Online bidders were pivotal to the success of the 15th annual New Armatree Border Leicesters on-property sale, near Armatree.
Buyers sought rams with good maternal traits and eating quality.
New Armatree sold 72 of the 96 rams to average $1355. The top-priced ram was knocked down for $3600 to online bidder and first time buyer Laurels Pastoral Co, Woodstock.
The sale topper, NA149, had Australian sheep breeding values (ASBVs) of +2.65 post weaning fat depth (PFAT) and +0.14 weaning rate, placing the ram in the top five per cent of the breed.
Sired by NA210189, the triplet also had ASBVs in the top 10pc of the breed for +1.59 post weaning eye muscle depth (PEMD), +11.81 post weaning weight (PWT) and +141.7 Border Leicester Crossing Index (BLX).
Sean Duggan, of Laurels Pastoral Co, said New Armatree has a fantastic reputation for not only delivering growth, muscling and fat, but also well conformed rams that will hold up well in commercial conditions.
"We liked him (NA149) because he indexed well, delivers great growth but like all New Armatree rams is a well rounded package of muscling and fat," he said.
"We needed a large draft of new rams as we have recently expanded our maternal ewe breeding operation at Woodstock.
"We join 15,000 ewes across three farms near Woodstock/Wyangala, one as a specialist merino operation at Hovells Creek, one as a specialist maternal ewe operation between Lyndhurst and Woodstock, and one that takes those ewes for our Prime Lamb business at Woodstock.
"We are hoping to bring faster growth traits into our first cross ewes, without sacrificing the fantastic eating quality of lamb, and I'm convinced we can do that with the New Armatree rams."
Laurels Pastoral Co also purchased 13 other rams to average $1842.
Long-term client David Greig, Bellevue, Tottenham, purchased eight rams to a top of $3400 to average $1375.
Mr Greig's top ram, NA377, had ASBVs in the top 5pc of the breed for +0.15 weaning rate and the top 10pc for +139.7 BLX.
The NA210189 twin son also had ASBVs of +11.05 PWT and +0.83 PFAT, placing him in the top 20pc of the breed.
When selecting his draft of rams, Mr Greig targeted an all round figure package that favoured maternal traits.
"I come to New Armatree because I can find rams that are heading in the right direction for every trait that I'm after, especially maternal traits that will help with lamb survival," he said.
"I like the quality of New Armatree's figures as they have very consistent breeding values.
"I have a commercial operation where I normally join about 1000 Merino ewes to the Border Leicesters.
"We're not trying to breed large first cross ewes as we aim for a more compact animal and the breeding that is put into these animals by New Armatree keeps their daughters at a more manageable size for the people we want to sell them to.
"We're producing an article that will go onto breed, and we want those first cross ewe lambs to have a decent package of figures in them that will produce a second cross lamb that will do everything."
Catherine and Oli Taylor, Bourbah, Gulargambone purchased 10 rams to a top of $1600.
Cross Country Vets veterinarian, Mrs Taylor said the draft of rams were selected by both a visual and breeding value assessment.
"We were looking for structural confirmation, scrotal circumference and post weaning weight," she said.
Mr Taylor added that he liked the commercially driven direction New Armatree has taken with their rams.
"Their even lines suit our operation and we've been really happy with our previous rams," he said.
"We have a Border Leicester cross Merino flock...the rams will be joined to 3000 ewes in the first week of December."
Jack Bradley, of New Armatree, said the team was very happy with the sale given the current market conditions.
New Armatree stud co-principal Craig Bradley said it was also exciting to see new customers buy on performance traits and good ASBVs.
"Buyers concentrated on production traits such as post weaning weight, fat and muscle with consideration of eating quality and reproductive traits."
New Armatree Co-principal Jenny Bradley said the top priced ram had everything you could want.
"He had exceptional growth and is such a well balanced ram with a good weaning rate."
Kevin Norrie, Eugowra, purchased nine rams to a top price of $2200, twice, to average $1488.
David Turnbull, Bourke, purchased ten rams to a top price of $1400.
Ian Griffiths, Green Camp, Nyngan, purchased ten rams for $1000 each.
The auction was conducted by Halcroft and Bennett, Coonamble, and AWN, with Steve Colwell, Halcroft and Bennett as auctioneer. AuctionsPlus provided the online interface.
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