Committed woolgrowers looking for heavy cutting Merino and Poll Merino rams flocked to Willandra, Jerilderie to satisfy their annual ram replacement requirements.
For their 39th annual on-property ram sale, Ross and Irene Wells and their family penned 100 rams in individual pens, along with 20 pens of three as a ‘Mini Auction’, for clients to top up their requirements..
Top price for the auction sale was $12,000 paid for a Merino ram, when 47 sold for an average of $2,717.
Top price for Poll Merino was $6,250 with 47 sold for average price $2,962.77.
Overall average for the single pen auction rams was $2,837 for the 94 sold of the 100 offered.
In the ‘Mini Auction’ of pens of three, top price of $3,000 for a ram was achieved with 35 rams sold for $1,562 average.
After the sale, Greg Andrews, Hamilton Run Merinos, Jamestown, SA, paid $15,000 for a reserved Poll Merino ram which was on display.
Returning to Willandra, Mr Andrews bought the ram for his outstanding length of body combined with length of staple and density of fleece.
“We are after increased fleece weight, and the ram also has a beautiful head and heavy bone with purity of fleece,” he said.
“He is everything I am looking for in a Poll Merino, and the Willandra stud has genetic depth indicated in the quality and evenness of the rams being sold today.”
Weighing 119 kilograms, and with micron measurement 19.1 Mr Andrews’ new ram will be joined to specially selected stud ewes.
Mr Andrews purchased a further ram during the auction for $3,750.
During the auction of one hundred individually penned rams, top price at $12,000 was paid for Merino ram bought by Ian and Camilla Shippen, Banyandah Pastoral Co, “Leiwah”, Moulamein, who was assisted with their selection by their Wangaratta-based sheep classer Bob Simson.
Born of an AI program using semen from the Woodyarup stud, Broomehill, WA, he had the impressive figures of 160.7 per cent for fleece weight with micron measurement 22.1 and comfort factor 99.4 per cent.
The Shippen operation join 45,000 Merino ewes in a self-replacing flock, and will use their new sire to breed their own replacement rams.
Mr Shippen has been buying rams from Willandra for the past 15 years, and thought his latest purchase attractive for his outlook and productive potential.
“He is a very heavy wool cutter and a big stylish type of ram,” he said.
“A very productive animal and as we place a lot of emphasis on wool cut, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find these types of sheep.”
The fifth ram offered at the auction, a Merino with very attractive outlook was bought by Will Roberts, Victoria Downs Merino stud, Charleville, QLD.
Mr Roberts saw the ram at the Bendigo and Dubbo shows where it achieved grand champion unhoused ram at Bendigo and reserve champion medium wool in the open classes at Dubbo.
“He has beautiful wool,” Mr Roberts said.
“His wool is very soft for the amount he is growing, and with his heavy cutting potential he is an ideal sire to lift fleece weights under Queensland conditions.”
He has the figures of 124.6 per cent fleece weight and 20 microns with 99.8 per cent Comfort Factor.
Excellent sales included $6,250 for a Merino ram bought by Mark Wettenhall, Cara Pty Ltd, Jerilderie, $6,000 for a Poll Merino bought by Johnston Farming, “Twin Oaks”, West Wyalong and $6,000 for Poll Merino bought by BA and Hl, RC Kluska, Kiandra Poll Merinos, Bordertown, SA.
The Kluska family also purchased a further Poll Merino ram for $4,500.
Also featuring among the top end were W Gould and Sons, Richmond Plains, Victoria, who purchased four rams for a top of $5,500 and average price of $4,000.
Bullawyn Pastoral, Karabeal, Victoria and Brookvale Pty Ltd, Jerilderie, each paid $5,000 for rams..
Volume buyers included the T.J. Henwood Family Trust, “Howlong”, Carrathool who bought 19 to $4,250: Andrew Sleigh, Sleigh Pastoral Co, “Kooringal”, Jerilderie who paid to $3,500 for his draft of 18 and M.J and N.M Hicks, “Springfield”, Cootamundra, who added to their sire battery with 13 rams also paying to $3,500 for their selection.
Current leader of the Peter Westblade Memorial Challenge National Wether Trial, with the highest value wool cut and long time supporter of the Willandra genetic direction, Keith Lord, “Homeview”, Junee, bought 10 rams to top of $4,500.
Victorian wool growers included M. R and L. M Burge, Woosang who paid to $2750 for their six rams which averaged $1733; and the Colvin Family Trust, Axedale who secured three rams to top of $2100, twice.
Speaking after the sale, Mr Wells said he was extremely pleased with the results.
“Due to the reputation of our clients to produce big wool cuts, we are seeing extremely strong demand for rams that have got the extra wool cutting ability,” he said.
“There were several new buyers looking for that extra production.
“Although the season is tough, it is great to see such confidence in the Merino industry.”
The sale was conducted by Landmark Mills, Finley and Elders, Jerilderie with Ron Rutledge and Peter Godbolt sharing auctioneering duties.