A QUALITY line-up of Poll Merino and Merino rams sold to $8100 at the annual Ejanding on-property ram sale at Dowerin recently.
Despite seasonal challenges and reduced ewe numbers throughout its client base, the Jones family and the Ejanding team maintained their recent sale numbers of 180 Poll Merino and Merino rams.
The extensive catalogue of well grown and accurately measured rams ranking highly across various traits on MerinoSelect drew several comments prior to the sale, directed toward the Ejanding's consistently-improving depth and performance every year.
Testament to the Ejanding wools and type, new buyers joined the stud's loyal following descending from the Central and Northern Wheatbelt, coastal regions and the Great Southern.
The sale jumped out of the blocks in blistering fashion with buyers prepared to compete strongly on their selections which saw plenty of commercial buyers filling their requirements at extremely strong values.
This buying support was among the sale highlights and showed an ongoing commitment to their breeding programs and the sheep industry, despite facing some challenges.
But when the sale turned the corner at the halfway mark, many buyers had filled their requirements and remaining buyers were afforded to become more selective.
A few buyers went to work on building significant teams at good values from $700 to $800, but some rams were overlooked as the sale wore on.
This resulted in the sale following the softening trend seen at most ram sales this season with clearance and values back on last year's sale.
When the 180th and final ram was sold, the Elders and Nutrien Livestock selling teams, guided by auctioneers Steele Hathway, Elders Corrigin and Grant Lupton, Nutrien Livestock Wongan Hills, had sold 140 rams (87 per cent) at auction at an average of $1650.
This marked only a $98 drop in average compared to last year, however clearances took the biggest hit from last year's result of 165 of 180 rams (92pc) sold under the hammer.
In the sale breakdown, the increased team of 130 Poll Merino rams saw 109 rams (84pc) sell at auction to average $1667, back $161 on average compared to last year where 120 of 125 Poll rams (96pc) sold for an average of $1748.
While the clearance was down, the line-up of 50 Merino rams bucked the trend with 31 rams selling under the hammer (62pc) for an improved average of $1590, up $54 on last year where 45 of 55 rams (82pc) sold for an average of $1536.
Topping this year's sale was the Merino sale team leader, a regulation February shorn shed-prepared ram by Ejanding Kenny 167085 knocked down to Kevin Broad, Elders stud stock, on behalf of WF Gaze & Co, Borden, for $8100.
The thumping 131.5kg ram displayed July tests of 19.5 micron, 3.1 SD, 15.9 CV and 99.9 per cent comfort factor (CF), scanned 3mm fat and 35mm eye muscle depth (EMD) along with ASBVs of 16.9 YCFW, -2.0 YFD (top 20pc), 9.8 YWT (top 10pc), -0.7 YFAT, -0.6 YEMD, 155.6 MP+ and 155 DP+.
Mr Broad, who classes the Gaze family's commercial sheep flock, said it was the first time the family had purchased a sire outside of the Great Southern region for its nucleus breeding program.
"We were chasing some new genetics and had seen the ram being promoted in the Farm Weekly," Mr Broad said.
"We liked its outlook and for a big ram it carries outstanding wool quality on a 132kg frame.
"Going forward in the industry, it is a good dual-purpose animal with carcase and wool and I'm very confident its wool will handle the Borden environment."
The $5400 top-price Poll ram was paid on two occasions.
First from the sale's outset by consistent stud buyers of recent years the Millsteed family, Mocardy Poll Merino stud, Wongan Hills.
The February shorn, shed prepared, high ranking sale team leader was sired by Ejanding 176367 with wool tests of 19.7 micron, 3 SD, 15.2 CV, 99.8pc CF and scanned 3.9mm fat and 36mm EMD.
The 116.5kg ram performed strongly with its ASBVs at 30 YCFW, -1.3 YFD, 7.6 YWT,
-0.3 YFAT, 0.5 YEMD, 171.5 MP + and 174.1 DP +, ranking it in the top 10pc for YCFW and both indexes.
Mason Millsteed said they were breeding towards a six-month shearing cycle on big plain bodies and selected sires accordingly.
