HIGH demand for multi-purpose sheep has helped drive the 46th annual Walcha British Breeds ram sale to one of its best results yet.
Three studs, North South Border Leicesters, Walcha and Young, Maryland White Suffolks, Wollun and Amelie Poll Dorsets, Uralla, collectively offered 122 rams during Wednesday's annual sale at the Walcha showgrounds.
In the end, the more than 30 registered bidders present, and the many more following online via AuctionsPlus, snapped up 100 of the 122 rams offered at an overall average of about $2400.
The honour of the sale's top-priced ram went to North South, as its North South 0247732020200181 ram was purchased by the Cadell Border Leicester stud, Ariah Park, for $6500.
The sale topper had Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs) of 0.19 for birth weight (BWT), 8.77 for post weaning weight (PWT), a post weaning eye muscle depth (PEMD) figure of 0.83 and a Border $ Index of 134.84.
"It has been a bit of a challenging season to get the rams ready in but we are really pleased to see a top ram like that go to such a big stud like Cadell," North South stud principal Michael Makeham said.
"In my opinion, he has got a lot of really positive traits and while we had two rams go for $4000 and eight go for three or more, I think it was this ram's positive numbers that helped him stand out from the rest."
The ram was one of 29 rams North South sold from 49 offered at an average of $2827 and while the clearance rate was not what Mr Makeham was hoping for, he said he was still pleased with the result.
"We're weren't expecting to be taking this many home with us but we are pretty pleased the ones that did sell today [Wednesday] sold quite well," he said.
"As I said, it has been a bit of a challenging season but there were still plenty of new faces as well as returning clients here today, so it wasn't too bad a result."
Volume buyers of the Border Leicesters included Queenlee Pastoral, Uralla, six rams at an average of $2583 and Lisle Pastoral Company, Walcha, four rams at an average of $2625.
Following on from North South's impressive start to the sale was Maryland White Suffolks, which sold 47 of 49 rams offered to a top of $3000, twice, and an average of $1947.
The first of which, Maryland 2306952021210051, had a PEMD of 3.51, a PWT of 16,89, was rated 151.05 on the breed's Total Carcase Production (TCP) Index and was purchased by Yalgoo Partnership, Walcha.
Shortly after, Maryland 2306952020200128, which had a PEMD of 1.68, was rated 149.77 on the TCP Index and 145.26 on the breed's Lamb Eating Quality Index (LEQ) was knocked down to Karori Pastoral Company, Walcha.
"Both of them had pretty outstanding figures, good fats and that's why these two rams stood out," Maryland stud principal John Burnell said.
"They're both nice long, well-structured rams which is something we know both of these buyers were looking for."
Yalgoo Partnership was among the volume buyers of both the White Suffolks and the Border Leicesters, purchasing four rams at an average of $2875, as was Karori Pastoral Company, which bought a total of seven rams at an average of $2428 and Winterbourne Pastoral Company, Armidale, which bought 16 rams at an average of $1687
Amelie Poll Dorset stud made a splash in its Walcha British Breeds sale debut, selling all 26 rams it offered at an average of $1791 and with a high of $2750.
An August 2020-drop ram by Amelie 180050, the top-seller Amelie 20-0062 had a PEMD of 1.54, a PWT of 14.98, was rated 144.80 on the TCP index and was purchased by Black Springs Partnership, Barraba.
"I think he was really true to type and we are really focused on the structure of our rams," Amelie stud principal Brendan Sharpe said.
"These buyers have bought from us before and they know what style of animal their chasing and they know these rams can stand up to any kind of season.
"We've been having on-property sales for the past few years but this was our first time being involved in this sale and we're really pleased with the result."
Black Springs was among the volume buyers of Poll Dorsets, claiming six rams at an average of $2041, along with Miltiades Grazing Company, Walcha, which purchased a total of three rams at an average of $1333.
The double-hammer-style live auction was conducted by Pitt Son's, Walcha, with Paul Dooley, Tamworth, auctioneering.
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