MERINOS were the stars of the show at last week’s Esperance Breeders’ Ram Sale where four studs achieved a collective average of $1654, up by a solid $262 on last year.
Results at the fixture have gone from strength to strength in past years with a buoyant wool market reflecting the increased interest in Merino sires, although the entrance of new studs to the Merino, British and African breed catalogues demonstrates a broader confidence in the sheep and wool industry in the Esperance region.
This year a total of 10 studs entered rams for sale, taking the offering to 297 head, of which 88 per cent were cleared under the hammers of Landmark Brindley and Gale’s Neil Brindley and Elders stud stock’s Preston Clarke.
The sale top price was this year set at $4000 for a Wattle Dale Poll Merino, which was down by $300 on the 2017 sale top, but overall the sale average increased by $201 to $1507 and the collective sale gross of $393,300 was up by $57,700, making for an all-round positive result.
Mr Brindley said the sale results were reflective of the markets.
“The Merino section of the sale was reflective of the buoyant wool prices we’re seeing at the moment,” Mr Brindley said.
“And though we’re seeing strong prices for lambs, the result of the British Breed portion of the sale reflected a swing back to Merinos as producers take advantage of strong wool prices.
“The Merinos sold above expectations but the result was not totally surprising given the climate.”
Mr Clarke agreed and said Elders appreciated the opportunity given by vendors to re-enter the Esperance Breeders’ sale.
“Elders was given a great opportunity to re-enter the ram sale here in Esperance and we would like to thank vendors for placing their trust in us,” Mr Clarke said.
“The results of the sale were marginally better than we anticipated and we hope to grow from here in the future.”
p Merino and Poll Merino
The Merino catalogue was again dominated by the offering from the Vandenberghe family’s Wattle Dale stud, Scaddan, of 140 Merino and Poll Merino sires that went on to feature both the top priced horned and Poll rams of the day.
The total presentation of 230 rams also included offerings from return vendors Welke Bros, Westwood stud, Cascade and the Pengilly family, Penrose stud, Cascade, who offered 26 and 50 respectively as well as new entry the Gibson family, Nairnup stud, Munglinup, who offered 14 sires at auction.
The result across the four studs was resoundingly positive with lively competition from start to finish, ending the day with a combined clearance of 93pc.
All three returning studs posted strong increases in average with Westwood up by $86 at $1446, Penrose up by $197 at $1395 and Wattle Dale up by a whopping $401 to achieve an average of $1825, while Nairnup also posted a strong average at $1171.
The combined gross for the Merino and Poll Merino catalogue was $353,900, up by nearly $80,000 on the 2017 sale and two studs (Westwood and Nairnup) had total clearances by the end of the day.
The sale top price gong again went to Wattle Dale, but this year the honour went to a Poll Merino, bought by long time Wattle Dale supporter John Wallace, Wallbrook Farms, Neridup, who outlaid $4000 for the quality sire in lot nine.
The twin born ram tipped the scales at 97.5 kilograms, with a micron of 18.8 and greasy fleece weight percentage (GFW) of 94 per cent.
It’s ASBV figures included ranking in the top 10pc nationally for YWT at 9.7kg while it’s other figures included 18.6pc YCFW, -1.5 YFD, -0.9pc YFDCV, and 151pc Merino Production Plus (MP+).
Mr Wallace, who finished the sale with a tally of 10 Wattle Dale sires at a $2550 average, said he’d been buying Wattle Dale rams for 10 years.
“I’ve been buying these rams for a long time and they have done very well,” he said.
Mr Wallace runs a flock of 5000 Merino ewes at Neridup and said the rams he’d bought ranked above his flock’s DNA index.
“I like the figures on the Wattle Dale rams and visually the wool meets the usual criteria – white and bright,” he said.
When it came to the second overall top price and the top priced horned ram of the sale, buyers waited a while before they kicked into action with lot 112 selling to Julian Walter Holdings, Kojonup, for $3400 after Landmark’s Tom Bowen, bidding with instructions over the phone, was successful.
Wattle Dale stud principal Dave Vandenberghe said he thought the twin born ram was the pick of the sale.
The superfine wool Merino tipped the scales at 86.5kg, with a micron of 16.6 and a GFW of 115pc.
It ranked in the top 3pc nationally for YFD at -3.0 and in the top 5pc nationally for MP+ at 200pc and YCFW at 26.2.
