SIZE and softness, plain and simple, is the Belka Valley Poll Merino stud's signature line and its genetics exemplify this slogan, with yet another complete clearance proof of its popularity.
Kicking off the 2019 Merino ram sale calendar with yet another highly successful result, Belka Valley principals Phil and Robyn Jones, presented an exceptional sale team of 70 Poll Merino rams last week at Bruce Rock.
Elders stud stock representative, auctioneer and Belka Valley classer, Nathan King, said it was an outstanding penning of rams.
"This is the most even line-up of Belka Valley rams I have been involved with," Mr King said.
"The sale reflected this and there was strong competition throughout from start to finish.
"It is a really positive start to the Merino selling season."
Mr King said the overall positivity of the Belka Valley sale was definitive evidence of their regular and volume clients satisfaction with the genetics on offer.
Proving this premise it was once again regular top price and volume buyers, Nick and Pam Spark, Bonnie Rock, who fought off stiff competition to take home the two top-priced sires in the sale.
The Sparks purchased the top-priced ram for $3600, a ram worthy of the title.
The big sire was the first of the rams sired by a Mianelup Poll ram purchased in 2017 by Belka Valley with the aim of creating a new family within its stud.
The ram exhibited wool figures of 18.8 micron, 3.7 SD, 19.7 CV, 99.7 per cent comfort factor and 67.7pc yield.
Not to be outdone the second highest priced ram, also Mianelup sired, was knocked down to the Sparks for a very close $3500, with its wool figures at 19.8 micron, 3.9 SD, 19.7 CV, 99.5pc CF and an impressive yield of 75.7pc.
The Sparks ended the day with a team of seven rams for an average of $2443.
Mr Spark said they had purchased at the Belka Valley sale for about eight years and found it difficult to select their sires this year.
"They are such great quality, it was the hardest year to choose, it was such an even line-up of rams," Mr Spark said.
"Some of the paddock run rams gave the show/stud ones a run for their money.
"We like the longer staple of the Belka Valley wool and have been getting great results from their bloodlines.
"I personally like the clean white wool and nice long staple these Belka Valley sheep have and that we get on our sheep," Ms Spark said.
The Sparks have a commercial flock of 6000 breeding ewes, with 4000 mated to Merinos and 2000 to prime lamb sires.
"Today we purchased along two different lines," Mr Spark said.
"We have a couple of lines within our Merinos.
"We are trying to get a little more frame size on about two-thirds of the flock and the remaining third we are concentrating on wool quality.
"You can see this in the sires we chose."
With the entire offering of 70 Poll rams selling for an increased average of $1396 and an overall gross of $97,700, up by $4100 from the 2018 figures, with only one more ram sold than the previous year, it was easy to see why some of the 18 registered buyers have to return for private selections at a later date to fulfil their requirements.
Regular volume buyers were certainly abundant and one of these was Paul Wanless, PR Wanless, Muntadgin, who purchased a team of eight rams, to a top of $2700 and an average of $2000.
The top-priced ram going home to Mr Wanless's program was another of the Mianelup sired ram, with wool figures of 20.1 micron, 3.8 SD, 18.9 CV and a comfort factor of 99.6pc.
Elders Merredin territory sales manager, Graeme Teasdale, said Mr Wanless had purchased Belka Valley rams for five years and particularly liked their wool type and frame.
The overall volume buyer of the sale was once again another regular volume buyer, Chris Flintham, CB Flintham & Co, Muntadgin, who put together an exceptional team of 11 rams, to a top of $2000 and an average of $1355.
Mr Flintham's top-priced ram was a Claypans bloodline sired ram with figures of 16.4 micron, 2.4 SD, 14.7 CV and a comfort factor of 100pc.
Mr Flintham said he had been buying regularly from Belka Valley for more than 10 years and liked the lambs they produced on the ground in their commercial, self-replacing ewe flock.
Mr Teasdale bought on behalf of Mr Flintham and said they looked for the wool type and frame when making their selections.
"The frame and wool types are so consistent here at Belka Valley," Mr Teasdale said.
"You can buy here and be guaranteed no issue with quality."
While there were many multiple ram clients with utes of five rams and lower after the sale, rounding out the bigger volumes was again another regular client in Edmundsbury Farms, Merredin.
Edmundsbury Farms finished its day with a total of eight rams to a top of $1900 and a healthy average of $1413.
Belka Valley principal Phil Jones said it was very humbling to have such great support from their return buyers and he was extremely happy with the results of the sale.
After all their hard work breeding the rams and putting together the team, it is safe to say it was well and truly worth it for the Jones family and their Belka Valley stud.
- Under the hammer results
- Offered: 70
- Sold: 70
- Top: $3600
- Gross: $97,700
- Average: $1396