New and existing clients of the Ejanding Merino and Poll Merino stud turned out in force at the Dowerin stud's annual on-property ram sale last week and were rewarded with an extremely even line-up of sires to select from.
This resulted in strong bidding throughout the 179-head catalogue and saw prices peak at $4500 for a Poll Merino ram, while the Merino section attracted a top bid of $3600.
The Jones family offered 134 Poll Merinos, of which 121 head sold under the hammer of Elders auctioneer Steele Hathway at an average of $1943, while 30 of the 45 Merino rams offered were sold at an average of $2053.
This resulted in a total average of $1965, with 151 of the 179 head selling to 29 of the 33 registered buyers.It was a 104.5 kilogram Poll Merino in pen 60 that attracted the most attention on the day and was eventually secured by HC & GL Ludemann, Bolgart.
Edward Ludemann, who has bought from the Ejanding sale for the past few years with father Geoffrey, said things had escalated quickly and it wasn't his intention to be the top-priced buyer for the afternoon.
"I was the losing bidder on quite a few of the earlier Poll Merinos and I quickly realised that a lot of the rams that I had picked out were the same as what other buyers wanted," Mr Ludemann said.
"If you want good genetics you have to pay for them and I decided I was going to have to keep bidding on this one until I got it."
Sired by an Ejanding Poll, the ram had Australian Sheep Breeding Values of 43.5 yearling clean fleece weight (YCFW), 0.1 yearling fibre diameter (YFD), 15.7 yearling weight (YWT), -0.1 yearling fat (YFAT), 0.9 yearling eye muscle depth (YEMD) and indexes of 198.3 for MP+ and 212.9 DP+, many of which ranked in the top five per cent of MerinoSelect.
The paddock-run ram also had July wool test results of 20.4 micron, 3 SD, 14.7 CV, 99.9 per cent comfort factor (CF) and 60.9pc yield, along with scan results of 3.5mm fat and 37.5mm eye muscle depth (EMD).
Mr Ludemann said the ram was structurally sound and a heavy cutter with free-growing white wool which was what he was selecting for.
"I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do at our place," he said.
The ram was one of 12 Poll Merinos purchased by Mr Ludemann at an average of $2708, having been very pleased with the success they had had with the progeny of the sires they had bought from the stud over the past three seasons.
"Our purchases this year will complete our transition over to using 100pc Ejanding rams, which will be mated to our 3500 head of Merino ewes," he said.
"We know to make genetic gains you have to pay for good genetics, especially when the impact they have is going to go beyond the current market factors."
The top price in the Merino rams was achieved in pen 61, the very next pen after the Poll Merino top and the first of the 45-head Merino offering.
The 93kg ram was snapped up by regular buyer Ashley Sparkman, Shanandale Pty Ltd, Perenjori.It had ASBVs of 36.2 YCFW, -0.1 YFD, 11.5 YWT, -1.1 YFAT, -0.6 YEMD, 186.4 MP+ and 188 DP+.
This was in addition to wool measuring 18.8 micron, 2.6 SD, 13.8 CV, 100pc CF and 74.5pc yield, and scan results of 3.3mm fat and 34mm EMD.
He said he liked the wool and staple length of the ram, with its nice crimp.
Mr Sparkman, who started buying from Ejanding in about 2006, bought a total of 11 rams, five Poll Merino and six Merino at an average of $2582 which will be used over his 2500 head mated ewe flock.
"I look for the bigger bodied, early maturing types with staple length and bright white wool," Mr Sparkman said.
"We're a bit closer to the coast and they suit our environment well."
Neighbour and long-time client Adam Metcalf, trading as John Metcalf & Son, Dowerin, once again featured prominently in the sale, fulfilling his requirements and ending up as the eventual volume buyer of the day.
Mr Metcalf bought 15 rams - 12 Poll Merino and three Merino - at an average of $2053 and to a top of $3500 for a Nerstane-sired Merino ram, to use over his 2200-head Merino ewe flock.
But it was his $3100 purchase from pen 107 which was his most significant -- the winning bid on the 104.5kg Poll Merino was this year's donation by the Jones family to the Shearing for Liz Pink Day in support of the Breast Cancer Research Centre -WA.
Mr Metcalf said he was under strict instructions from his five-year-old daughter Skyler to buy the "pink ram" this year, as pink was her favourite colour.
"She was very upset with me when I didn't buy it last year, so I had to make sure I got it this year," Mr Metcalf said.
In addition to buying the ram, he bid under the number 14 for the afternoon because that was Skyler's favourite number.
Also back to meet their annual requirements were long-time volume buyers W Emmott & Sons, Moonijin, purchasing the biggest number of Poll Merinos at 13 head, averaging $1115 and including to a top of $1600 for an Ejanding Poll-sired ram.
Buying the biggest share of the Merino rams was Ash Jones, RE & WK Jones, Dowerin, who bought eight at an average of $1350, including to a top of $2200 for an Ejanding Poll-sired ram.
Mr Jones also bought one Poll Merino for $2200.
Scott and Corey Flavel, Southern Waters, Dowerin, were extremely happy with their purchases for the afternoon.
The father-and-son duo bought 10 rams (eight Poll Merinos and two Merinos) this year at an average of $1470, which was five head more than usual.
Corey said they ran about 2300 mated ewes, which were normally split between Merino and crossbred sires, but this year they were going to mate a greater percentage to Merinos so they could produce more wool.
The Flavels could not believe their luck when they secured pen one for $2400, regarding it as the buy of the day.
The 109kg Ejanding Poll-sired ram had figures including 20.1 micron, 2.8 SD, 13.9 CV, 100pc CF and 74.5 yield, scanned 3.6mm fat and 37mm EMD, and ASBVs of 31.1 YCFW, 0.4 YFW, 11.8 YWT, -0.7 YFAT, -0.1 YEMD, 168.2 MP+ and 173.3 DP+, and was described by stud principal Brett Jones prior to the sale as a "thumping big sire with a shafty white wool and a lovely open head with a strong pure muzzle".
Corey said much like other buyers, they were looking for dual purpose animals that produced a good wool cut and fleece weight at around 20-21 micron along with a bigger frame.
The Flavels said they knew the genetics could fulfil both wool and meat requirements, as they had feedlot a lot of sheep bred from Ejanding genetics and they performed very well.
Also bidding on a lot of early pens was Reece Stratford and father Gordon, GE & LD Stratford, Dowerin,
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