It also had ABSVs including 0.4pc YFDCV and 1.4kg YWT.
It was joined by its twin from lot 130 en route to Kojonup after Mr Bowen secured it as well at $1700.
Some buyers bought big in the Wattle Dale catalogue, including LJ & KE McLean, Gibson, who landed 15 rams at an average of $1320 and Telina Downs, Esperance, who finished the sale with 10 at an average of $1870, while return local Wattle Dale buyers Laurina Farms and LJ & D Chapman & Co each bought eight for averages of $2575 and $1425 respectively.
Westwood Poll Merinos were next in the line up with the top price mark set at $2700 for the second ram to go under the hammer.
Mark Walter, W & C Walter Pty Ltd, Cascade, was the lucky top price buyer in the Westwood catalogue and finished the sale with a total of six Westwood rams for an average of $1850.
Joining Mr Walter in the volume buying effort of Westwood genetics were JA Russell Australia Pty Ltd, Esperance, who landed seven for an average of $1300, AM & RM McIntyre, Esperance, who bought five averaging $1520 and Stevens Farming, Broken Hill, New South Wales, who bought three for $1000 apiece.
Mr Walter, who runs 4000 Merino ewes at Cascade, also bought the top-priced ram in the following Penrose line-up for $2300.
Mr Walter said he’d been buying from both studs for many years and was principally focusing on fleece weight in his selections.
By the end of the sale, he had bought a further seven Penrose rams averaging $1600 to finish his day of buying.
Volume buyers in the Penrose line up were BJ & CC Lewis, Scaddan, who bought a dozen for an average of $1433, Allannaluke Farms, Grass Patch, who bought nine for a $1511 average and Stevens Farms, Broken Hill, New South Wales, who bought six for $1000 apiece.
Nairnup stud rounded out the day of Merino and Poll Merino selling, achieving a top price of $1800 which was paid by volume buyer Barry McLeod, Subasio Downs, Wellstead.
Mr McLeod was returning to buy from Nairnup saying that since he has been using Nairnup blood in his 6000 head ewe flock, he has been putting size and wool cut back into the flock.
He finished up with eight Nairnup sires averaging $1162.50, while FC Delacy & Co, Merredin, bought four, averaging $1025 and GW Gibson, Munglinup, bought two for $1500 each.
p British and African Breeds
Following the Merino and Poll Merino presentation was a line up of 67 British and African breed rams from six studs.
The results were down on last year with a 70pc clearance and an overall average of $838, down by $185 on the 2017 sale.
Top price honours in this portion of the sale went to the last White Suffolk to be offered by the Welke family’s Cascade stud, when it sold to TJ & MA Schutz, Esperance, for $1500.
Marie Schutz said she was impressed by the figures on the Cascade ram which weighed in at 85.5kg and had ASBVs including 0.3 BWT, 8.9 WWT, 14.1 PWWT, -0.2 PFAT and 2.3 PEMD, as well as a CarcasePlus index of 197 an LEQ of 137.7.
The Cascade offering saw a total clearance, with Preston Downs Farming Co, Esperance, the volume buyer, taking five for an average of $1200.
Brimlo Suffolk stud also enjoyed a total clearance of their 10 rams offered, including a top price of $900 achieved three times.
Primaries Esperance agent Barry Hutcheson racked up the majority of the Brimlo offering, buying six, including two of the equal top priced rams, averaging $783 overall.
Macsfield White Suffolks offered the largest line up with 20 rams presented and nine sold at auction for an average of $878, with a few more selling privately.
The top price achieved by a Macsfield sire was $1200, paid by I & C McCallum, Esperance, while the volume buyer was NE & MM Wiech & Son, Esperance, who bought three, averaging $733.
Newcomers to the sale
C-View Dohnes offered 15 rams and sold 11 to a top of $900, averaging $618.
Andrew Cook, AK & FM Cook, Salmon Gums, was the top price buyer in the C-View catalogue, saying he was looking for a bit more wool in his Dohne flock, selecting his top priced ram on conformation and growth.
Landmark Esperance tallied up five rams from the C-View catalogue at an average of $560 to be the volume buyer.
Tanalan stud again offered Texel-Poll Dorset composites, with four from eight selling at auction for $600 apiece.
These all went the same way to Marketside, Esperance.
Esperance High School Farm’s Escholar stud offered four Suffolk rams of which three sold to a top of $700 twice, paid by CF & BL Kloeden, Bibra Lake.