THE 53rd annual Rutherglen Merino and Poll Merino ram sale at Narrogin last week was very pleasing on two accounts for the three generations of the Dawes family in attendance.
Rutherglen stud principals Buster and Whippy Dawes increased their offering this year to 148 head, up from 130 head last year and the increased offering all sold at auction for an average of $1323, which was up $149 on last year.
This year’s top price of $2900 was also an improvement of $500 on last year, when Greg and Ben Doyle went to $2900 to secure the ram of their choice.
The ram had May wools test of 17.6 micron and 100 per cent comfort factor.
Trading as PJ & EJ Doyle, Corrigin, the family has been Rutherglen clients for more than 30 years and annually buys a top sire or two for its nucleus breeding flock to breed rams for their commercial Merino flock of about 5000 ewes.
Losing bidder on the top ram was another long-term Corrigin client, Richard Guinness, trading as RJ & CM Guinness, who ended up purchasing six rams up to $2300.
Relatively new clients to the stud purchasing rams for the first time four years ago and then again two years ago were Alan and Peter Fitton, trading as Fitton Bros, North Moulyinning.
This year Peter Fitton was back again and secured three rams up to $2500, which was the second top price of the sale.
Three generations of the Savage family, Brendon, his father Graeme and son Nick, HG Savage & Co, Kulin, were at their first Rutherglen sale and they made an impact during the auction.
Nick is back home after attending the WA College of Agriculture, Cunderdin and from his time there is now pretty keen on Merinos and as a result he has convinced the family that breeding Merinos is the way to go.
Having purchased Rutherglen blood ewes from a client who is exiting farming, they decided to keep the bloodline going and hence the need for Rutherglen rams.
As a result Brendon Savage was pretty active throughout the sale buying 20 Merinos to a top of $1900 on three occasions.
Elders stud stock representative Kevin Broad bid on behalf of a couple of the stud’s clients and purchased 18 Merinos for Ray Glasfurd Nominees, Dandaragan.
He also purchased seven from the Poll Merino offering for up to $2300, which was the top price in the Poll offering, on behalf of JS Rogers & Co, Cunderdin.
The Rutherglen blood is very widespread through a number of other long-term clients from as far north as Northampton, south to Ravensthorpe, east to Hyden and west to Boyup Brook, emphasising the versatility and adaptability to wide climatic conditions.
Ivan Teakle, Northampton, has been buying from the sale for 20 years and this year went home with four Polls and two Merinos up to $1900, while back again from Ravensthorpe Andy and Helen Burton, trading as Burton & Co, bought 11 Merinos and Tom Hughes, T & D Hughes, Hyden, went home with seven Merinos.
Ron Bingham, who manages the Boyup Brook property for H & A Norton and Sons, said the Rutherglen wools certainly handled the higher rainfall of Boyup Brook and this year he went home with nine Merinos, up a couple on last year as a result of increasing their ewe flock.
Two other regular clients to buy nine each were Ric Elson, RJ & SM Elson, Yealering, which included a couple of Polls and Michael Bowman, Shorelands Pastoral Co, Williams, with all nine coming from the Merino offering.
A first-time buyer to the sale was Gary Cowcher, GB & AT Cowcher, Williams, having seen a neighbour putting wool back on his sheep using Rutherglen blood, he was at the sale to get some of the same genetics and as such went home with eight head including one Poll.
Also buying from Williams was WG & EM Petchell who purchased five Merinos up to $2400 while nine rams headed east to AM & MA Guinness, Corrigin and Tim Dowdell, W Dowdell & Co, Tincurrin, bought seven.
For Elders auctioneer Don Morgan, it was the first time he had auctioned the Rutherglen offering and said in going through the offering prior to the sale, he was impressed with the micron and comfort factors of the team along with their size and given the widespread locations of the buyers the rams obviously perform well under somewhat varying conditions.