Sheep and wool prices have experienced newfound optimism along with various other commodities and the results at the Wilgunya Merino ram sale on Thursday were testament to the market boost.
The Wilgunya Merino Stud offered and sold 80 single rams for an average of $1732 and a gross of $138,600. A total of 57 rams were offered and sold in pens of three for an overall sale average of $1467 grossing at $200,100.
Those present waited until the final single ram went to auction to see a sale topping price- lot 80 sold to Allan Montgomery, Niminbah, Thallon, for $4000.
The ram offered an 18.5 micron measurement and a comfort factor of 98.85 per cent, although purchaser Mr Montgomery said he took little notice of the numbers on paper.
“You can send samples away to three different facilities and get them back with three different sets of results so I just judge on the look of the sheep before me,” he said.
“I want my flock averaging about 20 microns but the measurement is often taken when they’re young lambs and their micron measurement can rise as they get older.
“I liked this particular ram’s form and wool type- I’ve been throughout China learning exactly what the market is looking for and what’s needed so I select a ram based on whether it will improve my ewes or not.”
Mr Montgomery said he ran about 4000 sheep on his Thallon property and joined select rams to about 2000 breeding ewes, purchasing between three and five rams from Wilgunya annually.
“We started off with stud ewes and only ever bought rams in and have been doing that since 1954,” he said.
“My family goes back to the first Merinos ever brought into Australia.”
Mr Montgomery bought three rams on sale day for a total of $7500.
The sale comprised of 100 per cent return buyers, many of whom bought a significant number of rams to assist with flock rebuilding on account of an improvement in seasonal conditions.
Phillip and Lynne King, Runnymede, Bollon, picked up 17 rams under the hammer to total $20,100 while Hindle Grazing, Melrose, Thallon, took home 20 rams totalling $26,500.
New South Wales buyers were also active at the sale with DM and ME Hartog, Kyeema, Walgett, purchasing 16 lots for $24,200.
Wilgunya Merino Stud principle Max Wilson said the results were outstanding and represented the stud’s second best sale on record.
“I wasn’t expecting that this year. I was hoping to get to this standard next year or the year after because I thought even though its rained and everyone’s got a mile of feed the money hasn’t changed dramatically and there are still plenty of empty paddocks so I didn’t think demand would be that strong,” he said.
“Exclusion fences have been a dynamic move for the industry and I see it as a major way for people to stay in the bush- if you can double your production in this country by putting a fence up you don’t have to do the figures for long to work out you’re mad not doing it.
“All we have to do is get numbers on the ground and we’ll be productive.”
Elders district wool manager Brett Smith said the results showed renewed confidence in the Merino industry.
“Hopefully we’ve reached our low point and it’s upwards from here,” he said.
“It’s essentially only self replacing people left in Queensland so everyone is trying to build their numbers up as quick as they can and a continuation of good lambings will be the key.
“There is a good economic climate in Merinos and it’s a good time to be involved.”