UPDATE: YOUNG Merino ewes sold to $149 at Deniliquin.
The market reflected the season and depressed sheepmeat returns.
Not even a recent rally in wool returns could boost the sale of more than 30,000 sheep sold in stifling heat.
Sales over $100 were not uncommon but drifted as low as $36 for old ewes by the time the sale moved to older lines of joined breeders.
With the exception of a buyer from Crookwell, NSW, most sheep went either to local buyers or into Victoria, with sheep sent to Warracknabeal, Shepparton, Ballarat, Bendigo, Culgoa, Wycheproof, Boort, Benalla, Nathalia and Echuca.
The best prices were paid for size, quality and condition regardless of whether agents were selling Merinos or crossbreds.
Elders Deniliquin agent John Fitzpatrick said few vendors were surprised by the results, where some values dipped by half compared to last year.
"A lot of people (vendors) realises where the market is, and that's reflected by just a few lines passed in despite prices being much lower than last year," he said.
Lines of 2012-drop first cross ewe lambs sold up to $132 for the biggest framed sheep but smaller lighter ewes sold either side of $80.
The top first-cross ewe lambs were sold by Melrose, with the 223 young bereders, April/May 2012-drop and December shorn selling to a Bendigo buyer.
About 10 pens of first cross ewe lambs made above $100.
Competition kicked up a gear again for the best of the small offering of 2011-drop first cross ewes, which reached $130 for 158 August/September breeders which were July shorn and unjoined.
There were several pens of Dorper-cross ewes offered, but few buyers seemed interested and it was possible to buy lines of joined Dorper ewes from $36-$40.
The feature of the Merino offering was the dispersal of the Coolbaroo flock, which was One Oak blood, and all ewes were scanned in lamb either to a Poll Dorset or Border Leicester.
These topped at $141 for the 2010-drop, with the 2009-drop making $132, the 2009-drop selling for $112, the 2008-drop making $92 and the 2007-drop selling for $74. The mixed age empty ewes made $64.
Joined young Merino ewes sold up to $136 but as cheaply as $65 while the big offering of joined older Merino ewes sold in a huge range down to $34 for mixed age ewes up to $131 for some 2009-drop breeders.
The best young unjoined Merino ewes topped the sale, with Mullingar selling 273 June/July 2011-drop breeders, August shorn and Ronern blood for $149 to a Crookwell buyer.
It was one of a handful of pens of young Merino breeders that topped $100.