino ewes, paying $138 for 6 1/2-year-old breeders that were unjoined and July shorn, and $146 for rising six-year-old breeders, Egelabra blood and July shorn.
Away from the top lines, the cheaper mutton rates affected lighter or plainer older ewes, which were $10-$20 cheaper than the last sale.
It was also a solid market for the best of the first-cross ewes, with rising one year olds making $218 twice. This was paid for autumn 2011-drop ewes.
One lot, December shorn, was sold by regular vendors Spicers Run; the other were April-May drop ewes that were January shorn, sold by N Woods.
The remainder of the first-cross ewes, in good condition and suitable to join, made $172-$203. Limited lines of 1 1/2-year-old first-cross ewes made $124-$172, and three pens of older crossbred ewes sold from $82 to $108.