John Landers is used to fast work – assessing eight decks of sheep for AuctionsPlus was all in a day’s work for him – but the speed at which wool is sold in Sydney was an eye-opener.
He’s just returned from the saleroom floor at Yennora where lots were turning over at the rate of three a minute, or 200 lots an hour.
It’s all part of his new role as the western Queensland district wool manager for Elders, a role that became vacant when Allycia Bennett moved on to a position with the Longreach Pastoral College.
Having spent 20 of the last 30 years working for firstly Primac, then Primac Elders and now Elders, in various roles, eight of them as a commission sheep salesman, the move from sheep to wool is a comfortable one for John.
“I’m very familiar with the people and the issues,” he said. “I was reared at Dalmar, north of Aramac, and was a part-owner until dogs chased us out six or seven years ago.”
He sympathises with clients battling the odds of prolonged drought and wild dog predation to get a wool clip to market, but said at the same time, it was a wonderful time for sheep and wool.
Clients – Elders has wool clips between Tambo and Richmond – haven’t seen the returns currently being realised in their lifetime.
“Hopefully, with the fences going up, people will go back into wool sheep,” he said.
“With the wool market where it is, the money is there to get back in.
“As well as the fleece you have the lamb and the sale value of the cast for age ewe.”
Along with keeping an eagle eye on wool clips for clients, John has been tasked with helping newly fenced clients source sheep to restock their paddocks.
“It’s no secret to say that people will have to be prepared to pay a lot of money, and older ewes might have to stay a year or two longer in the paddock,” he said.
Some six years ago, amid the great wool industry exodus, John held the record among Elders for selling the largest number of sheep on AuctionsPlus, when the wild dog impact was at its harshest.
Last week in Sydney, a tableful of Breed More Wool magnets disappeared rapidly, a sign for John that sheep and wool are making a comeback.