Wilgunya Merinos record $2900 top and $1650 average

Sally Gall
By Sally Gall
Updated October 13 2020 - 6:12am, first published October 8 2020 - 12:00pm
Rhett Butler, Yeranbah, Dirranbandi, St George-Dirranbandi Elders branch manager Lachie Radford, and Wilgunya Merino Stud principal Max Wilson with the top priced ram of the sale.

Sale summary: 110 rams sold; top price $2900; average price $1649.09; 100pc clearance.

Longreach wool producers made their presence felt at the 2020 Wilgunya Merino sale on-property at Dirranbandi on Thursday, with two parties from out west buying more than half the rams on sale between them.

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In doing so they helped the stud to a 100 per cent clearance and a $1650 average, a solid endorsement for Max, Heather, Benn and Karena Wilson and their breeding aims.

Underlining that, repeat buyers Rhett and Belinda Butler, Yeranbah, Dirranbandi finished the day as the new owners of the top-priced ram, Wilgunya 1584, paying $2900.

Like all the rams on offer he was Sep-Oct 2019 drop, and had the strongest micron in the catalogue, of 20.2 microns, matched with a comfort factor of 99.31 per cent.

All six of the rams the Butlers bidded successfully on were in the 20 micron range and Mr Butler said he was selecting on a slightly heavier micron, as well as frame and wool coverage, because he thought that suited his climate just over the NSW border the best.

He's been buying from Wilgunya for the past five or six years and said they were proven with his self-replacing Merino flock, performing every year.

"The top one had just a bit heavier micron," he said.

"We didn't need as many this year, only six, because all our rams came in and the drought meant we didn't have any cast for age or cull rams.

"That meant I wanted what I wanted, and was willing to pay for it."

His six rams cost him an average $2233.

Longreach's Mike and Sue Pratt have been regular Wilgunya clients and were so again this year, ironically vying with the purchaser of their Stonehenge property Waroona throughout the afternoon.

The Pratts, based at Ban Ban, Longreach selected 19 rams for an average $1373 via Elders' sheep and wool specialist Peter Sealy, under the trading name of Waroona Pastoral Co.

The new owner of Waroona, Graham McDermott, working with newly-appointed Elders Merino specialist Duncan Ferguson, bought 40 rams for an average $1590, as the Waroona Grazing Trust.

Elders northern zone wool manager Bruce McLeish, Merino production specialist Duncan Ferguson, and sheep and wool specialist Peter Sealy, were busy with orders at the sale.

Speaking on his behalf, Mr Ferguson said because Waroona had been on Wilgunya bloodlines for years and he had inherited the flock, he wanted to continue with that.

"He saw they had been successful with lambings and heavy wool cuts," Mr Ferguson said. "Today we were selecting for a western Queensland type - soft-handling, crimpy, well-nourished wool on a big framed animal."

His highest priced ram was Wilgunya 1635, who had a micron of 18.4, a standard deviation of 2.74, and a comfort factor of 99.94pc, purchased for $2100.

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Local client Ross Hindle, based at Melrose, Thallon, figured in much of the afternoon's bidding and he finished with 13 head, paying a top of $1900 three times.

Also finishing with 13 rams were DM and ME Hartog, Collarenabri, NSW.

They stepped in early to buy three of the first four rams, but it was lot 48, Wilgunya 1600, with an 18.1 micron, a standard deviation of 3.01, and a comfort factor of 99.84pc, that they paid their top money of $2400 for.

Wilgunya's Max and Benn Wilson, left and second right, followed Steve Burnett's enthusiastic auctioneering intently.

Stud principal Max Wilson said that so much had happened to Queensland woolgrowers in the past years that he was very satisfied with Thursday's result.

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"We've been in the middle of something brutal, you've got to give everyone a couple of years to get going again," he said.

"The sale fell just where I expected it to, rams selling for sensible money and an average well up on last year.

"A couple of regular buyers were missing but the new one was keen as mustard."

A total of 15 bid cards were issued.

  • Selling agents: Dirranbandi Pastoral Agency, Elders, Nutrien
Sally Gall

Sally Gall

Senior journalist - Queensland Country Life/North Queensland Register

Based at Blackall, CW Qld, where I've raised a family, run Merino sheep and beef cattle, and helped develop a region - its history, tourism, education and communications.

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