Confidence in the future of quality wool was sky-high during the 24th annual on-property auction of 104 Merino rams offered by Mark and Jodie Pendergast, Cottage Park Merino stud, Cooma, last Thursday.
The top price of $24,000 was paid by Monaro-based stud breeder Michael Hedger, Snowy Plain Merinos, Berridale, with an overall sale average of $2499.
Cottage Park Merinos studmaster Mark Pendergast noted the tremendous support the stud had received over many years, indicating their genetic direction of breeding heavy cutting Merino rams with sound constitution and conformation was correct.
“We are encouraged by the number of local wool growers who have been buying rams from Cottage Park for many years,” he said.
“It is gratifying to have clients from different areas, but it means a lot to us that people from the Monaro appreciate what we are doing.”
Michael Hedger was attracted to the top priced ram, a grandson of Brundenella 19 (purchased privately by Mark Pendergast for $12,500 in 2015) for his volume of wool on a big frame.
“He has a very sirey head, a correct structure and deep crimping long-stapled fleece,” he said.
“I like his length with a terrific underline.”
The top priced ram had figures of 19.5 micron, 3.6 standard deviation (S.D) and comfort factor of 99 per cent.
Mr Hedger was advised in his purchase by his stud sheep consultant Rick Power, who said the ram would be joined with selected stud ewes to give greater genetic strength to the Snowy Plain stud.
“We have been buying rams here for the past four years, from the different families and are getting great results as they are bred in a similar environment,” he said.
Richard Chalker, Lach River Merinos, Darby’s Falls, purchased a ram for $6500 that he had first seen at the Cottage Park display during the 2018 South West Slopes field day at Harden.
“He caught my eye for his scale, his tremendous length and depth with a great flank and underline,” he said.
“I liked him for his outlook, with a great head and horn set … they are traits I look for indicating wool production capacity and constitution.”
The ram also impressed with measurement figures of 19.1 micron, 3.3 S.D and comfort factor 99.2 percent.
Mr Chalker was one of the losing bidders on the top priced ram, and purchased a second sire for $5,000 to add genetic depth to his stud.
A third ram at $5,200, sired by Cottage Park 110 (by Tara Park 4339) was bought by Monaro Livestock and Property, Cooma for an undisclosed woolgrower.
That ram’s measurements included 140 GWP, 19.2 micron, 3.4 S.D and comfort factor of 99.5 per cent.
Longtime clients Peter and Robert Allen, Carumbi, Temora, were recognised for their 30 year commitment to Cottage Park genetics with a presentation by Mark and Jodie Pendergast before the sale commenced.
Mr Allen said he came to Cottage Park on the recommendation of the late renowned sheep classer John Coy and because of the tremendous performance of Cottage Park wethers in trials when the stud was in the hands of the late John Sheils.
“The Cottage Park-blood wethers had consistently performed above average in the various wether trials, which is the true commercial test,” he said.
“We want an easy care sheep that will fit easily with our cropping enterprise.”
Mr Allen recently sold wether lambs off shears to the local trade but previously sold them to a wool grower near Geelong, Victoria.
When appraising the Cottage Park offering, he had always been able to buy a draft of strong genetic rams at good value, and this year he picked up seven rams to top of $3600 and average $2857.
Volume purchasers included Alison Krieg, Benalla, Blackall, Queensland, who added to her previous selections with ten rams to $3200 and average of $1920, Arthella Pastoral, Cooma, bought 14 rams for an average of $1686 and J.W and M.W Barry, Jindabyne, selected four rams to average $2700.
Committed woolgrowers and supporters of the annual Berridale Merino ewe competition who bought rams included Doug Constance, Berridale, with three for a $3200 average and Raymond Crowe, Berridale, who selected two rams at $3200 and $2400 apiece.
John and Janine Cahill, Coolama, Cooma added to their sire battery with four rams to a $3000 high three times to average $2,850.
The sale was conducted by Landmark and Elders, Cooma, and Rick Power with Andy McGeogh holding the gavel.