What benefit does scanning have to your ewe sale price?

Does marketing ewes as in lamb to singles, multiples add a premium?

Wool
Scanned-in-lamb ewes from Pekina, SA, advertised on AuctionsPlus this week. Photo courtesy of AuctionsPlus.

Scanned-in-lamb ewes from Pekina, SA, advertised on AuctionsPlus this week. Photo courtesy of AuctionsPlus.

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Does indicating whether your ewes are in lamb to singles or multiples improve your returns when selling them?

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Does indicating whether your ewes are in lamb to singles or multiples improve your returns when selling them?

That was the question AuctionsPlus market analysts Michael McManus and Tom Rookyard attempted to answer in recent research conducted into the potential premiums scanned-in-lamb (SIL) Merino ewes could offer.

"A severe deficit of breeding ewes across Australia was always going to put extreme pressure on the store sheep market once there was widespread rain," they said.

"This is exactly what happened in the first months of 2020, and when key regions had drought-breaking rainfall, a scramble to restock paddocks against a 116-year flock low began.

"[So there were questions surrounding] the factors impacting current buyer behaviour, and thus what key elements vendors should look to achieve when selling."

Mr McManus and Mr Rookyard analysed data from SIL Merino ewes sold online between January and July 2020.

"Like other sheep markets, SIL ewes have skyrocketed in value since the widespread rain across the eastern states," they said.

"[They saw] 45 per cent growth from December 2019 when SIL Merino ewes were averaging $180, to July 2020 where they are averaging $260."

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Nathan Harris, Nathan Harris Scanning, Baradine, NSW, said while there was an extra cost involved in scanning - at about 25 cents a head - it was negated when selling.

"When scanning for clients, they know that buyers want more knowledge and will pay more for that," Mr Harris said.

He said his clients had utilised this knowledge to take their business forward.

"The extra knowledge is invaluable, to understand the nutrition that your single ewes and multiple ewes need is critical," he said.

Mr McManus and Mr Rookyard said their data indicated growers would receive an extra $23 a head more when nominating multiples or singles.

They said even when selling Merino ewes with 10pc multiples and 90pc singles, there was a $14 premium than marketing those same ewes as just SIL.

From a buyer's perspective McCarron Cullinane Chudleigh livestock agent Adam Chudleigh, Forbes, NSW, said he and his buyers always gained more confidence when buying SIL ewes with multiples and singles nominated.

"Buying nominated multiples gives our clients the confidence that they will get the lambs on the ground, providing them with many options to sell," Mr Chudleigh said.

"Either into the store market to make a quick return or to feed through to hit the fat market."

He said the value came from the added assurance and confidence that being transparent about stock provided.

"If vendors are willing to spend the extra money they deserve to receive additional value due to their management practices," he said.

Mr McManus and Mr Rookyard said reflecting on market results was the best indicator to dictate future buyer behaviour and to see exactly what they were after.

"As evident through this [researc], the cost of scanning for singles and multiples has seen on average a considerable price premium," they said.

"t is clear that more information provided by the vendor offers an added level of confidence to the buyer increasing the likelihood of higher returns."

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