The strength of the Springwaters Poll Dorset ram sale, held at Boorowa last week, was vindication for vendors, the Rowley family, of their breeding direction of meatier, early maturing sheep.
The sale topped at $16,000 for the stud rams, and had a second top of $11,000, with all 12 of the stud rams offered averaging $6583.
The stud offering led a strong sale, which also included 56 autumn 2016-drop rams that topped at $4000 and averaged $2168, and 98 spring 2016-drop rams, which topped at $2600 and averaged $1401.
The sale topper, Springwaters 47/16, was described by its vendors as smooth with balance and an exceptional hindquarter. It was sired by Springwaters 310/14, making it a half brother to “Pocock”, which won supreme exhibit at this year’s Sydney Royal Show and the NSW Dorset Championships at Cowra, and senior champion ram at the Australian Sheep and Wool Show, held at Bendigo, Victoria.
Also a first place getter in the NSW Dorset championships performance class, the ram sold to the Armstrong family’s Armdale Park Poll Dorset stud, at Marrar.
The 152.7 kilogram meat machine, with a 38.89 square centimetre eye muscle area was one of two rams bought by Armdale Park.
The second, Springwaters 266/16 was a 145kg ram with a 34.56cm2 EMA, which they bought for $11,000, also the second top top price.
Dennis Rowley, of Springwaters, said it was a terrific sale and he noted that buyers were starting to recognise the progress his family was making with their breeding goals.
While the stud rams sold notably well, he was also pleased to see a lot of the flock rams available in the $1000 to $1200 price range, allowing everybody to get a shot at taking home some rams.
He also felt that the stud’s success in the show ring, including at Sydney Royal Show and at the Dorset Championships in Cowra this year, had helped put their sheep on peoples’ radars.
His son, Dane, also noted a number of clients seemed to be buying more ewes due to the success of prime lambs in recent years against alternative enterprises and along with therefore needing more rams, were also willing to bid harder on the higher quality rams rather than sticking as tightly to a budget as may have been more typical in previous years.
The Rowleys said the offering also included their best stud line-up yet and their type, of heavier muscled sheep with more shape in the hindquarter, appeared to be on trend this season.
Among the buyers who seemed to agree with this was Dougal Kelly, also one of the sale’s volume buyers.
Mr Kelly targets the Woolworths market and was seeking early maturing rams “with plenty of carcase shape”.
He joins 5500 first-cross ewes annually at “Wallah”, Rugby, and has attended the Springwaters sale now for five years.
He joins his ewes in December to lamb in May and last year’s drop averaged more than $150 for about 8000 head.
His draft of 15 rams bought at Springwaters topped at $2000, three times, and averaged $1780.
Also among the volume buyers were Hugh and Fran Flanery, Flandon Farming, Galong, who join 2400 Merinos ewes each year to terminal sires.
They sought the combination of safe birth weight and maturity pattern on offer with the Springwaters genetics.
“We didn’t want a huge lamb,” Mr Flanery said, but they still needed fast growth and good structure and feet.
“We feel Springwaters produce consistently high quality – we’ve been buying here for five to six years and have got a good relationship,” Mrs Flanery said.
They sell their lambs most years in store condition and last year the drop ranged from $95/head up to $125/head.
Their new draft of seven rams from Friday’s sale topped at $1200, three times, and averaged $1100.
Other buyers included J. and R. Phillips, Jerangle, who bought seven head to top at $2750 and average $2078; G.B. and S.G. Whales, “Bonnyview”, Boorowa, bought four lots to a top of $1300 to average $1225; B. and S.H. Callan, Braidwood, also took four rams, their draft topping at $1900 and averaging $1813.
The sale was conducted by Delta Agribusiness and Elders, with Delta’s Aaron Mackay and Elders’ Aaron Seaman, as auctioneers.