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Gunallo Poll Merino stud’s $16,000 ram gives Classings sale trifecta

Terry Sim, September 5, 2016
Classings Classic top $16,000 ram, holding Brad Schroeder, from left, buyer Stuart Croft, Landmark's Kevin Beaton, Ray Schroeder, sale convenor Bill Walker, Landmark auctioneer Gordon Wood.

Classings Classic top $16,000 ram, holding Brad Schroeder, from left, buyer Stuart Croft, Landmark’s Kevin Beaton, Ray Schroeder, sale convenor Bill Walker, Landmark auctioneer Gordon Wood.

PINNAROO’S Gunallo Poll Merino Stud has sold the top-priced ram at the prestigious South Australian Classings Classic sale for the third consecutive year.

On the first day of World Merino Insight conference events at the Murray Bridge Racecourse, Gunallo’s Lot 1, a March 2015-drop 19.1 micron poll ram, Tag 150702, sold for $16,000 to repeat buyer Stuart Croft from Hatfield, western New South Wales, and his agent Landmark Hamilton wool manager Kevin Beaton.

Selling agents Landmark and Elders sold 79 of 82 rams offered in the sale for an average of $4490, just shy of the $4569 result last year.

Ten rams sold for $10,000 or more in the sale which attracted more than 100 registered bidders. The top-priced rams included Glenlea Park’s Lot 10, $11,000; Ridgway’s Lot 11, $10,000, and Lot 12, $14,500; Ridgway Advance’s Lot 27, $10,000, Lot 28, $13,000, and Lot 31, $14,000; Kamora Park’s Lot 41, $13,000; Terrick West’s Lot 75, $11,000, and; Coddington Poll’s Lot 78, $11,000.

Gunallo Merino stud sold the top-priced ram in the 2015 Classings Classic for $30,000 and in 2014 the stud’s best ram made $18,000 to top the sale.

Gunallo stud co-principal Brad Schroeder said he and his parents, Ray and Judy, worked hard on their breeding program.

“It took 39 years of stud breeding to get us where we are, and really sticking to the way we want to breed sheep with the AI and ET program – it is good to get a few rewards.”

The stud’s formula included careful attention to structure and balance, purity of wool, skin and polls, and easy care traits, he said.

“You need to be very strict with your guidelines as to what you introduce into the stud and what you use.”

As a MerinoSelect member, Brad said the stud was using Australian Sheep Breeding Values to work towards lifting genetic fat and eye muscle, but without losing clean fleece weight, by working with known genetics.

“Making sure the animal is easy care is basically what we are after.”

Brad’s father Ray said the $16,000 ram was structurally sound with elite wool. He is by an ET Glenlea Park ram GP345 out of an ET-bred ewe, a sister to the $22,000 rams sold in the Adelaide sale three years ago. He said the dam of this year’s $16,000 ram is a sister to the sire of the 2015 top-priced ram.

Stuart Croft had previously bought Sims-Uardry rams for the 6000 ewes he runs with wife Anya on their 24,300 hectare Hatfield station, but lambs by a Gunallo ram he bought last year had impressed him so he returned to the SA sale. His new ram will be used to breed rams in a nucleus stud flock.

“He’s got that really sweet Gunallo wool right across him and he’s got that depth of body as well, so he is a pretty well balanced sheep.

“I’m big on the wool side of things and he is nice free-growing sheep with a long staple, which I think is where the wool cut should come from rather from a denser skin,” he said.

The Crofts’ adult flock averages around 7kg of 20-21 micron wool annually. He always budgets on marking 70-80 percent lambs, but has achieved around 90pc for the last four years. The operation revolves around dropping the Merino lambs in May-June, shearing in September then finishing the wethers on rape, turnips and plantain on a Drumborg property in south-west Victoria. Most are sold over-the-hooks sale to meet the MK or Muslim Kill market at around $90.

Elders auctioneer Tony Wetherall on his way to selling Ridgway's Lot 10 for $11,000, as Damien Webb looks for bids. The Elders team followed this up with $10,000 and then $14,500 for two more Ridgway rams.

Elders auctioneer Tony Wetherall on his way to selling Ridgway’s Lot 10 for $11,000, as Damien Webb looks for bids. The Elders team followed this up with $10,000 and then $14,500 for two more Ridgway rams.

Classings Classic sale convenor Bill Walker said the sale was “a cracker,” with rams suitable for stud breeders and top commercial wool growers.

“The exceptional rams made their dough … it was just rock-solid all the way through.”

Landmark auctioneer said Gordon Wood the sale was tough in patches but the top rams reached their values.

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