WOODYARRUP celebrated its 100th birthday as a stud in emphatic style recently with an outstanding result at the 13th annual Woodyarrup on-property ram sale at Broomehill.
Woodyarrup's philosophy of a top preparation and commitment to genetic improvement was on display with an impressive catalogue of 252 extensively measured, high ranking, large framed Merino and Poll Merino rams with productive stylish wools.
This year's sale team averaged 19.45 micron, 3 SD, 15.6 CV, 99.5pc comfort factor (CF), 103kg bodyweight (BW), 169.65 MP + and 167.40 DP + ASBV indexes with more than 90 per cent of the sale team national trait leaders in the top 20pc for at least one trait.
And they are obviously paying dividends for the stud's loyal long-term clients who joined new buyers at this year's sale to bid strongly on their selections through to the final lot, recording a solid clearance at extremely strong values.
This handed the Dewar family the best milestone birthday gift for the stud they could have hoped for, particularly given feed and water shortages faced by the State's woolgrowers this year, along with a downturn in the wool market.
Led by auctioneers Nathan King and Preston Clarke, the Elders selling team cleared a total of 241 rams (96pc) at auction to average $2140.
This saw an increase in the number of rams sold at auction at only a marginal reduced average from last year where 239 of 248 rams (96pc) sold under the hammer to average $2203.
Merinos made up the bulk of the catalogue with 202 of the 210 rams (96pc) selling at auction to average $2241, back $58 compared to last year's average of $2299 from the complete clearance of 209 rams.
An increased number of 39 of the 42 Poll Merino rams (93pc) sold to a stronger average of $1622 compared to last year's sale where 30 of 39 Poll rams (77pc) found new homes under the hammer for an average of $1537.
The sale opened with a run of 35 regulation March shorn, shed-prepared rams and by lot three the Doyle family, Wylivere Farms, Corrigin, had made it back-to-back top-priced ram purchases when they placed the $12,500 winning bid on the upstanding late June 2019-drop ram.
The 120kg Merino ram by national impact sire (in across-flock sire evaluations) Woodyarrup 120175 displayed current wool tests of 17.4 micron, 2.6 SD, 14.9 CV and 100pc CF with ASBVs of 9.3 YWT, -0.4 YFAT, 0.8 YEMD, -1.7 YFD, 26.6 YCFW, 170 DP+ and 167 MP+ which ranks it in the top 10pc of industry for YWT and top 20pc for both wool traits and indexes.
The Doyles also collected the following Merino ram for $5500 which was a 127kg son of 171883 that tested 18.5 micron, 2.7 SD, 14.6 CV and 99.7pc and ranked in the top 5pc for YWT, YCFW and MP + and top 10pc for DP +.
The Doyle family has been buying sires from Woodyarrup for the past six years to go into the operation's nucleus breeding program to breed their own flock rams.
They will join a total of 4600 to 4800 August shorn Merino ewes at the end of November for a six-week joining.
Greg Doyle said they didn't single mate their nucleus flock of 400 ewes and the two new sires would help form a sire battery of 11 to 12 at a joining rate of around 3pc.
He said they kept their selection process for their sires "pretty basic".
"We aim for a bigger sheep with stretch, height and size with a good quality wool and try to match the two out," Mr Doyle said.
Mr Doyle said they sold an annual draft of 614 1.5-year-old ewes in two lines which averaged $190 at about 400c/kg at the Elders Corrigin sheep sale earlier the same day as the Woodyarrup sale.
Return stud buyer Jason Griffiths, Canowie Fields stud, Gairdner, collected a new Merino sire penned in lot 16 for the sale's $7500 second top price.
The 114kg late July 2019-drop son of 151067 tested 18 micron, 2.8 SD, 15.3 CV and 99.9pc CF.
Canowie Fields stud classer Philip Russell said the whiteness in the ram's fleece was important given it's going to the coastal regions while it was also a very correct sheep.
The next highest price of $7000 was paid on two occasions.
