VENDORS of the 43rd annual Walcha Show Society Border Leicester, Poll Dorset, White Suffolk and Charollais ram sale on Wednesday were pleased with the results, despite seasonal conditions impacting the overall auction clearance.
Of the 196 rams offered at the Walcha showgrounds, 85 were sold with rams ranging from $800 to $1200 and averaging $934.
A top price of $1200 was achieved for a ram from each of the vendors who included the Davidson family of Chain-O-Ponds' Border Leicesters, the Lisle family of Old Woombi Poll Dorsets and Charollais, the Burnell family of Maryland White Suffolks and the Makehams of Abberley Park Border Leicester stud.
In a breakdown of the sale results; 14 of the 30 Border Leicester rams from Chain-O-Pounds sold for an $892 average.
The Old Woombi stud sold 28 of the 88 Poll Dorsets and Charollais rams they offered for a $910 average.
Maryland White Suffolks sold 18 of their 28 rams for a $977 average while the Makehams of Abberley Park Border Leicesters sold 25 of their 50 rams for a $952 average.
One of the bulk buyers on the day securing eight rams was repeat buyer Angus Kirton, Billbrooke, Walcha, who put a draft of Poll Dorsets together averaging $987.
Mr Kirton is halfway into a flock transition from superfine Merinos to first cross ewes, with the hope of getting his flock numbers to 4000 head.
He made the decision four years ago to adjust his operation, citing an "unsustainable wool industry" and had been purchasing rams from the Walcha sale for the last years focusing on high indexing sires.
"We are getting to 4000 but we are only at 2000 so it's a good time to be halfway given the season," he said.
Chain-O-Ponds stud principal Bruce Davidson had offered rams at the sale for all of its 43 year history.
Given the conditions, he ranked it as one of the better results.
"The way they (the rams) have come up under the conditions is absolutely fantastic," he said.
"We had no spring rain in 2017 out there where I live and we are at the headwaters of the river."
Mr Davidson has seen the sale progress over the years, including sheep type and price. Rams at the first sale in 1976 sold for about $15.
"But those times we were getting $20 if we could for a lamb," Mr Davidson said.
"Plenty of lambs you could buy for $10 in those times."
Vendors noted that the continued strength in the prime lamb market caused buyers to focus on the meat quality in their sires to gain the best profitability out of a tough season.
Abberley Park Border Leicester's Michael Makeham said producers were looking at their options as the drought continued.
"From the Border perspective anyway, it's a cash flow option further down the line if anything changes," he said.
The sale was conducted by Elders Walcha with Nick Hall as auctioneer.