RECORDS were rewritten in the Merino stud industry at Yeoval on Monday when 400 rams sold in less than three hours to gross a record $1.21 million.
Never before has a Merino stud sale surpassed the $1 million mark, yet on Monday Landmark Stud Stock’s Brad Wilson said Kerin Poll Merino stud could have easily offered another 50 rams, and they too would have sold.
The record-making Merino ram sale was Nigel and Kate Kerin’s ninth annual on- property fixture grossing $1,210,000 and a $3025 average.
This gross is just a fraction behind the current one-day record gross for all sheep breeds in Australia, set at $1.29 million in 2016 by Tom Bull, Lambpro, Holbrook.
A massive crowd and 81 registered bidders – up from 63 last year – ensured spirited bidding for every lot with the total clearance averaging $3025.
Guest auctioneers Paul Dooley, Tamworth, and Nick Fogarty, Bowyer and Livermore, Bathurst, never missed a beat throughout their selling.
The sale result demonstrated the strong interest shown in the Kerin Poll program with buyers chasing carcase, wool and growth, traits that are firing in markets at present, according to Brad Wilson, Dubbo.
“Merino lambs are performing well in the prime markets in recent years and even during this long dry period,” Mr Wilson said.
“This is a tremendous result for the Kerin family.”
The catalogue featured Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs), including +6.3 post weaning weight (PWT, top 5 per cent of the breed), +8.4 yearling weight (YWT, top 10pc), and +20 for yearling greasy fleece weight (YGFW, top 10pc).
The draft averaged 18.2 micron, 2.9 standard deviation (SD), 15.2 comfort factor (CF), and 94kg.
In total 61 buyers bought from one to 40 rams each with 370 rams going to 53 new homes in NSW, 15 rams to four Victorian flocks and 10 rams to three in Tasmania while AuctionsPlus bought five rams.
Stud principal, Nigel Kerin, said Monday’s result had been a team effort from those inside Kerin Poll and also the stud’s existing clients, who are doing most of the stud’s marketing now through word of mouth.
“We now have a list of restockers and backgrounders who we connect with our clients to buy their surplus ewes and wether lambs at a premium to the market,” Mr Kerin said.
“It’s been fantastic to play a role in connecting our clients with buyers who have had good experiences with Kerin Poll genetics – whether that be through growth rates on feed, carcase quality, wool quantity and quality, or fertility – and they want more.
“We are now in the process of formalising this process as an additional service to Kerin Poll clients and look forward to developing this into a platform where we as ram suppliers can add even more value to our clients’ businesses.
“We are really overwhelmed and grateful for Monday’s sale result and look forward to what next year will bring as it will be our 10th sale and an even bigger line-up of better quality rams again, thanks to large embryo transfer (ET) and artificial insemination (AI) programs.”
Foundation clients, John and Christine Cooley, Kenilworth, Woodstock, purchased 10 rams for a $5100 average - including the $9000 sale-topper - for their self-replacing Merino flock, which normally boasts 5500 ewes but has been reduced to 4300 during this drought.
The lot two top-priced ram was a son of MP306, and features ASBVs of +7.6 PWT, +10.8 YWT, +0.1 yearling fat (YFAT), +0.6 yearling eye muscle diameter (YEMD), and +19.2 YGFW.
Kenilworth manager, Darren Reeks, said he had selected on heavy fleece weights, high post weaning weights and yearling weights, and looked at positive fat and muscle scores.
“The top ram has extremely nice wool, his fat and eye muscle was positive and he was up there in the fleece weights,” Mr Reeks said. “He’s a good, all-round, beautiful sheep, really.
“We have focused in the past three years on buying these higher figured rams, and now we can see a massive difference in our lambs.
“This is the last year of using terminal sires in a prime lamb breeding program as we can see our Merino wether lambs this year not very far behind the terminal crosses.
“They’re probably realistically three weeks behind the crossbred lambs just on body weight. And the animal’s shape has improved tremendously over the past five years.
“We then get the Merino wool on top.”
First-time buyers, the Stewart family, Jindabyne, Ashford, selected 24 rams for a $2771 average and topping at $4500 twice for their 3000 head Merino self-replacing flock of 19 micron five to 5.5kg wool.
The sale’s volume buyer was Henry and Emma Welsh, Gunningbar West and Raby, Warren, who bought 40 rams for a $2938 average and topping at $6000 twice. Henry’s brother, Gordon, Larras Lake North, secured 23 rams to $5000 to average $2739.
Jack Derrick, The Eagles, Sebastopol, purchased seven rams topping at $5500 and averaging $4857 while Fairview Pastoral Company, Binda, paid an average $3800 for 30 rams.
Despite a solid average, there were plenty of opportunities throughout the catalogue for buyers of all budgets, with 75 rams selling for $1500 or less.