ONGOING confidence in the wool market pushed the Sheepvention ram sale to another record in Hamilton this week.
Cementing itself as one of the most reliable multi-vendor wool breed offerings in the country, the sale offered 290 rams, and joint agents Elders and Landmark sold 261 for a record average price of $3674.
This beat the record average set just last year by more than $400, with the 2017 sale clearing 247 of 270 rams and averaging $3270.
Landmark auctioneer Andrew Sloan said there was plenty of commercial support at the sale, and it was solid despite the drought in parts of the country.
“There wasn’t that much action from the north, we do get a bit of northern support down here normally, but of course they are madly selling ewes up there not buying rams, so you could expect that a little bit,” he said.
Mr Sloan said not much had changed in terms of the type of ram in demand, with buyers chasing heavy cutters in the 18 to 21 micron that would breed progeny with big enough frames to be exported.
And despite criticism from some in the industry, Mr Sloan said the pen of five selling system at Hamilton was a strong element of the sale’s success.
“You can come here and look at five rams from a stud, or 10 if they have two pens in, so you can at least compare a bit, where if you go to a sale where they are only putting one up, you don’t know what the rest are like,” he said.
“And that is why they try to get an even pen…and people can see what they are producing, if they can produce five rams that look pretty good it gives them an emphasis to buy them.”
Strong demand for Poll Merino rams was highlighted by South Australian stud Moorundie Poll topping the sale for the third year running, this time at $20,000.
Principals Geoff and Bernadette Davidson from Keith averaged $9600 for the pen of five the topped price ram came out of, with a second ram from that pen making $11,000.
The sale topper was a 16 month-old poll sire growing a fleece that tested 18.3 micron, 3.1 micron standard deviation, 16.9 percent co-efficient of variation, and 99.4pc comfort factor.
It was sired by the ram that topped the same sale for the Davidson’s two years earlier at $30,000.
Mr Davidson said the sale was good, but the ram quality was even better, with some good value to be found.
“There are probably 10 stud here that you can see a big improvement in their sheep, and it is a good sign for the industry, along with the current good prices,” he said.
The $20,000 ram sold to Keith, South Australia, commercial producers Chad and Kim Makin of Makin Nominees and Mike Allen, Warrawee Park, who plan to use the sire to breed rams for their own operations.
A number of first-time vendors at the sale couldn’t have been happier with their results, including Georgina Wallace of Trefusis stud, who brought rams from Tasmania for the first time and sold them to a top of $7000, averaging $3800.
She said the highlight was selling two rams each to two new clients.
“It was a good solid sale, I thought it was tougher at Bendigo (the Australian Sheep and Wool Show ram sale in July) but there was more competition here, as they are having a better season – for producers in NSW, buying rams is the last thing on their minds,” Mrs Wallace said.
Trefusis has just started a polled division of their stud, with the first lambs being born now and to be offered next year. Mrs Wallace said with stud Merino registrations now at about 50pc polled and 50pc horned, the strong genetic base for polled sheep had grown with their popularity.
“We had clients that liked our sheep and our wool, but wanted polls so we have adapted to that,” she said.
Also selling for the first time at Sheepvention was Dean Bennett of Bennmann Merinos at Everton Upper, who cleared his pen of five for a $1500 average, topping at $2250.
Mr Bennett agreed that the excellent season in Victoria’s west made for a more buoyant sale then Bendigo.
“We were rapt to clear them…we brought them down as a service for clients in this area and to get others to view our sheep, we’ll definitely be back next year,” he said.
The top-priced Bennmann ram weighed 97kg at 10 months of age, and Mr Bennett said the sale suited those looking for good growth, as the early entry date meant rams had to be selected on early maturity.
Topping at $7000 twice and averaging $4450 was first-time vendor Craig Trickey of Coryule Merinos, Willowvale, who followed up from selling the $20,000 equal top-priced ram at Bendigo with another strong result.
Mr Trickey said he had been working towards offering a pen at Hamilton, as it was not worth presenting rams he wasn’t completely happy with.
“Buyers are looking for good cutting, long stapled free wool that will do well in the Western District environment.”