A YOUNG, upstanding Poll Merino ram from the Poll Boonoke stud, Deniliquin, New South Wales, was the centre of attention at the Australian Sheep & Wool Show at Bendigo, Victoria, when it sold privately for $70,000.
The classy sire, Poll Boonoke 180137, will make its new home in WA's Wheatbelt area after it was purchased by the Button family's Manunda stud, Tammin and the Mackin family's Kamballie stud, Tammin, in a 50:50 partnership.
Australian Food and Agriculture's Poll Boonoke ram breeding manager Angus Munro said they were not initially thinking about selling the ram but when the offer was put on the table they had to consider it.
"We were intending to keep him and use him in the stud as we believe he is a real stud ram with size, wool cut and purity," Mr Munro said.
"But in the end we decided to let him go and we couldn't be happier with the result, it is the highest price for the stud since the Bells took ownership in 2000."
The stud's previous best price was $50,000 for Poll Boonoke 100001 at its on-property sale in 2011.
Poll Boonoke 180137, which is a "double poll" was bred from the stud's first embryo transfer program undertaken in some time.
The ET-bred ram, which is still carrying its lamb's teeth, is by Poll Boonoke 130028 and out of Poll Boonoke 140056, which is a daughter of Poll Boonoke 100001.
Mr Munro said 130028 was one of the stud's best breeding sires and it is related back to Wallaloo Park Real Deal.
"On the dam's side it's related to PB1 (maternal grandfather) which is a really good wool family," Mr Munro said.
The May/June 2018-drop, March shorn, 119.5 kilogram ram has current wool test figures of 19.1 micron, 3.6 SD, 18.8 CV, 99.0 per cent comfort factor and a greasy fleece weight percentage of 182.8pc.
The ram also has an impressive set of Australian Sheep Breeding Values which see it ranked in the top 1pc for yearling clean fleece weight (43.1), top 5pc for yearling weight (9.5) and Merino production index (173) and top 10pc for the dual-purpose index (162)
The Button and Mackin families are both excited by what the ram will offer their studs after being fortunate to be given the opportunity to purchase it after picking it out in the early stages of the three-day showing.
Manunda stud principal Wayne Button said they were excited to be able to purchase a ram of this quality, as they don't come along that often.
"As a ram he ticks all the boxes for us and has all the attributes we are looking for in a sire plus he has the figures to match," Mr Button said.
"His wool quality and and carcase attributes are both fantastic.
"He is a big, square, long ram with plenty of meat and in terms of his wool he has an outstanding, heavy cutting sirey wool.
"He really has a ram breeding wool and that was what first attracted us to him.
"We are also very happy that his figures line-up with what you see visually which is not always the case."
When it comes to 180137's use in the Manunda stud, Mr Button said they would select ewes out later in the year to use the ram over.
"I think most of the ewes we select for him will be daughters of industry-leading sires Banavie 333 and Rhamily Benny," Mr Button said.
Shayne Mackin said the decision to purchase the ram was probably one of the biggest he has made for the stud and it was a big commitment.
"To have the opportunity to buy this ram with the Button family who are close by and have similar breeding objects to us made the decision easier," Mr Mackin said.
"We have purchased together before when we bought Rhamily Benny and it worked well for both of us, so we believe this will work just as well."
Mr Mackin said the ram wouldn't be the first Poll Boonoke ram to be used in the Kamballie stud, as they have used the ram's sire Poll Boonoke 28 in an ET program.
"His father worked well in the ET-program so I was pretty keen to get a son to get another cross, so when we found this one I was pretty excited," Mr Mackin said.
"I really like the bone and the masculinity which the Poll Boonoke rams show and this ram is no different.
"For his young age he shows really good early maturity and his balance between wool and carcase traits is exceptional."
At this stage Mr Mackin will look at using the ram over ewes carrying Rhamily Benny and Gunallo bloodlines in its first joining later this year.
The sale was negotiated by Landmark stud stock southern NSW representative Rick Power and Landmark Breeding WA representative Mitchell Crosby and the Poll Boonoke stud has maintained 50pc semen rights in the ram.