A half-brother to the 2019 Australian Supreme Merino ram offered at the 30th Alfoxton Merino ram sale on Monday will begin the journey to Tasmania next week after fetching a $4000 top price.
The natural Poll Merino twin ram was one of 40 sold from 60 on offer from vendor Chris Clonan which achieved an average of $1362 with the support of 21 registered buyers from far as Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania.
While the sale setting was tinged green from recent rainfall, the top price ram was set to return to trying conditions at his new home with Mayfield Merinos, Little Swanport, Tas, who have battled drought for the last two and a half years.
The stud usually undertakes an artificial insemination program but opted for natural joinings instead this year.
Their new ram was inspected by the stud's classer Andrew Calvert of Wool Solutions who admired the ram for his structure, head and handy wool.
Weighing 94 kilograms, the ram had a 15.7 micron fleece, yearling clean fleece weight of 22, a standard deviation of 3.4, a co-efficent variation of 20.8 and a comfort factor of 99.8.
The ram was by Alfoxton 17-83 and out of Alfoxton 14-008 who was the mother of the 2019 Australian Supreme Merino, Brutus 17-185.
Mayfield have a supply contract with New England Wool meaning it was important to source genetics that align with their objectives, Mr Calvert said.
"They have a very good wool clip but unfortunately they are experiencing severe drought conditions which has been the case for the last two and a half years," Mr Calvert said.
"They have had to reduce numbers and it means that I won't be doing an AI program this year so hence they needed to secure a couple of rams to use physically.
"Just with the cost of AI, the season is not good enough to run the risk of that sort of expense to get a poor result."
While ewe numbers in the New England are significantly depleted, recent rainfall came just at the right time for the 2000 Merino ewe flock at Fernhill Guyra Propriety Limited, which are joined to Merino and White Suffolk rams.
Director Callan Schaefer was only in the market for a few rams but walked away as the bulk buyer with seven averaging $1071.
If the season didn't turn Mr Schaefer was preparing to reduce their Merino ewe numbers even further, but the rain renewed his confidence.
"With the season turning we will join a lot more to Merinos now," he said.
"We were only after five rams but it's a good time to buy the good genetics. When everyone builds the numbers back up it'll be too hard to buy them."
The sale saw the return of buyers who had been absent for some time including Garden Creek Partnership, which secured five rams averaging $1150.
New buyers included Kialami Pastoral Company, Armidale, with one ram at $1000 and CR and JL Osborne with two rams averaging $1625.
Stud principal Chris Clonan said buyers were selective in their purchases but he was pleased with the way the rams presented, averaging 95 kilograms as the heaviest draft ever offered.
"Everyone's back in numbers and some of our clients have destocked completely," he said.
"What impressed me most is their fat cover and width of the loin in our sheep. The industry forces are pushing us more and more into dual purpose sheep."
The sale was conducted by Elders with Paul Dooley as guest auctioneer.