WHEN Wilgunya Merino Stud principal Max Wilson saw the first hammer fall at $2400 for their annual ram sale today, he thought “you bloody beauty!”
The winning bidder was Walgett’s David Harthog.
His purchase of the auction opener toppled last year’s highest price by $250 to plant a firm smile on the Dirranbandi stud principal’s face for the remaining 79 single-pen auction rams as they all cleared.
“She starts strong and you’ll finish strong,” Mr Wilson later commented.
He was right.
The sale held solid to average $1428.75 – a 12pc jump on last year.
Lot 23 saw the top price matched when Wee Waa producer Jim Hunt raised his card for $2400.
The ram measured 17.8 micron, held a standard deviation (SD) of 2.73, coefficient of variation (CV) of 15.34 and a comfort factor (CF) of 99.97.
Mr Hunt has been in the Merino game for 35 years at Elmore Spring Plains, north of Wee Waa, NSW.
He is down to 1000 Merino ewes after cutting back due to dry conditions and wasn’t present at last year’s sale.
Mr Hunt bought a total of six rams, cracking the $2000 mark four times, with the remaining two sliding in for a $1500 steal each.
“What they’ve put on today are the best I’ve seen,” Mr Hunt said.
He noted the “exceptional fleece” and yield as standouts for opting with the Wilgunya bloodline.
“The constitution of the ones I bought; [they’re] heavier boned, plenty of barrel and they have meat on them,” he added.
Rhett Butler, Yeranbah, Lightning Ridge, NSW, came back to reclaim the position of volume buyer with 10 rams – equalled by Ross Hindle of Hindle Grazing Co.
Mr Butler’s purchase averaged at $1560.
The buy completes Mr Butler’s goal of converting to 100pc auction-grade Wilgunya Merino rams, after picking up 17 last year and hauling 32 at the 2013 sale.
Other auction volume buyers included Paul Lamerand, Mulga Downs, Bollon, seven rams; David Harthog, Kyeema, Walgett, six rams; and the Schmidt family, Wallen Pastoral Co, Cunnamulla, six rams.
After another year of dry conditions Mr Wilson said he “wasn’t expecting” the sale to go as well as the one in 2014, which also cleared 80 single-pen auction rams; three post-auction.
“It’s a fantastic result and consistency. All of our clients are in the worst drought zones in Australia,” Mr Wilson said.
“It’s a reflection of their faith in the sheep industry.”
- Agents: Steve Burnett, Dirranbandi Pastoral Agency, Elders and Landmark.