STRONG demand from northern Victoria, South Australia and NSW combined to lead to sales that have smashed the previous Australian record for Border Leicester stud ewes at the Geraldine stud dispersal sale on Monday in Horsham.
The unprecedented demand, which saw observers suggest the previous record was beaten at least ten times vindicated the decision by Clydebank-based stud Geraldine to travel from Gippsland to Horsham to conduct the sale.
Stud principal Ian Baker said he was delighted with the result which saw the 97 ewes on offer all sell to an average of $2251 with a top price of $4600, while the seven rams that went through the ring sold to a healthy top of $10,600 with an average of $5635.
He said he had made the decision to come to Horsham for the sale to be more central to key areas of demand.
"We have come to Horsham each year for the Border Leicester show and sale in late spring and they have sold well," Mr Baker said.
"Compared to Gippsland there is a lot more access to demand, whether it be the northern Victorians, South Australians or into NSW."
Jeff Sutton, president of the Australian Border Leicester Association, said it was a wonderful result for the Baker family and for the breed as a whole.
"We wish Ian, who is a previous president of our association, all the best and this sale highlights both the quality of the Geraldine sheep and the demand for Border Leicesters at present," Mr Sutton said.
"It was staggering to hear such good prices for ewes," he said.
There was a diverse range of buyers at the sale.
Wilson Beer, Nutrien Echuca, who helped coordinated the sale, said there was solid demand from the local Wimmera region, including the buyer of the top price ewe, Glenlee Park, Dimboola, which was also a volume buyer on the day, purchasing eight ewes.
He said South Australian buyers originally meant to attend in person prior to the latest COVID-19 restrictions, were active over Auctions Plus, accounting for in excess of ten lots.
There were buyers right across NSW, with sheep heading as far north as the Armidale / Walcha region in New England, while Bauer stud at Ariah Park provided strong competition for several of the higher priced lots and went home with a strong hand of ewes.
Mr Beer said the sale had blown previous records for stud ewes out the water.
"It wasn't just the one lot, we believe it was at least ten and maybe up to 12 ewes that all sold for more than the previous record, it was an exceptional result, reflecting the sheep on offer and the demand for the breed."
On the ram front, the top price ram went to a joint bid from the Pina Border Leicester Stud at Colbinabbin, central Victoria and the Womboota stud at Womboota, across the river from Echuca.
"The floods in Gippsland made it difficult in getting the sheep across here but it was worth it," Mr Baker said.
The sale was held at the Maydale Pavilion at the Horsham Showgrounds.