WITH an averaged wool test comfort factor of 100, a consistent and even draft of mostly polled rams was presented at the Hilltop annual helmsman sale last Thursday.
A good crowd gathered to witness an 83 per cent clearance of the 40 rams offered averaging $1073.
Topping the sale at $2000 was a poll ram purchased by Burrunah Pty Ltd, Mudgee, who join about 1800 merino ewes annually.
Burrunah manager, Chris Gillespie, has purchased from the stud previously.
“These sheep have nice soft wool, very smooth, very easy growing sheep,” he said
“I am sure this one will grow into a big powerful ram, as soon as I touched him I knew I wanted him.”
Purchasing from Hilltop for about 20 years, Richard McIntosh from McIntosh Pastoral Company, Molong, picked up the second top priced ram for $1800. He was also one of the volume buyers, taking home a draft of six, averaging $1166.
“They are consistent with what we are breeding, Adam has introduced some heavier cutting genetics that we want to add to our breeding program,” he said.
“We are very impressed with the draft this year, it is twice the size as the last few year’s but the consistency is still there.”
Also a volume buyer with six rams averaging $800 was first time purchaser, Agness Knapik, Bocoble, who runs a self replacing Merino flock. They currently run 400 ewes but are building to 500.
“We are changing over to larger, plainer bodied type to breed dual-purpose sheep,” she said
“We got into wool 10 years ago. We started with small framed Merinos, then went to heavier cutting. We also raise fat lambs.”
Adam Mort, co-principal of Hilltop Merinos, thought the sale was fantastic.
“There was a greater depth than we have had previously,” he said
“It was interesting that one of the volume buyers was a long term client, and the other was a new client, it exciting that they liked what they see.
“We had more at this sale than previously.
“We have found that recent sire selection that has been aimed at increasing fleece weight while at the same time maintaining the wool quality is bringing results.
“We make sure our breeding decisions are made with a balanced mixture of subjective and objective measurement.
“While we are firm believers of using ASBVs, there is no silver bullet in sheep breeding and using a mixture of traditional subjective measurement, along with objective ASBVs, we think provides the best breeding outcomes."
The helmsman sale was conducted by Australian Wool Network with Brett Cooper controlling the sale.