INTEREST is mounting on naturally selected bare-breech rams which have been bred by Tom Kirk at Bundemar stud, formerly from Condobolin and now Baldry.
In its second year of stud ram sales, the Bundemar bare-breech stud offering of seven rams within the sale's 40-head catalogue, this year topped the sale at $3600.
Tom and Kate Kirk and family this year were delighted to see all 40 rams sell in a total auction clearance to average $1538. The seven bare breech rams averaged $1943.
Keen to introduce the bare breech program into their Leewang self-replacing flock of 1400 ewes were James and Elise Nixon, Yarrabandai.
The Leewang flock has consistently placed in the first three awards of the Trundle Tom Little Merino Ewe Competition for decades, first starting under the eye of James' father Grant Nixon, who took over the flock from his father, Will, and Tom Kirk began classing the flock under Will Nixon's management.
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The Nixons purchased five rams for a $2480 average including the $3600 sale-topper, a bare-breech ram of 20.3 micron and 99.8 per cent comfort factor.
They also paid second top of $3000 for a Bundemar ram of 20.3 micron, and another bare breech ram at $2000.
Another big supporter of Tom Kirk's classing abilities, were Des and son Clint Ward of Wardlee Pastoral Company, Berrilee, Tullamore, who secured the most rams while paying to $2700.
They stuck to the Bundemar original line draft to purchase 11 rams for a $1391 average.
Clint is the fourth generation of the Ward family's ownership of the Wardlee self-replacing Merino flock which will join a bit later this year from late December to early January, due to weather.
The Wards will be shearing all of this week finishing in time for harvest, which Des Ward said was hopefully going to be good.
"We have undulating country some 50 kilometres from town, so are expecting a reasonable harvest this year," he said. "However, rain may be a challenge."
The Wardlee flock of 2800 ewes produces 20- to 21-micron wool and cuts an 7.5 kilogram average fleece weight.
Michael Hunter, Richlands, Bribbaree near Young, returned for his fourth year and bought seven rams while paying to $2300 and a $1471 average.
His flock of 3000 ewes are growing an average of 20-micron wool and join in March.
First-time buyers were Steve Martin and Jenny Irvin, Bonita, Brewarrina, who paid to $1800 for six rams averaging $1367.
They will join 3000 ewes this season and shear in March.
Terry and Kate Worthington, Four Corners, Tullamore, returned for bare breech rams buying three to top at $1900.
Another first-time buyer was Adam Darlington, Ballimore, who paid $1500 each for two bare breech rams.
Mr Darlington has been shearing for the Kirk family during the past four years and has recently leased a block and running 300 Merino ewes.
Tom Kirk's brother, Noel, Pine Park, Condobolin, purchased four rams topping at $1200.
While buying Bundemar rams for some 15 years, Mr Worthington was taken to the bare-breech stud rams early in their developing years, and this is the second year he has purchased these rams.
Mr Worthington said there was a "bit more management" to the bare breech line.
"You do have to keep an eye out for breech wrinkle, but the wool produced is much softer handling, and we are not losing any wool cut," he said.
He began crossing his Prime SAMM ewes to the bare breech rams, and also now his self-replacing Merino flock.
The sale was conducted by Peter Milling and Company, Dubbo and Wellington with Tom Pollard the auctioneer.
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