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By AMANDA BOWES

The number of sheep on offer at the upcoming Hawarden Ewe Fair has surprised stock agents and has resulted in a two day sale this week.

Livestock agent for Rural Livestock Kevin Rowe says after a meeting of agents it was decided to split the sale.

“There is around 33,000 ewes on offer and realistically the sale yards can hold about 19,000 so the sale will be on the Tuesday and Friday.”

With a large number of ewes having been sold because of drought conditions over the past three years, agents were expecting a one day sale.

On the Tuesday, two tooths and capital stock will be on offer – about 18,000 head and on the Friday the traditional lines of older ewes with some mixed age will be up for grabs.

The majority, over both days are cross bred ewes, with composites and fine wool making up the rest of the offering.

Sheep will be local, from Marlborough and Banks Peninsula. Changes in farming practices and some local farm sales have boosted numbers.

While northwest winds have hammered the Hawarden area for the past 10 days, it is hoped some respite from forecast rain will have the saleyards in a relatively dust free condition.

The first sale starts at 11am on Tuesday, January 24, with the second sale on Friday, January 27, starting at the same time.

Auctioneering is an art. To be an auctioneer you have to be quick on your feet, quick thinking and be able to engage the buyers.

I asked Kevin Rowe how the auctioneers made their voices last the distance, particularly in the days when sales were nearly daily.

“The key to not losing your voice is to project your voice from your diaphragm and deep breathing. If you try to shout from your throat, you lose your voice.”

He says when he started as an auctioneer, they were trained how to use their voices by a professional singer – the principles are exactly the same.