Spring sell-off could prompt a sheep and lamb sale record

A WHOPPING 72,500 sheep and lambs could go under the hammer at the Wagga Livestock Marketing Centre on Thursday if the agent's draw is to be a guide.

While livestock agents doubt the total amount in the draw (published Wednesday morning) will come to fruition the yarding could eclipse a 13-year-old record.

Wagga Livestock Marketing Centre manager, Paul Martin said the biggest sheep and lamb sale for the centre was back on November, 9, 2006.

At the time the sale made national news and 72,000 sheep and lambs were sold.

According to Meat and Livestock Australia data the 2006 sale in Wagga broke the national record for the most sheep and lambs sold at a saleyard.

However, Mr Martin explained the buying climate then was totally different to what we are seeing now.

He said prices are much better at the moment.

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James Tierney of Riverina Livestock Agents (RLA) said the dry seasonal conditions had contributed to the big numbers.

"(However) prices are holding up well despite the dry," he said.

"Sheep and lambs are doing well ... there has been some outstanding prices for mutton," he said.

Mr Tierney commended vendors on their ability to present stock in such good condition to meet the market during a dry year.

"People have done a really good job looking after their stock," he said.

"Most of our stock are coming in from a 200 kilometre radius ... but I would say there will be stock from a fair distance there tomorrow," Mr Tierney told The Rural on Wednesday.

And if the big numbers do come off on Thursday he said the sale would be completely different to what was witnessed back in 2006.

"I can remember the last four rows (back then) were nearly given away," he said.

Elders livestock agent and auctioneer Joe Wilks said he was prepared for a "very long" day.

He said the big numbers could be directly attributed to the season. However, the market had held up well and some vendors were taking the option to sell earlier than they ideally would.

"(Some) people are quitting their lambs early because the money is out there," he said.

Mr Wilks said buying strength from restockers was coming from Victoria and this was helpful in maintaining values for the store lambs.

"The Victorians will use some of the crops that didn't make to feed store lambs," he said.

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