The second annual Harewood Dohne ram sale at Armidale on Tuesday delivered a record top price of $3300, up $1000 on last year.
New and repeat buyers bid for 20 of the 47 rams bringing an average of $1040 for stud principal Justin Tombs, raising last year’s figure by $77.
The highest bid came from Ken Payne, “Tullaview” Forbes who selected HW162799, 73.5 kilograms, on conformation over figures – a yearling weight of +5.5kg, yearling clean fleece weight of +6.6 per cent, a yearling fleece diameter of -0.7, eye muscle depth of +1.5mm and fat of +1.1mm.
“This one took my eye,” said Mr Payne, a former fine Merino wool producer from Rylstone. “He has a body of wool and as anybody in the game knows, wool gets into your blood.
Mr Payne bought three rams in total, all from the same Harewood sire – HW142138 – and said Dohnes worked for his flock because of their outgoing nature and excellent feed conversion. “They’re a tough breed,” he said.
Volume buyers the White family partnership, “Alvaholme”, Narromine, purchased six Dohne rams to $2600, with top bid going to HW162830 by HW131836, 78.5kg, with a yearling weight of +3.3kg, Yearling clean fleece weight of +5.8 per cent, a yearling fleece diametre of -1.1, eye muscle depth of +0.6mm and PFat of +0.3mm.
The family has been buying Harewood rams for the past seven years and find them versatile.
“You can market the lambs as suckers or grow them out for export,” said Patrick White. “And for a Dohne these Harewood rams are good wool cutters.”
When the family moved away from Merinos to Dohnes they went up in fibre diametre by just half a micron but picked up an enormous fertility gain.
“When our lambs go onto feed they are ready to put weight on,” he said. “They do so much better.”
Repeat customers the Hall family, “Mi-Hi” Gunnedah, who bought the top priced ram at last year’s Harewood sale, took home one ram for $800 with Trent Hall saying 17 years of Dohne breeding had proved to them the benefit of dual purpose, plain bodied sheep.
“They’re easier to manage. We like their fertility,” he said. “We grow crop which we use to fatten lambs and Dohne’s are better than Merinos. We also join British rams to our ewes and Dohnes are every bit as good as a Dorset cross. With the wool job the way it is a couple of extra dollars on every sheep makes a big difference to our bottom line. As a result we are heading towards a full self-replacing flock using Dohne rams.”
The sale was conducted by Armitage and Buckley, Armidale, with Victor Moar taking the bids.