News

Australia’s first multi-vendor unmulesed Merino ewe sale goes online next month

Terry Sim, January 19, 2018

AUSTRALIA’S first multi-vendor unmulesed Merino ewe sale will be held by AuctionsPlus next month.

Between 10,000-15,000 joined and unjoined ewes and hoggets are expected to be listed in the February 27 sale, which is being organised by the SRS Merino company with AuctionsPlus among SRS studs and commercial growers.

SRS sheep are plain-bodied Merinos bred with a distinctive long-stapled fleece structure able to handle varying rainfall zones, and to have the attributes of high fertility, good muscle, genetic fat and early growth.

SRS sale organiser Paul Favaloro said the online auction will be first specific multi-vendor of unmulesed ewes, apart from previous AuctionsPlus sales by individual breeders.

Mr Favaloro said the sale hoped to help sheep producers wanting to source unmulesed sheep to meet the increasing demand for unmulesed wool.

“This will help them get there a lot quicker.

“The industry is certainly wanting more unmulesed wool.”

Unmulesed Merino and first cross ewes often sell at a discount in auction sales, with Australian Wool Innovation estimating the discounts for unmulesed Merino ewes and wethers could be 25-35 percent.

However, Mr Favaloro said he was aware of Merino breeders who mules because they believe growers will not buy unmulesed sheep, “when there is certainly no reason not to buy them.”

However, to improve buyer understanding and confidence, the unmulesed sale ewes will have their natural bare breech skin area ranked according to its equivalence to a light, moderate or radical mules.

Parkdale Merino Stud co-principal at Dubbo, Don Mudford, said the flock pioneered the bare breech ranking assessment of sale ewes for AuctionsPlus sales after noticing some buyer resistance toward unmulesed sheep at saleyards. Surplus Parkdale ewes with the assessment now sold online for a premium to repeat buyers, he said. Parkdale has not mulesed since 2004.

Mr Mudford’s son Robert said the SRS flock will offer about 1850 surplus ewes in the sale, including unjoined 5.5-8 year-old ewes and joined one-year-olds. The flock’s surplus ewes had previously been sold on AuctionsPlus.

Glenwood Merino stud principal Norman Smith said some of his ram clients would have sheep in the sale. The stud implemented the SRS system in 1996. He is unable to offer sheep in the sale due to a recent property sale, but has previously sold many ewes to first cross breeders.

Karbullah Merino Stud principal, Mark Murphy at Goondiwindi, said the sale is a great idea, but he would be unable to support it after seasonal conditions forced the early sale of surplus sheep last year. He sold ewes intended for the sale late last year due to the declining seasonal conditions in northern Queensland.

Mr Favaloro said if the February 27 sale was successful then another ewe sale would possibly be held this Spring.

“And if we can get the numbers together we will possibly have a ewe and wether sale in Autumn and Winter.”

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