UNPRECEDENTED local and interstate demand saw WA's shedding breeds as front runners for the 2020 ram selling season.
Sustained strong lamb and sheep meat prices, a downturn in the wool market and the hardy nature of the sheep and ability to perform in tough conditions, combined to heighten interest in shedding breeds and probably played a major role in the significant improvement in value and clearance this year.
All sales enjoyed stronger results than last year, but it was the newer shedding breeds that exploded into calculations with some awesome sale results that heavily influenced the rise in collective values.
This year 586 Dorper, White Dorper, Australian Whites, Kojak, UltraWhite, SheepMaster and Western White shedding rams were offered by eight breeders at nine WA sales.
Overall 551 rams sold under the hammer at a 94 per cent clearance rate grossing $1,437,500 at an average of $2609.
This achieved a hike of $799 in average compared to last year where 478 of 564 shedding breed rams sold at auction (85pc) to gross $865,350 at an average of $1810.
The State's Dorper breeders were among the few breeds of sheep to buck the general downward trend seen across this ram selling season.
Increased demand for Dorper sires saw the breed significantly improved their collective average to the highest level since 2009 from the same amount of rams sold at auction as last year.
The Douwana stud selling at the Chapman Valley Breeders sale with the standalone sales of the Kaya stud, Narrogin and Ida Vale stud, Kojonup (who also offered a couple of rams at the South West Invitational sale), combined to offer a total of 125 rams with 117 rams selling at auction at a 94pc clearance rate to gross $219,600 and average $1877.
This marked a decisive $707 improvement in the collective average and $82,700 in gross returns from last year's result where 117 of the 129 rams offered sold at auction to gross $136,900 and average $1170.
The Kaya stud led the breed average stakes with a sharply improved average of $2288 followed by the Douwana stud, Yuna, that also strongly lifted its average to $1812 and Ida Vale also with an improved average of $1150.
Clearances were strong across the three main sales, with Kaya notching up a total clearance at auction of its 41-strong sale team, while Douwana wasn't far off clearing 58 of the 60 rams (97pc) and Ida Vale posted an 82pc clearance of 22 rams.
This season's top-priced Dorper ram was sold at the Kaya sale for $5400 which was purchased by Nutrien Livestock Breeding representative Roy Addis by phone for return stud buyer Marius Loots, Prieska stud, Peak Hill, New South Wales.
The 99kg June 2019-drop, twinborn ram by Kaya 170491 had ASBVs ranking in the top 10pc of all shedding breeds for dressing percentage (Dress) at 3.2 and top 30pc for birthweight (BWT) at 0.44 and PEMD at 1.9 while its other ASBVs were 5.0 WWT, 8.6 PWWT, 0.0 PFAT, 1.4 lean meat yield (LMY), 1.1 number of lambs weaned (NLW) while its SRC index is 122.6.
Unfortunately White Dorper ram numbers continued to decline this year and reached the lowest number of rams offered at WA sales since 2010.
White Dorper ram numbers fell to just 80 rams being offered by two breeders at three WA sales this year, with 64 rams selling at auction for an 80pc clearance.
But on a positive note, with greater Eastern States' support, the rams sold strongly at auction across both standalone sales of the Kaya and Ida Vales studs to record the highest collective average since 2009 of $1877 and gross $116,250.
This was significantly up by $843 compared to last year's combined average of $973 from 86 of the 128 rams (67pc) to sell under the hammer to average $973 and gross $83,700.
Kaya stud took out the double in the breed average stakes, also topping the White Dorper averages with a mighty lift of $910 to average $1956 while Ida Vale also showed a substantial improvement in average by $576 to $1464.
Kaya also recorded another total clearance of 48 White Dorper rams to seal a complete clearance of all rams at their sale.
Kaya stud capped off a successful season with the $4300 top-priced White Dorper ram which was also purchased by Mr Addis by phone, on this occasion for Brad and Tanya Edson, Red Rock White Dorper stud, Keith, South Australia.
The July 2019-drop, 106kg ram ranks in the top 10pc for sheer force at -3.3 and top 30pc for IMF at -0.3, while its other ASBVs are -0.24 BWT, 5.7 WWT, 9.6 PWWT, 0.1 PFAT, 1.0 PEMD, 0.0 NLW, 2.8 Dress, 1.2 LMY and 119.5 SRC index.
Other shedding breeds
The annual growth of other shedding breeds exploded to new levels to be the biggest movers this selling season.
Unprecedented demand from throughout the country resulted in some astonishing sale results which saw all sale indicators fly to new records.
Since records began in 2014, this year saw the highest amount of rams ever offered and sold and by far the highest gross and average on the back of improved sale indicators for all breeders.
This year, Moodi Australian Whites, BreedersBEST Kojak, Hillcroft Farms UltraWhite, SheepMaster stud and Ida Vale Western Whites, combined to offer 381 rams with 370 rams (97pc) selling under the hammer to gross $1,101,650 at a thumping average of $2977.
This marked a $632 overall jump in average from last year's result where 275 of 307 rams sold at auction (90pc) to gross $644,750 and average $2345.
The Hillcroft Farms UltraWhite stud, Popanyinning, held one of the strongest production sales ever seen in Australia this year, selling 199 of 200 rams at auction to gross $632,850 at an almighty average of $3180 which was up $472 on last year's average.
SheepMaster stud, Albany, topped the average stakes with a total clearance of 42 rams at the inaugural national sale for the breed at a whopping $4752 average.
BreedersBEST Kojak stud, Kojonup, recorded the next highest average of $2314 with a total clearance of 66 rams followed by Moodi Australian Whites with an average of $2113, also from a 100pc clearance at auction.
The $25,500 top-priced shedding ram for this season was achieved by the SheepMaster stud.
The 3.5-year-old ram was the breed's first 'Gold Standard Sire' to be offered for sale and was purchased by Josh Everett, bidding on behalf of his mother Phillipa Hamersley-Everett, Angevin stud, Tenterfield, NSW.
The ram had current scans of 48.5mm eye muscle depth (EMD) and 9.1mm fat.
SheepMaster also sold rams for $14,000 and $10,000 at the sale.
The $18,000 top-priced ram at the Hillcroft Farms sale was purchased by John Cranston, Kingslane stud, Benger, who also paid $14,750 for another ram.
The top-priced June 2019-drop ram had ASBVs showing -0.20 BW, 3.8 EMD, 7.2 WWT, 11.7 PWWT, 1.0 PFAT, with a 148.1 TCP index and additional ASBVs of -0.49 IMF, 0.55 S/FRCE and 2.56 LMY.