A late move to the Warren showground, due to much welcome rain, saw the 35th annual Egelabra production sale held to a large bidding gallery last Wednesday.
A total of 35 registered bidders helped clear all 160 rams to average $2731 and top at $9000.
In the breakdown, 10 specially selected July – August 2017 drop, March shorn rams were all cleared to average $5000 and top at $9000.
Another 150 July – August 2017 drop April shorn grass fed rams sold for a top of $7000 and a $2580 average.
Interestingly, the 2007 drop average micron was 19.7, the $9000 top priced ram had a 19-micron fleece.
He was by a yellow syndicate sire, weighed 100 kilograms, had a coefficient of variation of 14.9 per cent and a comfort factor of 99.5 pc.
Repeat buyers of nine years, Spike and Kirsty Wall, Bukkulla, purchased the top priced ram. They run a small Merino stud of 120 ewes and focus on improving their flock by breeding sheep to suit their local area.
“The Egelabra sheep suit what we are doing and they suit our country really well,” Mr Wall said.
The couple look for a dual purpose sheep with eye muscle are and fat a main focus in their selections.
“We liked that he has a great sires outlook, a good wooled sheep, with a good long body, spring of rib and good structure,” Mr Wall said.
“He is a plain bodied ram so lower maintenance.
“We’re looking for that great wool cutter. The bigger eye muscle diameter and the fat to translate to the ewes, a bigger meat sheep.”
Even during the dry conditions, the couple said they had confidence in the Merino breed and the wool game.
“When things are tough quality pays,” Mr Wall said.
Volume purchaser Andrew McGrath of Womboin Station purchased 24 rams for a draft average of $2688 and a top price of $4500.
The McGraths are repeat buyers of the stud’s genetics since 1986 and sought out good wool cutters.
“We like that that are good true free range mediums. They have good bright soft handling wool,” he said.
“We have been using these rams for a long time and are trying to continue to improve our sheep. We are wool growers and breeders so we concentrate on the good heavy cutters and sheep that have a bit of bone.”
Also volume buyers on the day were Peter and Ange Schuster, Benalong Pastoral Company, south of Dubbo who will be joining about 3000 first-cross and Merino ewes next season. They purchased 18 rams for a draft average of $2444 and a top price of $3500.
Mr Schuster said they were changing the management of their flock and doing their homework to search for a plainer ram purchase.
“We are looking at the different indexes, greasy fleece weight and micron,” Mr Schuster said.
“We back that up with our visual assessment. It is fair to say that we didn’t get some of the rams we thought we would based on the objective measurement as they didn’t suit our country and what we are trying to do.”
After a few hard years, Mr Schuster said they were now looking to re-establish themselves with a good breeding herd to lift their numbers.
“These are replacement rams, we brought a few more than we normally do to top up numbers,” he said.
“There were a lot of standout rams at the sale. We got the rams we wanted at the price we were prepared to pay.”
Guest auctioneer Paul Dooley felt the sale was very good, especially to achieve a total clearance.
“There were a number of new buyers and some great support from some really solid old clients,” he said.
“They are a great lot of rams and was great to have some rain on the roof.”
Egelabra Merinos general manager Cam Munro thought it was an extremely strong sale.
“It didn’t have the really high top price but everyone buckled in for a strong average,” he said.
“I liked the top priced ram. He is a well balanced, plain ram that has the density and good eye muscle. He was very popular.”
Speaking on the day, Mr Munro said he had noticed buyers were chasing fleece weight in their purchases and wool cut had been a big thing.
“The topic of conversation today has been re-building the clients flocks,” he said.
“They are after more merino ewes with Egelabra. As one of the biggest base of commercial clients we can call on sheep very quickly and it is our job now to help them re-build when this unrelenting drought breaks.”
The sale was conducted by Elders and Landmark Wilson Russ with Paul Dooley auctioneer.