Prices might have been down on previous sales, but the Sheffield Ewe Fair was filled to the brim.

More than 15,000 ewes went under the hammer at the annual ewe fair on Friday, February 15, making it one of the largest ewe fairs in the South Island this summer.

PGG Wrightson auctioneer Glenn Peddie said while the prices were down, he was pleased to see plenty of farmers keen to buy some capital stock.

''The sale was very fair without the strength of the earlier fairs, with some very good value of buying for farmers.

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''The older ewes in particular were very strong and it was great to see a strong gallery of farmer buyers, rather than the works buyers, which is something we haven't had in the last few years.''

Hazlett auctioneer Phil Manera gets proceedings under way in pen 1 at the Sheffield Ewe Fair. This pen, vendored by Glenburn Enterprises, of West Melton, sold for $248. Photo / David Hill
Hazlett auctioneer Phil Manera gets proceedings under way in pen 1 at the Sheffield Ewe Fair. This pen, vendored by Glenburn Enterprises, of West Melton, sold for $248. Photo / David Hill

Peddie said $251 was the day's top price, down from $324 at Temuka and $280 at Hawarden last month.

The day started with overcast conditions, which was a welcome relief for the stock agents, transport operators and volunteers who erected portable pens and loading ramps to pack in the sheep.

Hazlett auctioneer Ed Marfell said the stock agents had done a good job fitting the sheep into the yards.

''In past years we've had overflows on to neighbouring farms and that creates issues getting around all the sheep, so we've done our best to fit them all in,'' he said.

Members of the Sheffield combined churches, Jenny Bassett (left), Mary Pellett, Frances Smith, Theckla Barnhill, Val Mackenzie, CeCe James (Central Saleyards Ltd secretary) and Eleanor Green. Photo / David Hill
Members of the Sheffield combined churches, Jenny Bassett (left), Mary Pellett, Frances Smith, Theckla Barnhill, Val Mackenzie, CeCe James (Central Saleyards Ltd secretary) and Eleanor Green. Photo / David Hill

Peter Walsh & Associates stock agent Allister Orchard said vendors travelled from as far afield as Marlborough and South Canterbury.

''We haven't got the big lines of capital stock that we've had in past years, but there's still plenty of demand for breeding ewes and it's the last real opportunity to get a volume of genuine quality ewes.''

Sheffield combined churches organised the catering and worked from a marquee catering for up to 140 stock agents, transport operators and farmers.