The Litchfield family at Hazeldean, Cooma, have been at the forefront of measuring desirable traits in the Merino industry since 1954, and their impact on the production of wool and sheep across the country was noted when they held their annual spring Merino ram sale on Friday, October 20.
Stud principal Jim Litchfield noted the change in the wool industry in the past 70 years.
"With the advent of Sheep Genetics and ASBVs there is now a move towards greater use of objective measurement than ever before but equally it has been met with a steely resolve and contempt from many traditional classers and breeders," he wrote.
"In all my time breeding sheep probably the most illuminating period was the end of the Reserve Price Scheme and the great crash in prices following that event."
Two hundred and fifty Merino and Poll Merino rams were penned on behalf of Jim and Libby Litchfield, Bea Litchfield and Ed Bradley.
The top price was $9000 while 226 rams sold to an average of $2429.
Return client Jack Glasson, Jimenbuen Pastoral Co, Dalgety, near Cooma, purchased the top-priced ram, tag 22002350, born a single, homozygous poll and sired by RP171133.
Mr Glasson was advised in his selection by Craig Wilson, Craig Wilson and Associates, Wagga Wagga, who said the new sire will back up an AI program on Jimenbuen.
"We are focused on his sire as there is only limited semen available," Mr Wilson said.
"RP171133 is a leading industry sire for fibre diameter and the ram we bought was a 'pearl' in the catalogue.
"He has an absolutely fantastic skin type with long lustrous wool."
The ram's fleece measured 18.5 micron, with 4.6 greasy fleece weight and 99.9 per cent comfort factor.
His Australian Sheep Breeding Values were +5.5 yearling weight, +34.3 yearling clean fleece weight, top 5pc, +31 adult clean fleece weight, top 5pc, -1.8 yearling fibre diameter, top 30 pc, +2.6 yearling staple strength, -0.1 yearling fibre diameter co-efficient of variation, and +10 yearling staple length.
He recorded for structural results, 3.5 breech wrinkle, 1 hock, 1 front leg, 1 back leg, 1 wool character and 2 wool colour.
His indices showed 193 merino production plus, top 5pc, 177 fibre production plus, top 5pc, and 184 dual purpose plus, top 10pc.
Volume buyers included DH Hill and Co, Stockinbingal, who purchased 23 to a top price of $7500 and an average of $3424, TA Field Estates, Congi Station, Walcha, who added to their sire battery with 14 rams purchased to a top of $4000 and an average of $2357 and Brian Anderson, Binda, who selected 10 rams to a top of $6000 and a $4250 average price.
The sale was interfaced with AuctionsPlus, and was settled by Nutrien Livestock, Cooma.
The auctioneers were Rick Power and Hamish McGeoch from Nutrien Livestock.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.