YOUNG-based cherry orchardists Trevor and Siri Hall made sure they took home only the finest pickings of the Alfoxton Merino and Poll Merino ram sale at Armidale on Monday when they paid $5000 for the top price sire.
The couple, who also secured the second top price ram at $4000, were among a number of repeat buyers who secured the renowned stud’s genetics at affordable prices.
Overall, 48 of the 68 ram catalogue sold for an average of $1552 with the 19 Merino rams averaging $1276 and 29 Poll Merinos averaging $1732.
The top price Poll AI twin ram was a son of Poll Boonoke 15-26; the champion March shorn Australian Merino all purpose ram at Bendigo in 2016 and overall winner of the meat and fleece class at the Royal Adelaide show.
At 18 months of age, the ram had an eye muscle depth of 32 millimetres, fat depth of 3.5 millimetres with a 17.6 micron fleece and was highly regarded by stud principal Chris Clonan and buyers alike.
Wasting no time, bidding started at $4000 before the Halls eventually secured their prized sire.
Operating a cherry orchard is the couple’s main business, but 1200 head of lambing Merino ewes are run on the side as a hobby.
Even as a hobby, the Halls have been able to secure some of the industry’s leading sires.
They joined a Tasmanian syndicate to secure Alfoxton Samson for $28,000 at Bendigo four years ago and also secured a share of a $30,000 Poll Boonoke sire two years ago.
Mr Hall said they were attracted to buying the top price ram at the Alfoxton sale for his Poll Boonoke breeding line and character.
“We often buy (rams) at the sales but I like to buy the best so we buy in a share in with the Tasmanian group,” he said.
“We just want the best genetics for our business. We keep the best 20 rams...a few neighbours come and get them but we are not a stud.”
Their other $4000 ram purchase was also a Poll Boonoke 15-26 AI single ram with 17.4 micron, 38 millimetre eye muscle depth and seven millimetres of fat.
Alfoxton stud principal Chris Clonan said it was the first time he had used Poll Boonoke 15-26 genetics and was happy with the way he was breeding.
“They are large framed rams with good body weights and really productive types,” he said.
The Alfoxton offering of Poll Merino rams averaged 100 kilograms while the horned line averaged 94 kilograms.
It was evidence of their focus to breed dual purpose Merinos that would suit the current market demands.
“Whether we like it or not market forces are telling us to breed a more dual purpose sheep and I think the rams you see here today are that dual purpose fine wool type,” Mr Clonan said before the sale.
The buyers’ gallery was smaller than usual, which Mr Clonan said was reflective of the seasonal conditions.
“Overall we are happy with the rams, their presentation and the quality of the rams and I think purchasers would be happy with the price that they paid,” he said.
A total of 15 of the registered buyers were successful on the day, with a line of 15 Alfoxton rams were bound for Linden Park Pastoral Company, Linden Park, Caloola, averaging $1483 and topping at $2750.
Livestock Industries of Armidale CSIRO secured nine rams for a $1500 average and $2500 top.
The sale was conducted by Elders and Schute Bell with Paul Dooley as auctioneer.