07 DEC 2023

Wrapping up the 2023 stud selling season

An easing of commercial livestock prices this year has not stopped buyers looking to invest in quality genetics. While some states did record slight downfalls in stud stock, overall it was been a pretty solid and resilient year.  

Read on for a wrap up of the stud selling season in each state from Elders stud stock managers.

Victoria and Riverina 

Considering the challenging environment of the downturn in commodity prices of sheep and cattle, stud sales still maintained strong averages and clearance rates for both bulls and rams, with sale results being reflective of the strong selling year of 2021. 

Autumn bull sales were again extremely strong and only had slight decreases on averages from the record selling season of 2022.  Spring bull sales continued on this similar trend.  

The spring ram selling season was very successful for our clients, considering the current valuation of mutton and lamb. Strong averages and clearance rates were achieved at the majority of these sales with similar results trending towards 2021 sale achievements. 

Elders once again conducted more stud sales than any other agency within the Victoria and Riverina area, with the network displaying solid buying support and presence at the majority of these sales. - Ross Milne, Elders Stud Stock Manager, Victoria and Riverina.

Queensland and Northern Territory 

The Queensland stud selling season has virtually wrapped up for another year. Early sales were least affected by the market correction, but as we worked through the calendar seasonal conditions deteriorated. Fires sadly wiped out large areas of dry feed and the weakening cattle market impacted negatively on stud sale results.   

Early sales saw corrections of 20 per cent (pc) to 25 pc in values from last year’s record highs with clearances rates running anywhere from 80 pc to 100 pc. As we progressed through the calendar, we saw clearances dip as low as 40 pc and average prices less than half for the same sale compared to 2022. 

An initiative implemented by Elders Qld/ NT saw an increase in the buyer activity from Queensland and NT branches, which is positive news for our clients.  Our 2024 sales calendar kicks off on Wednesday 17 January, so we are all hoping for an uptick in the market and seasonal conditions between now and then.  Early storm rain has started to fall over parts of Queensland and NT, so here’s hoping it continues and spreads out over the entire region. Small improvements in the commercial cattle market over the last two or three weeks has been positive and pleasing to see.  

The Elders Queensland and NT stud stock team has some exciting changes happening in 2024 that I will share with you soon.  

I would like to thank all our clients, both vendors and purchasers, for your continued support throughout 2023 and I would also like to wish you all a merry and safe Christmas, and prosperous New Year. - Michael Smith, Elders Stud Stock Manager, Queensland/Northern Territory.

South Australia 

With the stud spring sales now complete, the results have been somewhat mixed depending on the breeds. In South Australia, our spring sales are all sheep breeds, with only one bull sale being the Granite Ridge Angus Spring Bull Sale held at their property at Avenue Range. The SA bull sales are held from February to April. 

In summary, Merino sales started late in July until mid-September, and were very successful, considering the downturn in the price of lamb and mutton and the lack lustre wool market. Clearances were generally close to 100 pc, and prices back 10 to 20 pc, which didn’t reflect the larger price drop in the commercial market. 

Dohne and SAMMs  in SA only have a small following, with the handful of sales clearing to a number with averages down considerably on last year. The quality is excellent but just lack demand at present in today’s market. 

In White Suffolks, Poll Dorsets and Suffolks, the Terminal Ram Sales also held strong again with clearances similar to last year’s sales, generally 80 to 100 pc and averages generally back 10 to 15 pc. That result was good considering that many studs have steadily increased their offering over recent years. 

The predictable cycle of the Border Leicester breed, with an oversupply of rams in a cycle of reduced commercial demand, saw sales struggle with clearance and averages well back on the previous few years. 

Composite breed sales also struggled for clearance, and sold at base averages with commercial producers opting for other options due to the meat and wool prices. 

The well-established Dorper sales continued with reasonable clearances and averages because of their existing commercial client base. 

The newer shedding breeds Aussie Whites and Ultra Whites hit a speed bump with a definite slowing of momentum towards their breeds and an increase in available rams. 

Against the odds an isolated Sheep Master ram sale in a suitable geographic area supplying strong local demand had an extremely good clearance and average. 

The dry spring did take the edge off some sales but all in all a very solid ram selling season. - Tony Wetherall, Elders Stud Stock Sales Specialist, South Australia


The Tasmanian stud selling season has wrapped up for another year, and given the current climate and market, our season has still held quite well.  

Our autumn run bull sales saw a very strong following across the board, with high clearance percentages and much higher average prices then seen previously. Throughout our spring selling season, given the downfall in the market over the previous months, we have still seen the interest from local and mainland buyers needed to make our sales successful.  

Our bull and ram sales have still seen strong clearance rates considering the rising number of sires and females that have been offered.  

Wishing everyone a very safe and merry Christmas and I am looking forward to seeing everyone in the 2024 selling season. - Gavin Coombe, Elders Livestock Manager, Tasmania. 

New South Wales 

The NSW stud sale season finished on a more positive note than one may have expected in the leadup.  

While clearances and averages certainly pulled back from the record previous year’s results, the impact was not as harsh as some of the declines seen in the commercial store and prime livestock marketplaces. 

As the season progressed, patterns emerged amongst the results achieved that reflected the support of individual breeds, species and breeding programs. Seedstock producers that are well established in the industry with long term and loyal client bases fared much better than many of the newer, lesser-known breeders, who may have been overlooked in a season that certainly turned into the buyer’s favour. Also apparent was that the ‘fear of missing out’ mentality seen amongst buyers over the past couple of seasons had dissipated, as they became more selective and unafraid to let a sire pass by and wait for a more suitable option. 

In the sheep space, the Merino breed saw a very solid season in the context of the broader market, as buyers recognised the longer-term cycle of breeding Merinos and the value of the wool product in comparison to other livestock commodities. An odd Merino sale in fact saw an improvement in their result over last year. 

The meat sheep and terminal ram marketplace struggled through the season, reflecting the sharp pullback in lamb and mutton prices, and the shorter-term nature of the prime lamb breeding enterprise.  

All things considered and with a feeling of ‘the only way is up’ in terms of seasons and markets, any move in that direction will instil the confidence once again, sending buyers back into the market for bulls and rams.  - Paul Jameson, Elders Stud Stock Manager, New South Wales.