Lamb sales are soaring in the high country.
Prices at the Omarama sale last Thursday morning hit $163 for a pen of half-breds from Glenbrook Station, owned by Federated Farmers national High Country Industry Group chairman and North Otago president Simon Williamson.
The best price for merinos went to Tara Hills - $141 for a pen of wether lambs.
The overall yarding of 19,000 lambs was two to three thousand down on last year, Peter Walsh and Associates livestock broker Madison Taylor told Central Rural Life.
Last year's Omarama lamb sale was the first since the Cromwell saleyards closed down, so there had been an influx of vendors from Central Otago.
This year there was only one from outside the area.
''It was better supported by locals,'' Taylor said.
He attributed the high prices to ''positivity in the wool market and in the lamb market''.
Prices had started off really well around Christmas, but he expected there would be more of a lull by now.
With such a high number of lambs on offer, buyers would find something they liked, Taylor said.
They could also be confident that lambs reared on such tough country would ''come off there pretty good''.
He expected the Tekapo lamb sale, which followed in the afternoon, would achieve similar results, although some of the stock came from easier country.
Fellow Peter Walsh and Associates livestock broker Lindsay Holland confirmed Tekapo was ''pretty much the same as Omarama''.
''It was very, very strong. There was a tremendous buying gallery there, and they stayed until the end.
''There were a lot of black-faced merinos and half-breds.''
The vendors were happy, but the purchasers were ''hurting a bit'', Holland said.
One farmer who did not buy anything at Omarama thought he had better pick up something at Tekapo.
The highest price paid was $151 for merinos from The Wolds Station.
''They were good sheep.
''They're big sheep, they'll cut a good clip, and you'll get them away with no trouble at all to meet your lamb contract,'' Holland said.
He believed - and hoped - the buoyant sales would carry on.