PRICES were at least $20 dearer than recent sales for quality breeders at the Ballarat first-cross ewe sale.About 12,000 sheep were yarded for one of the last sheep sales across Victoria before the Christmas break last Friday.
Crawford Dowling agent, Paul Constable, said prices for quality sheep were $15 to $20 dearer, and in places were $25 dearer than the other recent first-cross sales in the region.
There were 7000 one-and-a-half-year-old ewes offered which sold mostly between $110-$160, with one stand out pen selling for $182.
About 2000 older ewes were penned, with the two-and-a-half-year-old ewes selling between $100-$130 and the five-year-old lots making from $60-$80.
Ewe lambs were well represented with about 3000 penned and they sold between $65 for the very light, and $120 for the better conditioned ewe lambs.
The top-priced pen of the sale was a run of 100 one-and-a-half-year-old, first-cross ewes, September shorn, out of Bundilla Merino ewes sold by Doug and Pauline Boatman, Glen Lofty for $182.
Mr Boatman said they were pretty happy considering the way the market has been.
"That price was about $70 less than our top price last year, but the price is in line with the market now.''
The Boatman's sold 446 ewes in total to average $152.50.
S and LM Smith, Stawell, sold 120 one-and-a-half-year-old ewes for $160, while Hilderleigh, Bullarto, sold 107 of the same age ewes for $170.
In one of the biggest runs offered, Coinhill Pastoral Company, Ararat, sold 700 first-cross ewes, both older ewes and lambs, October shorn, to average about $150.
AP and S Millear, Willaura, sold 150 May-June 2012-drop, October shorn first-cross ewe lambs for $112 and a run of 179 one-and-a-half-year-old first-cross ewes, June-July 2011-drop, October shorn for $162.
R and C Marshall, Ballan, sold 114 five-and-a-half-year-old first cross ewes for $67.
Elders Ballarat agent Graeme Nicholson said sheep sold quiet well considering the price of lambs in the current market.