YOUNG Merino ewes took the biggest price hit at Bendigo as farmers reacted to another tough week in the lamb and mutton markets.Pens of one-and-a-half-year-old Merino ewes reached a top of just $140 – and that was for a small pen of 47 ewes that were April/May drop, One Oak and Clay Plan blood and October shorn from vendors AL & B Taylor of Maldon.
The best price for a big line was $122 for B Harrison and Sons 496 rising one-and-a-half-year-old ewes that were July shorn, OJD vaccinated and muelsed.
The successful bidder took half the draft at $122, and when the pen was put up again the remaining ewes sold for $110.
Agents rated young ewes as at least $20 to $30 cheaper than recent sales.
Mixed quality was a factor in the weaker trend, with the sale having a lot of smaller lines of various types including smaller-framed finer wool types.
Most of the young ewes sold from $60 to $100, with the better grown and plainer bodied types attracting the higher money.
In contrast, the older ewes in the 10,000 head yarding tended to hold their value, especially the best classed breeders which sold for up to $80.
This money was for the Gauchie family's 313 Terrick West ewes that were five-and-a-half years, October shorn, OJD vaccinated and muelsed.
Onlookers estimated they had a kill value of about $40, meaning they made a premium double this on the day.
Elders agent Graeme "Dusty"’ Miller said the young ewes had been the disappointment of the sale.
"All the older ewes are selling so much better than the young ewes," he said.
"People are probably reluctant on the young Merinos due to lambing percentages."
Once off the best quality older ewes, prices were more aligned to meat values at $45 to $60 for most.
A limited selection of young Merino wethers sold from $30 to a top of $52 for 285 head from the Lock's at Powlett Plains. The wethers were April/May 201 drop, August shorn and Woodpark blood.
The buying power was from Ballarat and the local north-east area.