IT might not quite be the heady highs of a few years ago when scanned-in-lamb Dorper ewes were making over $200/head, but Blackall's Ranald and Rachel Nobel were still delighted to see their Dorper-cross ewes make $153/head on AuctionsPlus last week.
The line of 908 one to two-year-old ewes scanned in lamb were snapped up by an Augathella breeder with wild dog exclusion fencing in place.
The sale follows that of the mob's three to four-year-old sisters for $102/head a month earlier in what is a forced destocking brought on by ongoing drought for the Nobles, who have been concentrating on a meat sheep operation at Tarbarah, south west of Blackall, since 2006.
Rachel Noble said this week that while it had been a difficult decision to sell their young breeding stock, they were very proud of what they had presented for sale.
"They are incredibly suited to this environment and we've put a lot into their breeding," she said.
They weighed an average 49kg and Blackall Landmark livestock agent Sam Hart said they had been an attractive article.
Despite the season, the ewes were in forward store condition and in lamb to Australian White and Dorper rams. A reserve of $85 had been placed on them.
The Nobles frequently use AuctionsPlus to sell their sheep, saying it opened them up to competition at a national level.
"Most of our sheep have gone to NSW - Narribri and Inverell - but we wouldn't normally sell those type of sheep either," Rachel said.
Mr Hart said shearing in the central west had just begun and he expected sale numbers would ramp up in the next two to six weeks.
"I expect prices to remain firm. The sheep job is driven by southern rain," he said.