PUSHING the industry envelope with a focus on half-length tails has paid dividends for Dubbo-based Parkdale SRS Merino stud.
At its 18th annual ram sale on Monday last week, the stud cracked $5600 and a 100 per cent clearance, with 98 lots selling to an average of $2905.
Vendor Don Mudford said short-tail Merinos were the highlight of the day, attracting spirited bidding from the western woolgrowers.
Mr Mudford said they'd first trialed short-tail genetics eleven years ago.
Since then, he said the stud had produced plain-bodied, bare breech sheep with a fast-growing, well-aligned staple.
"There's no need for mulesing, tail-docking or flystrike prevention. Our progeny have proven very popular with western clients," Mr Mudford said.
It was the 12-month-old short-tail ram, tag 20031, which topped last week's sale at $5600 when he was sold to Graham Strong, Narrandera.
- SA shearing innovation aims to do away with 'catch and drag'
- New Australian Charollais ewe record at $5000
A triplet son of Parkdale 161489, he had Australian sheep breeding values placing him in the top 20 per cent of the breed for post-weaning weight, yearling body weight and yearling staple length, and in the top 10pc for yearling fat.
He had fleece measurements of 17.9 micron and a 99.9pc comfort factor.
The second-top ram, tag 200076, was also short-tailed and came later in the draft.
A triplet son of Parkdale 150610, the 12-month-old had Australian sheep breeding values placing him in the top 20pc for yearling eye muscle depth and in the top 10pc for post-weaning weight, yearling body weight and yearling fat.
He had fleece measurements of 18.9 micron and a 100pc comfort factor, and was sold to Graham and Carol Green, Cobar, for $5200.
"It was very interesting to see buyers congregate around those short-tail rams towards the end of the draft," Mr Mudford said.
"Together, the 10 or so on offer would have had the highest average of the sale."
Mr Mudford said that selecting for genetic fat traits had been another key to the stud's success.
"There's clear evidence the world wants more fine, non-mulesed wool, and that's where we're heading," he said.
"But in the meantime I think the biggest issue for our industry at the moment is lamb survival. The single largest factor to saving lambs is to select for genetic fat, and we've been doing that for 12 to 14 years.
"We're now weaning at 137pc across 10,000 ewes."
Among the gallery of buyers were both new and longtime clients, with one first-time and several returning buyers purchasing rams in volume. The sale was conducted by Hartin Schute Bell, Narromine, and was interfaced with AuctionsPlus.
Have you signed up to The Land's free daily newsletter? Register below to make sure you are up to date with everything that's important to NSW agriculture.