When welcoming clients, potential ram buyers and visitors to their annual on-property ram sale at “Boonoke”, Conargo, Australian Food and Agriculture CEO, Colin Bell said their intention is to keep their historic Merino studs intact in the event of any sale of the company properties.
“You are all aware our properties are for sale, but we will ensure the studs are maintained by the new owner,” Mr Bell said.
“We believe the genetic depth of our studs is too valuable for the future of the Merino industry.”
The comment was greeted with appreciative acclamation by those attending the ram sale held on the grounds of the ram plots at “Boonoke”, Conargo.
With 200 Poll Merino and Merino rams on offer, there was a complete clearance, with a top price of $46,000 and average price $4051 paid.
It was a tremendous result indicating confidence in the prospects of the sheep industry, but may also have been lifted, as was later suggested by some, the CEO’s comments engendered confidence in ram clients knowing the source of their preferred genetics is assured.
There was no lack of interest in the first Poll Boonoke ram offered as he has been seen around the showring where he has taken all ribbons available to him as a hoggett ram.
Throughout 2017, PB160540 had been judged reserve champion March shorn Austrailan Merino all-purpose ram at the Australian Sheep and wool Show in Bendigo, Elders Riverina Merino ram of the year at Denilquin, and NSW junior champion March-shorn ram at the the Rabobank National Merino Show in Dubbop, among many such accolades.
The top-priced Poll Boonoke ram, PB 160540, had all the attributes Nigel and Brett Kerin of Kerin Poll Merino stud, Yeoval, need to continue breeding the contemporary Poll Merino rams their stud is renowned for.
"He has all the right data (ASBVs) for growth and fleece weight," Nigel Kerin said.
"His outlook and presence combined with excellent carcase traits and growth is not often seen in a Merino ram ... he has a terminal sire's body.
"You can't expect a Merino ram to have the growth rates of a terminal sire if he is not shaped like a terminal."
"We know from experience that the style of wool on this sheep combined with his carcase produces progeny that still maintain fleece weights without compromising 250-day growth rates (post weaning weight (PWT)), and carcase traits.
Mr Kerin noted that is what his breeding program is all about.
“The stud’s exponential growth has been driven by focussing on what’s needed in the Merino industry – high fleece weights, fast growth, high fertility,” he said.
“The rigidity in our breeding program is being driven by feedback from our clients about what’s working well and what’s not working in their commercial breeding flocks.
“Our clients ultimately drive our decisions, like buying this new sire.
“We are reaching our ambitions through extensive AI and ET programs, using a select few of the most influential top-end sires available."
Mr Kerin said his new purchase will be an integral part of the genetic program, and will be joined to 500 Kerin Poll Merino stud ewes.