DESPITE drought and all other odds, Merino wool and lamb producers from NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania made history by securing all 450 Kerin Poll Merino stud rams at auction at Yeoval on Monday.
The history-making sale established Nigel Kerin and family's Kerin Poll Merino stud as the first in Australia to sell that record number of rams in a total auction clearance during the 10th on-property sale, a feat deemed near impossible given the season.
Nigel Kerin said that after being in contact with his central and western NSW clients pre-sale, potential ram sale numbers had been severely reduced by the drought.
"I estimated I had lost 144 ram sales so concentrated on clients in the green zone of southern Australia including Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania," he said.
"What was interesting after making contact with clients who had only been with us one or two years, and who were buying half their rams off previous suppliers and half from us, I actually had those 144 lost ram sales covered by clients who had made their minds up to buy 100 per cent of their ram purchases off Kerin Poll this year.
The stud attracted 23 new buyers and dropped from 82 registered bidders in 2018 to 72 this year but they easily absorbed the extra 50 rams offered.
"This in itself shows the impact of the ongoing dry in central west NSW with all new buyers coming out of the green zone."
Mr Kerin praised the support given by the many agents who supported the sale by attending and bringing buyers or buying on their behalf. Guest auctioneer Paul Dooley said the sale was a massive result.
"There was massive support from a lot of his established clients even though many from the dry zone could not support the sale. However, their absence was amazingly replaced by new clients which was an absolute delight to see and made the sale the success it was."
The line-up averaged $2504 with top-money paid by Tasmanian commercial breeder George Gatenby, Bicton Pty Ltd, Campbell Town, for a 117 kilogram April-drop son of Kerin Poll 160502 (a son of Moorundie Park 130306) of 19.5 micron wool with 100pc comfort.
The ram was purchased on behalf of Mr Gatenby by Australian Wool Network, Launceston's Brett Cox, who said it was Bicton's first purchase from Kerin Poll.
"Mr Gatenby had made a short list of rams with good figures for his 2500 ewe flock of 18 to 18.5 micron and left it to me to select the best from that list," Mr Cox said.
"It was the ram's scale, width and depth, particularly his backend and depth in the twist that added to his selection. Also magnificent white free growing wool."
Among the multi-lot buyers was Dave Fowles of Fowles Farm Pty Ltd, Killeen, Creightons Creek near Euroa, Victoria, returned to buy 10 rams for a $3050 average and two at $5000.
"I bought seven rams last year and very happy with the results in pretty tough conditions," Mr Fowles said.
"We are 500 metres above sea level in a wet Victorian area but the sheep performed very well, so I'm back again this year and with associates we bought 17 rams all together.
Jamie Goldsmith of Compton Partnership, Coonamble, returned for his 9th on-property sale, having missed the first, but said he liked the freeness of wool and its length.
"The earlier maturity of wether lambs is impressive," he said. "Just three weeks ago we sold four-month-old wether lambs weighing 37kg on AuctionsPlus which averaged $151, a cracking result in a record dry year so these rams give me the complete wool and meat package."
He plans to join 4500 ewes of 19.6 micron average wool in November while shearing every eight months cuts an average 6kg fleece and purchased 18 rams while paying to $3000 twice and a $2000 average.
Andrew Reynolds, Coorumbene Pastoral Company, Adelong, returned for the fifth year and bought three rams averaging $2833 and topping at $3500. His has cut back his self-replacing flock to some 900 ewes and joins younger ewes to Kerin Poll rams and the older and surplus maidens to Poll Dorsets, but also runs a beef herd as well.
"Kerin Polls are good growthy uncomplicated Merinos," Mr Reynolds said.
Tim Oldfield, Belalie, between Bourke and Cunnamulla, Qld, secured 47 rams averaging $1266 and topping at $1500 which will be joined to 5000 ewes.
"We first purchased in 2011 and keep returning because the Kerin Poll rams have had a major influence on our triple bottom line, fleece weight, weaning percentages and fast early growth of lambs. The fertility factor is just unreal. Our best lambing is 142pc and now scan 50pc twins." The sale was conducted by Landmark, Dubbo, with Paul Dooley and Nick Fogarty, guest auctioneers.