Repeat and new buyers delivered a better result than last year at the annual Alfoxton Dohne Merino sale on Monday, topping at $3200.
The Armidale stud, operated by Chris and Cindy Clonan, sold all 70 rams and averaged $1975, up almost $450 on last year with the most even line presented in the stud’s 15 years of annual sales.
All rams in this year’s sale were shorn twice and recorded an average wool clip of 6.1kg. All traced their lineage to a grand-sire purchased privately from the Calga Dohne stud at Coonamble which brought a bright crimpy fleece and good carcase to Monday’s offering.
The top ram at $3200 for lot 20, sold to Allistair and Kirsty Michel, “Loch Allen” Warialda. The September 2016 drop natural single by Alf14-069 weighed 106.5 kilograms, with a fleece micron fibre diametre of 18.1, and had Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs) of +5.1kg for yearling weight, +11.3 per cent for clean fleece weight, +0.3mm for fat and +0.5mm for eye muscle depth (EMD).
Repeat customer and this year’s volume buyer, Ian Uebergang and his daughter Kate Cutler, “Oakhurst”, North Star, purchased 18 rams to an average of $2155 up to $3000 for lot 31, Alf16-381 by Alf15-678. The September 2016 drop natural twin weighed 99kg with a fleece micron fibre diametre of 19.6, +5 for yearling weight, +13.3 for clean fleece weight, +0.1 for fat and +0.1 EMD.
The Uebergang family appreciate the dual purpose nature of their Dohne flock, tending more towards prime lamb production than wool. The family grows their own grain with a focus on finishing their lambs, although this summer is proving frustrating climate-wise with sorghum likely to be baled for hay if conditions persist much longer.
Another volume buyer was Geoff Bucknell, Inverell who bought 15 rams to average $2000 and topping at $2200 three times for bids that included lot 22 Alf16-143 by Alf15-678. This September 2016 drop natural single weighed 94kg with a fleece micron fibre diametre of 18.8, +3.4 for yearling weight, +14.9 for clean fleece weight, and +0.1 EMD
Mr Bucknell runs a primarily Dohne flock and puts 2000 ewes back to Dohne with the other 7000 to poll Dorsets.
“But I am moving more towards pure Dohne because of the wool factor,” he said. “I used to focus on prime lamb but I am slowly building a self-replacing flock of Dohne over Dohne as long as wool remains in a good place.”
Bill Hiscox and his sons Ed and Will, “Prosper” Armidale, bought seven ram including one of the second-top placed rams on the day, paying $3000 for the natural twin lot 57, Alf16-372 by Alf15-678 with a fleece fibre micron of 19.7, +3.6 yearling weight and clean fleece weight of +16.1.
The family is moving away from lambs by terminal sires towards a self-replacing flock that is easy doing, fertile and can provide the “best of both worlds”.
Other buyers included repeat buyers the Bishop family, Bando Station Mulalley who bought seven rams paying up to $2200. The Coleman brothers, Bonshaw, bought two rams both for $1800, saying the Dohne prove better doers on their country where Merino can struggle with worms.
Mark Pritchard, Warialda, bought one ram for $2000, saying he ran a full Dohne flock for the past decade and found the breed “more determined to live” with the ability to turn off a lamb for good money while providing a “half-decent wool clip”.
The sale was settled by CL Squires and Co, Inverell, with Robbie Bloch taking the bids.