Sheep prices expected to fall

The prices at the Two-Tooth and Ewe Lamb Fair at Temuka Saleyards tomorrow are expected to be down 40 per cent on last year's record sales.

Geraldine farmer Bruce McDonald's pen of border romney ewes smashed 2011 national records with the best of the pens making over $290, with two selling for $298 and another for $299, last year.

The prices were fuelled by the strong returns farmers were receiving for their wool and lambs.

But this year is not looking as good despite high numbers of about 20,000 stock for sale.

Peter Walsh, of Peter Walsh Associates, estimates the two-tooth ewes which sold for about $300 last year will get about $180 this time round.

"Two-tooths will be sold for dramatically less than last year as an effect of export markets," he said.

He said farmers are very durable when it came to dips in returns and just accepted what the market offered.

Because last year was so good many farmers retained lambs in anticipation of another bumper sale but could not predict the weather or the market.

"The best young farmers can do is clearly get into the dairy industry - it is more consistent."

The Timaru Herald