Wayne Pech, North Stirling Downs Pty Ltd, Gnowangerup, was first to pay it for lot 10 containing a late July-drop 114kg son of 171883 with wool tests of 18.2 micron, 2.6 SD, 14.6 CV and 99.8pc CF and ranked in the top 1pc for YCFW at 36.1 and MP+ at 192, top 5pc for DP + at 184 and top 10pc for YWT.
It wasn't until lot 91 that the Marsh family, Warrens Creek stud, Kojonup, paid their $7000 price in later shorn paddock run rams for one of two rams purchased at the sale.
The 101kg mid-July 2019 born ram by W170470 that tested 19.3 micron, 3.4 SD, 17.8 CV and 99.2pc CF and ranked in the top 5pc for YWT and YCFW, top 10pc MP + and top 20pc DP+.
Greg Marsh, who attended the sale with his son Anthony and grandson Mitchell, said while the family had been regularly buying stud sires at Woodyarrup for the past 20 years, he recently came across some old ram sale catalogues which showed his grandfather had purchased rams from Woodyarrup during the 1920s at the Katanning ram sale.
"During the late 1990s, we learned of what Dr Paul Swan offered and when he got involved at Woodyarrup we became interested," Mr Marsh said.
"We had a good sound breeding base but the Woodyarrup sire put a knife through them with its impact, the micron came down, staple length and fleece weight went up.
"An amazing result of what one ram can do and then you have a generation in place to build from."
DR & EC Parsons, Hastings, paid the sale's next highest price of $6400 for a late July 2019-drop paddock run ram by 150973 with the 106kg ram testing 18.7 micron, 2.6 SD, 14 CV and 99.9pc CF, while ranking in the top 10pc for YWT and YFD and top 20pc for MP +.
TF & RA O'Meehan & Peenebup, Borden, collected two rams for $3100 and the sale's $3300 top Poll Merino ram price for a 131kg mid-July 2019-drop son of PB160536 with wool tests of 20.4 micron, 2.8 SD, 13.6 CV and 99.7pc CF and ranked in the top 5pc for YWT and the top 10pc for YCFW, DP + and MP+.
But it was the swag of volume buyers that put together large teams of rams which swung the most influence on the sale.
Leading the charge was 10-year client Morgan Brothers, Cranbrook, who built a team of 23 Merino rams at solid values from $2100 to $3200.
Ed, Sean and Corey Morgan represented three generations of the family at the sale and will join 4500 ewes to Merino rams in February.
The Morgans said they were originally Brickhouse clients and moved with the stud to its new home at Woodyarrup and have carried on from there.
"Woodyarrup are a similar sheep and wool type to Brickhouse so it was a smooth transition," they said.
"We look for the more dual purpose types and we can see this coming through our young stock with their size.
"Our February shorn wool clip averages 18.4 micron and we are still cutting a reasonable amount of wool."
Carslake Holdings, Beverley, was another of the sale's bigger players after finishing the sale with a team of 20 mainly Merino rams, costing from $1100 to $2700.
Russell McKay, Elders stud stock, was kept busy throughout the sale, filling several client orders including 15 Merino rams for Myoting Plains, Quairading, operating at all values from $800 through to a $3500 top price paid for a powerful final ram to conclude the sale, 13 predominantly Poll rams costing from $800 to $2750 for an undisclosed Great Southern account and nine rams for Dale Park Enterprises, Beverley, paying from $1200 to $1700.
Mr Russell said he had more than 20 clients buying rams at the sale who were all very keen on the figures, wool quality and yearling growth rates of the Woodyarrup rams.
An undisclosed buyer from the Williams area operated from $1800 to $3900 for a team of 14 Merino rams, while regular buyers the Patmore family, Springhill Farm, Narrogin, paid from $2000 to $3100 for nine Merino rams and three Poll rams for a healthy average of $2613 and Frost and Cave Farms, Kendenup, focussed exclusively on Polls in their team of 11 rams costing from $800 to $2000.
Finishing the sale with a team of eight rams was Woodspoint Farming, Katanning, M & JM Sadler & Co, Tambellup, T & L Wray, Blackboy Hills Farms and sheep classer Philip Russell representing Eddington Farming Company.