YEARS of passionate Suffolk breeding has started to wrap up for Clackline-based Pamellen stud with what is believed to be a national record set at the first stage of the stud's dispersal held via AuctionsPlus on Friday.
Stud principals Pam Hinkley and Suellyn Boucher will leave a far-reaching legacy with buyers from across the country securing ewes, rams and semen straws from the highly decorated stud, including what is believed to be a record Australian top-price paid for a Suffolk ewe when Wayne McGrath, Ansa Suffolk stud, Sydney, New South Wales, went to $3600 for a 2016-drop stud ewe PTIL to Pamellen 86/15.
All up 120 stud ewes were offered up via the online selling platform AuctionsPlus, selling to a complete clearance and an average price of $1168 per head.
Divided by age bracket and pregnancy status, the three largest groups of ewes were PTIL ewes born in 2015, 2016 and 2017, which saw average prices of $1436, $1425 and $1093 respectively.
For the PTE ewes, the highest average price was $1350 across four 2015-drop stud ewes and the top price was $2950.
Pam Hinkley kicked off her stud breeding career in 1974 when her parents purchased some breeding ewes from Talawa Suffolk stud, Mt Barker.
Over the years various bloodlines were bought in from local and interstate studs until 1981 when Pamellen purchased its first New Zealand sire and since then the majority of sires used have been from New Zealand genetics, first with live rams and lately with semen stock, with Ms Hinkley singling out Coleford Suffolk stud, New Zealand, for a special mention due to the level of impact those bloodlines had on the Pamellen flock.
For many years now, Pamellen has also had a regular presence at sheep shows around WA, including a memorable win of the ribbon for 1989 supreme champion all breeds sheep title at the Perth Royal Show.
That was the first year a non-Merino had won and since then the stud has continued to rake in accolades and ribbons at the many shows it has exhibited at.
The focus for Pamellen has always been on breeding conformation and balance into its sheep and that was reflected in the calibre of the catalogue in the first stage of its stud dispersal.
It was no doubt the history of such high breeding standards and reputation which drew Australia-wide attention to the first dispersal sale.
Mr McGrath, who bought the two ewes at the top end of the sale, said it represented a fantastic opportunity to get his hands on some elite genetics which he hadn't had in his stud previously.
"This was a great opportunity to buy some elite genetics which were well bred with good Breedplan figures and pedigrees," Mr McGrath said.
"The Pamellen ewes have been recognised for their quality with wins at the (IGA) Perth Royal Show and I look forward to seeing them arrive here this week."
The ewes will join the stud flock at Ansa stud and will likely go into ET-flush programs in the future.
The $3600 top-priced ewe was Pamellen bred through and through, sired by Pamellen 20/07 and out of Pamellen 98/14 with figures including 0.51 BWT, 8.3 WWT, 12.8 PWWT, -0.5 PFAT, 0.7 PEMD and 173.8 CarcasePlus.
It was also judged the champion Suffolk ewe and reserve champion all breeds ewe at the IGA Perth Royal Show in 2017.
Mr McGrath also secured the second top-priced ewe sold on the day for $3200.
This was the reserve champion Suffolk ewe at the 2018 IGA Perth Royal Show.
Two WA-based Suffolk studs were able to secure big numbers with Scott Newbey, Broomehill, landing a team of 16 Pamellen ewes, while Peter Walker, Newdegate, went home with seven.
There were also a number of interstate volume buyers, including James Cleland, Lennox Suffolk stud, South Australia, who bought 14 ewes to be one of the main volume buyers to a top of $3000, paid for the 2018 IGA Perth Royal Show champion Suffolk ewe.
Mr Cleland said it was hard to go past such an opportunity to buy some of the best ewes from a stud with a long and decorated history.
"We wanted to buy as many ewes as we could to complement our stud and the type we're looking for to help us advance our flock," Mr Cleland said.
"It was an opportunity we couldn't let slip."
Having bought two 'beautiful' ewes from Pamellen before which have performed extremely well for his stud, Mr Cleland said the legacy of the Pamellen ewes will carry through in his flock as the genetics have already proven their value.
Other volume buyers included Greg Good, New South Wales, who also bought 14, Ellie McDonald, Victoria, who bought nine and Helen Schultz, South Australia, who bought seven.
On the ram front, only three sires were offered but the top price was set at $6500 when Donald Cochrane purchased the ram in lot 116 with the intention of collecting and marketing semen from it.
The ram was actually a Jusak ram bought by the Pamellen stud at last year's WA Elite White Suffolk and Suffolk ram sale at Wagin.
Jusak 7085/17 was by Karinya 647/15 and out of a Pamellen-bred Jusak ewe with figures including 0.70 BWT, 12.5 WWT, 19.89 PWWT, -0.4 PFAT, 1.6 PEMD and 215.1 CarcasePlus.
Mr Cochrane said it was a well-balanced and upstanding ram with a good physique including good feet, legs, hips and pins.
"Those traits were backed up by good data and it was a breed leader for eight of the 14 measured traits," he said.
"It had high growth but that was matched by balanced figures overall which highlighted muscle and eating quality.
"The pedigree line was strong, going back to two lines which were well-known for their moderate growth and heavy muscling ability."
The ram will be staying in WA and will have semen collected which will be marketed by Mr Cochrane both locally and overseas, in particular into Inner Mongolia.
Following the sale of the two other sires available at the sale, rams averaged $3267 on the day.
There were also more than 400 straws of semen available with 362 of 402 selling at auction to a top of $70 per straw and averaging $46.
Elders stud stock manager Tim Spicer said the final sale result was a fitting reward for the stud connections after 45 years of breeding Suffolk sheep.
"The sale presented a great opportunity for buyers Australia-wide to purchase genetics from one of Australia's leading Suffolk studs, which has based its genetics over the years on other Australian bloodlines as well as oversees genetics and they took it with both hands," Mr Spicer said.
"At the inspection day a few weeks ago, the sheep were in great condition and presented very well and there was a good number of attendees, which gave us confidence leading into the sale.
"Overall it was a fantastic result to sell all the ewes and rams during the online sale on AuctionsPlus and the final results were up on expectations and very pleasing for the vendors.
"The sale attracted 70 registered bidders from six States of which 28 were active bidders placing 1683 bids during the sale and there was also 46 desk viewers.
"The sheep sold not only to local registered studs but also to breeders in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania."
Landmark Breeding representative Roy Addis agreed stage one of the Pamellen Suffolk stud dispersal was a resounding success.
"We saw record prices and averages with competition from across Australia," Mr Addis said.
"The result was a true reflection of the significant contribution Pamellen has made to the Suffolk breed over 45 years of elite breeding.
"That solid reputation for breeding outstanding sheep resulted in 80 stud ewes selling into the east.
"Landmark would like to congratulate Pam and Suellyn on the sale result and look forward to continued support for the second part of the dispersal in the spring which will feature 2018-drop rams and ewes."