At the time of publication, the closure of state borders into NSW is still causing some confusion surrounding the spring season of ram sales among studmasters, agents and potential buyers.
To gain entry from Victoria, for example, is defined by the requirements of the NSW state government.
If you're travelling from Victoria, you must complete a NSW entry declaration form (Victoria) if you are entering NSW on or after 13 May 2021 and have been in Victoria during the previous 14 days.
The form must be completed either within the 24-hour period before you enter NSW or upon entry, no matter the manner in which you enter and must be done each time you enter
Exemption exists for those residing in the NSW/Victoria border region, and which means ram buyers wishing to attend ram sales at Deniliquin, Hay or Jeridlerie are exempt.
Likewise, similar restrictions apply for those who wish to enter NSW from Queensland or South Australia.
"We lived with it last year for the ram sales," Clyde McKenzie, manager Elders, Deniliquin, said.
"And everyone is prepared this year.
"Clients in the bubble can attend sales and studs will be arranging pre-sale previews for clients to attend on certain days."
But, Mr McKenzie pointed out, we all live in a 'state of flux' and things could change overnight.
"For buyers of flock rams, they will be able to look through the catalogue and get their agent, classer or even the studmasters to advise on ram selection but for buyers of stud rams that will be a bit more difficult," he said.
"Those buyers will actually want to get their hands into the wool and onto the skin before they commit to a high price."
Nevertheless, Mr McKenzie added, he didn't think the purchase of rams during the spring will be all that difficult.
That was a sentiment endorsed by Brad Wilson, Nutrien stud stock, Dubbo.
"Last year we saw a lot of people buying their flock rams online and they found that the best way if they couldn't attend the sale," Mr Wilson said.
"They had contacted their agent or sheep classer who are well aware of their flock and what they want from the stud.
"The hardest hit will be the stud sales, but if they have an outstanding ram studmasters have already been promoting their rams for the past six weeks."
Related reading: Lockdown confirmed for Dubbo after positive COVID-19 cases
The forthcoming Rabobank National Merino ram sales to be held at Mudgee have attracted 49 entries, and Scott Thrift, Elders stud stock Dubbo, reports only a few are from those which couldn't make the cancelled 2021 Australian Sheep and Wool ram sale in Bendigo.
"A few private sales were made after that cancellation, but I think we will see strong competition at Mudgee for the top rams," Mr Thrift said.
"We are having a wonderful season and with high prices being paid for surplus sheep, I expect we will have a good ram sale at Mudgee."
At Wanganella, Colin McCrabb studmaster Avenel Merinos is quietly confident his ram sale will meet expectations despite the uncertainty which currently exists over crossing the Victorian border.
"I usually service a lot of my clients leading up to the ram sale and I am a bit unsure if I will be able to do that if they live outside the bubble," he said.
"We will be having appointment days where clients can look over the rams and that was successful last year."
Mr McCrabb also pointed out his success last year with listing his rams on AuctionsPlus and will again be using that online sale platform.
"We won't be videoing the rams but full figures will be available along with a photo of the ram,' he said.
"Last year we had a client from South Australia who bought online and he was very happy with his selection, but we do have clients who prefer to see the rams and we will be making arrangements for them."
At Ganmain, which admittedly is out of the Victorian bubble, Wes Kember, co-studmaster Gleneith Border Leicesters, said he doesn't expect the lockdown to have any affect on his ram sale.
"Most of my buyers are from NSW," he said.
"Interstate purchasers of my stud rams are concentrating on the figures and we do have good photos.
"It didn't affect me last year so I don't see how it will make any difference this year."
Mr Kember said his sale last year was 'very good' and has reasonable expectations of a similar result this year.
"We do have a regular buyer from Victoria but he understands our genetic bloodline and he will still be able to buy with confidence through an agent if he is unable to attend," Mr Kember said.
At Boonoke, Conargo, preparations for the annual sale of Poll Boonoke and Wanganella rams are well in hand, with a spokesperson for Australian Food and Agriculture reporting the sale will go ahead but with the current requirements of social distancing being enforced.
"We are taking it one day at a time but will keep up to date with the latest announcements regarding restricting the spread of Covid," the spokesperson said.
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