Mark Williams, picture with his stockhand Shannon Davidson, cleared his farm of old sheep to make way for a fresh line as he reenters the lamb trade.
Mark Williams, picture with his stockhand Shannon Davidson, cleared his farm of old sheep to make way for a fresh line as he reenters the lamb trade. Michael Nolan

There's money to be made in times of drought

WORD of last week's bumper lamb prices spread far and wide and it has prompted fresh players to get in on the sheep trade.

A pen of eight dorset cross lambs sold for $296/head at the Warwick Sheep Sale, the highest price on record for the selling complex.

It's a price that inspired Mark Williams to make a bold move.

He jumped onto Auction Plus and bought up a fresh mob of 330 white dorper ewes and lambs with a plan to restart his dormant sheep grazing operation.

"We've been at the sales a few times and watched the sucker lambs go through and I reckon there's an opportunity there," Mr Williams said.

The Westbrook cocky rears beef cattle for most part and kept a mob of dorpers as a hobby.

But he trucked all 78 head of his ageing sheep to market on Wednesday in hopes of fresh start.

"This is the first lot we've sold in the long while, at least a couple of years," he said.

"These are sheep we've had for the past 15 years, we're trading out of them so we have a nice even line of ewes that we can work from."

The high lamb price is one factor behind Mr Williams' decision.

He is also having a tough time feeding his cattle and he reckons sheep area safe bet at the moment.

"When I was kid, sheep were always in drought country and now the drought is down home, so I'm going in to sheep now," he said.

While the mob he sold on Wednesday might not have been up to the standard of Mr Williams' new purchases, they still sold well.

Eight of his oat-fattened lambs topped the sale at $257/head.