Demand from four states pushed prices to a top of $4000 for a stud ram at today’s Red Hill and Ardess Australian White sale, held at Wongarbon near Dubbo.
All 21 stud rams offered were sold to average $1738, 48 flock rams were sold from 58 offered to top at $2000 and average of $1088, and all 40 stud ewes offered were sold to a $1800 top to average $1206.
The top-priced ram, while a stud lot, went to commercial breeders, also brothers, Tom and Ben Johnstone, Illinois Farms, Woodstock.
They run 1000 ewes which are being bred up from a Dorper base to Australian Whites.
Their sale topper, Red Hill 1701149, was by Tattykeel 150787 and from Red Hill 14014.
Tom said he liked the ram’s fat cover, black feet and shedding ability, as well as its frame size for its age.
This was one of four rams the brothers bought to average $1938.
They sell their lambs over the hook at four to five months old, but the end market varies.
Last week they sold lambs to export through Tamworth, but they also sell to the supermarkets and at times to a boutique butcher.
Simon Richards, Hill Stream Holdings, came all the way from Mount Pleasant in South Australia to buy rams and ewes as he has made the decision to get back into sheep both at a stud and commercial level.
He bought two rams from among the stud lots, including one at $1500 and one at $2000. These will accompany a total of 12 ewes on the journey home to form the basis of a flock to breed rams to sell into South Australia’s pastoral region.
He had previously been a breeder of Suffolks and first-cross ewes, but got out of them a few years ago and had been running steers in the interim.
“I think I’ll only be the third person who’s got Australian Whites in South Australia,” he said.
In the sheep he selected, he targeted length, growth and body mass. His 12 ewes topped at $1600, three times, and averaged $1300.
Julie Sharpe, Glen Ray stud, Byng near Orange, who started a small stud in 2013-14 also found a new stud sire, paying $2000.
She was seeking a ram to lift the overall quality of her flock, while reinforcing the black feet, which she had found to be a popular trait with ram buyers in the wetter tablelands areas.
She said her purchase was also a well balanced ram with nice structure.
Co-vendor Robert Endacott, Red Hill stud, said the result was “unbelievable considering the season”.
He said everybody he had spoken to had cut back their flocks to minimum numbers for survival.
Fellow vendor, Robert Gilmore, Ardess stud, was also happy with the result and noted several new clients and that the sale attracted buyers from four states.
Auctioneer, Brad Wilson, Landmark stud stock, said the ewes in particular had strong demand and the flock rams also did well, considering the seasonal position of many of the buyers.
He said buyers came from areas such as Wellington, Mudgee, Gilgandra, Grenfell, and Glen Martin near Clarence Town.
Landmark also settled the sale, with John Settree, Landmark stud stock, helping spot the bids.