The Mountain Dam Merino Stud sells to ‘friendly competitor’

Terry Sim, November 19, 2018

The new team behind The Mountain Dam, from left, Simon, Anthony, Robert and Bernadette Close, with Tom Silcock.

WELL-KNOWN western Victorian Merino stud The Mountain Dam has been sold to the Close family’s Kurra-Wirra Pastoral Company for an undisclosed amount.

The company runs a Merino and Senepol cattle stud at its mixed farming property at Culla, about 63 kilometres south-west of The Mountain Dam stud property, owned by the Silcock family at Telangatuk East.

The deal will include about 900 stud sheep, including 450 ewes with 2018 drop ewe and ram lambs, 2017-drop ram lambs and some stud sires.

Kurra-Wirra today announced the acquisition of the entire The Mountain Dam Poll Merino Stud and said The Mountain Dam stud principal and classer Tom Silcock will be involved in the ongoing management and promotion of the stud. This will be formally announced at Kurra-Wirra’s on-property ram sale on 23 November.

The Close family said it was delighted to acquire the esteemed The Mountain Dam genetics and have the help of Mr Silcock with the Kurra-Wirra breeding program.

Kurra-Wirra managing director Robert Close and Mr Silcock spent all their live working side-by-side in the industry and they are now very excited to have the chance to work together with the younger generation of Close stud breeders. The Close family operation includes Robert and his wife Bernadette and sons Anthony, Simon and Michael.

Kurra-Wirra Merino stud manager Anthony Close said the family was looking to step up its commitment to the Merino industry and was buying “the cream” of the Silcock stud.

“It’s just a perfect fit really and we’ve been good family friends for a long time, so it will be good to put the two together.

“Tom and Dad’s experience with myself, Simon and Michael’s youth and excitement bringing in technology will be a great combination and one we are very excited about.”

Two Merino studs will be run separately initially

Anrthony Close said The Mountain Dam and Kurra-Wirra Merino studs will be kept separate initially.

“Tom has spent his life building up a client base and they know The Mountain Dam.

“So you need to keep that reliability of breeding that Tom has been able to maintain for his clients,” he said.

“We still want to be servicing his clients the way that Tom set it up.”

Anthony said it was exciting to acquire a quality run of Merino genetics nearby.

“Tom spent his life breeding them and he and Dad have done a lot in the Merino industry together and they’ve got very similar views on what makes up a very good sheep.

“So just being able to increase our footprint on the Merino industry will be good.”

Friendly competitors now on the same team

Kurra-Wirra managing director Robert Close, left, and Tom Silcock shake on The Mountain Dam Merino Stud deal.

The Mountain Dam stud principal and classer Tom Silcock said Kurra-Wirra will market The Mountain Dam ram lambs next year for existing clients. He said Robert Close had been involved with Tom in sire evaluation and wether trials.

“We’ve been friendly competitors and sharing genetics for a long time.”

Mr Silcock is a former chairman of the Australian Merino Sire Evaluation Association and the Elders Balmoral Sire Evaluation Trial, and has been working with Anthony, the trial’s current deputy chairman.

“I’m excited that I will have a chance to see our new wave of genetics through to fruition,” he said.

“I think the reality we all share common views about what we are trying to achieve.

“Typically, in the industry we’ve all got individual views about the best way to get there, but that’s what makes us all different,” he said.

“But I think our objectives and common views would be very closely shared.”

Mr Silcock said there was other interest in buying The Mountain Stud sheep, but not in its entirety.

“There was no doubt there would have been strong interest if we had gone to an auction with it, but at the end of the day that wouldn’t have done our cause a lot of good in buying rams in the future.

“Kurra Wirra could see their way clear to pick up the whole package and I look forward to working with them.”

The Mountain Dam stud recently held its last ram sale at Telangatuk East, averaging $1846 for 67 sold of 82 offered. Another 10 rams were sold after the sale. The top price of $6200 for lot 6 was paid by return clients Rex and Kay Hocking, and Janelle and Nick Edwards from the The Washpool, Avenue range, South Australia.


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  1. Paul Swan, November 20, 2018

    Congratulations to all involved – a great outcome for the industry.

  2. Peter Small, November 19, 2018

    Congratulations Close family and great to see all the hard work of Tom Silcock and his family retained in the district. Jim Close and John Silcock would I am sure be delighted and proud of this result. A good initiative by the Close family, as the wool industry after decades in the doldrums, following the collapse of the Reserve Price scheme, is at the dawn of a new era as the world’s premier luxury fibre. All the industry needs now is more Merino ewes retained to join to all these top sires. Might I add Australia needs to not only be a producer of clean green, ethically-produced food and fibre, but also a reliable supplier.

  3. Rosey Leeming, November 19, 2018

    Great news for The Mountain Dam clients. The stud is staying together and local. Couldn’t ask for better people to deal with in the Close family. A great outcome.

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