"We're looking for a longer staple more dual purpose type animal and this ram has size and staple length," Mr Millsteed said.
"We selected about five rams from the sale but we were happy to get this one.
"The Ejanding bloodlines have performed well for us and grow out really well."
The Bryant family, Bou-Saada, Latham, had circled lot 14 for a reason with the half-brother to lot one also attracting plenty of interest and selling for the $5400 equal top Poll price.
The 113kg ram tested 21.4 micron, 3.1 SD, 14.5 CV, 99.9pc CF, 74.5pc yield, 4.6mm fat and 40.5mm EMD.
It also recorded strong performance data at 24.7 YCFW, -1.1 YFD, 9.9 YWT, 0.8 YFAT, 2.0 YEMD, 158.7 MP + and 170.3 DP +, ranking the ram in the top 10pc for YWT and YEMD and top 20pc for YCFW, YFAT and DP+.
The Bryant family runs 1100 commercial ewes and breed its own flock rams from a selected nucleus of 120 ewes and has been buying sires from Ejanding for the past six years.
Colin Bryant said the Ejanding sheep performed well in the Northern Wheatbelt and they look for a dual purpose sheep with frame and staple length.
While initially being passed in at auction, Eastough Farming, Northampton, soon agreed to the $5000 reserve price for the upstanding Poll ram in lot two.
The 122kg shed prepared Moorundie 150073 bred ram recorded ASBVs in the top 5pc for YCFW and top 20pc for YWT and MP + and tested 18.4 micron, 2.6SD, 14.1 CV, 99.9pc CF, 3mm fat and 30mm EMD.
After only requiring a handful of rams last year, the Sparkman family, Shanandale Pty Ltd, Perenjori, returned to stock up with a team of 14 rams including six Polls costing from $800 to $2600 and eight Merino rams from $1000 to $3000.
The family's $3000 top price was paid for a 109.5kg Figgy 150611 with ASBVs in the top 10pc for YCFW and YWT and top 20pc DP+ and measured 21.3 micron, 4.2 SD, 19.7 CV, 99.2pc CF, 62.9pc yield, 2.9mm fat and 30mm EMD.
Ashley Sparkman said they have maintained their ewe numbers and would join around 2100 in coming mating season.
He said following a period of five years improving their wools, they have spent the past few years chasing early maturing, more dual purpose type sheep in their ram selections.
Rex Luers, Livestock & Land, Nutrien Livestock Wheatbelt, representing consistent volume buyer
W Emmott & Sons, Dowerin, went to script again this year with another big team of 15 Poll rams at good value for money at mostly $700 to $800.
Mr Luers also filled a decent order of Poll rams for NB & KL Freason, Wongan Hills, bidding from $1200 to $2600 for eight rams, while Elders Wongan Hills agent Jeff Brennan collected 12 Poll rams, also at value from $700 to $1200 on behalf of Mardenway Pty Ltd, Kalannie and Wheeldon Vale, Dowerin, finishing the sale with nine Poll rams (one ram after the sale) paying from $800 to $2000.
Buyers exclusively chasing bigger numbers of Merino rams included RE & WK Jones, Dowerin, with seven rams from $700 to $2400 and B & E King, Latham, also with seven rams (one following the sale) rams costing $700 to $1400.
There were several commercial buyers who paid in excess of $3000 for their selections.
Consistent top-end buyer John Metcalfe & Son, Dowerin, bid to a $3400 top price for a team of six Poll rams with their top price paid for a 108kg Ejanding 155906 son ranking in the top 5pc for yearling weight and DP +, top 10pc for MP + and top 20pc for YCFW and YEMD with tests of 19.6 micron, 3.2 SD, 16.3 CV, 99.9pc CF, 61.1pc yield, 4.2mm fat and 39mm EMD.
T & S Wilding, Northam, paid to a $3800 top price for one of four rams, a 128kg shed prepared ram ranking in the top 5pc for YWT and top 20pc for DP +.
The Ejanding 176363 son measured 17.9 micron, 3.2 SD, 17.9 CV, 99.9pc CF, 3.6mm fat and 37.5mm EMD.