Come Spring each year and it's time to sell last years whether lambs. What's a whether you ask? A whether lamb is a castrated male lamb. (and for future reference a ewe is a female sheep, rams are the male stud breeding sheep and a stag is an incorrectly castrated male sheep ... who still has one testicle.)
It's always a fine balancing act to grow the lamb to weigh as much as possible before they cut their first teeth; once that happens they are known as hoggets or mutton ...and the price per head drops dramatically.
This year we sold around 2,500 whether lambs to Country Fresh Meats in Tamworth, NSW and they would have appeared on the supermarket shelves only a day or so after leaving the station.
In days gone we sold sheep by either A) having an agent and a buyer come onto the station to look at the sheep on offer, or B) trucking the sheep to a saleyard for auction. Narromine is our closes saleyard, approx. 420 km away.
Invariably it came to pass that we on occasion practically gave our sheep away at a sales, whether it was because our sheep were poor due to drought, the eastern portion of Australia was in drought so very few were buying or maybe just that no one at the sale was particularly interested in the livestock we were offering. Once we'd trucked sheep to sale we were committed to selling them as it was too expensive to turn around and bring them back home again.
These days the majority of our livestock are sold via the internet in what basically amounts to eBay for Livestock. Auctions Plus is an online auction whereby you can list your stock and set a reserve, so if the reserve isn't met, the stock don't sell .... And they are still at home on the station so there is no outlay on our part. When they do sell it is the new owners responsibility to truck the livestock to his property. This method of selling has revolutionised the sale of livestock, particularly for those living in isolated and remote location.
Mustering is always an early morning activity.... in the summer months it's cooler and the sheep are happier to walk in the cool of the day. Gary takes to the sky in his Cessna 172 just on daylight and controls the muster from his vantage point above. On the ground today we had our two youngest sons, AJ and Will (home on school holidays).They ride 2 wheel motor bikes, equipped with a UHF radio, so that Gary can talk to them, directing them whereever he wants them to go.