HILLTOP Merinos hit a $3100 high during their annual on-property Helmsman ram sale on December 14 at Tallawangra, Mudgee.
At auction a total of 31 rams were sold of the 40 on offer for a 78 per cent clearance and an $1177 average.
Hilltop 7112 was the sale-topper who was secured by long-term buyer Angus McIntosh from McIntosh Pastoral, Gundawanna, Molong.
The Hazeldean 3394 son measured 15.6 in the micron with a 100pc comfort factor (CF). It has Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs) of 15pc for yearling clean fleece weight (YCFW), -1.8 for yearling fibre diametre (YFD), 8.6 for yearling staple length (YSL) and an index value of 154 for the Merino Production Plus (MP+) Index.
McIntosh Pastoral also bought the second top-priced ram, Hilltop 7139, for $2600. Also by the Hazeldean 3394 sire, it was 15.3 in the micron with a 100pc CF and ASBVs of 15pc for YCFW, -2.0 for YFD, 8.1 for YSL and a MP+ Index of 158.
The two high selling rams were two of eight rams in total McIntosh Pastoral bought making them the largest volume buyer.
Return buyer Burrunah Pty Ltd, Mudgee, purchased four rams including the third top-priced ram at $2300.
Other regular volume buyers were Bridger Pastoral, Mudgee, who bought three, and Steve and Kim Harding, Hillcrest, Ilford, secured four.
A further five rams were sold after the auction to a regular buyer who could not be in attendance on the day.
Hilltop co-principal Adam Mort said he was happy with the sale as it had been really tough, especially in Mudgee.
“Undoubtably wool prices are better but most clips around the Mudgee region are down two-thirds to half of what some producers grew last year,” he said.
“Considering how tight it is and how much money had been spent out of budget to keep stock alive with a big feed bill, I am really happy producers still came with some topping up on rams.
“There was a lot of competition on the top end of the rams.”
Mr Mort said the plan going forward each year is to have more of the top rams right through the draft.
“We are always improving and ensuring the quality and style is right through the sale rams,” he said.
The sale was conducted as a Helmsman auction with Australian Wool Network in control of the silent bids.