The pick of the crop is what you get when you buy sires from the Bowen family's Mount Ronan Maternal and White Suffolk studs, York, and nothing proves this point more than the return of volume buyers.
At Mount Ronan's 26th annual on-property auction last week, 21 registered buyers in the shed represented about 30 Mount Ronan clients, with a further 44 registered or guests linked and participating through the AuctionsPlus online platform.
A complete lift of $800 in the top price of the sale from the previous year saw a Maternal Composite ram realise $5000, with the breed achieving an overall average of $1303.
Meanwhile the top-priced White Suffolk ram reached $1900 and the breed averaged a very respectable $1055.
Discerning buyers were selective with their purchases, meaning they were willing to pay high prices for their chosen sires, but they just required a few less for their upcoming season plans.
Of the 177 sires auctioned, there were 68 White Suffolk and 109 Maternal lots.
These were keenly sought after and the stud ended up successfully selling 80 Maternals and 47 White Suffolks.
At the final fall of the auctioneer's hammer, 18 of the 19 buyers in attendance and seven of the 21 AuctionsPlus registered participants, actively bid on lots.
A snapshot of just how sought after the Mount Ronan sires are was provided by the data from Auctions Plus that showed of the 177 lots penned, 48 lots had received online bids, with a total of 139 bids - plus there were a further 23 guest viewers logged on to see the progress of the sale.
Couple this with the bids and purchases made in the shed and it is easy to see how and why Mount Ronan is able to buck the market and seasonal trends to consistently achieve above average results, year-in, year-out.
Constantly benchmarking their sheep and providing a complete set of sire-specific Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBV), gives buyers peace of mind and the full suite of information required to make their purchases confidently.
The sheer number of long-term, repeat and return buyers is also testament to the quality of the genetics from Mount Ronan, which invests a lot of time and money into its breeding to provide the cream of the crop to its clients.
Elders auctioneer Graeme Curry said the Mount Ronan genetics were well known across the country with the demand from buyers evidence of their effectiveness in prime lamb production.
"It was once again an outstanding line-up of Maternal Composite and White Suffolk sires," Mr Curry said.
"The vendor was prepared to put up solid numbers, even in these trying times, and showed the willingness to meet the current market conditions.
"This was all despite the absence of a few regular buyers from the Eastern States, who were not in attendance or online.
"Keeping the numbers up meant the vendor gave everyone the opportunity to buy rams at very good prices.
"Again the results really spoke for themselves with competition still strong.
"The sale top price lifted by $800 and the averages were still solidly above $1000 for each breed and overall."
Kicking off the sale was the offering of 109 Maternal sires and from the outset it was evident that the buyers utilising the AuctionsPlus platform were ahead of the game securing three of the first seven lots and continuing throughout the offering securing a total of nine Maternal Composite rams among the overall 25 rams from both breeds.
It was in the Maternal offering that the $5000 top price of the sale was achieved.
It was lot 19, an AI twin, born on July 11, 2022, with ASBVs of 0.64 birthweight (BWT), 10.60 weaning weight (WWT) which is in the top 10pc for the breed, -0.89 post weaning fat (PFAT), 3.34 post weaning eye muscle depth (PEMD) which is in the top 5pc for the breed, 0.02 ewe rearing ability (ERA), 0.15 weaning rate (WR) and maternal carcase production plus index (MCP+) 167.94 which is in the top 20pc for the breed.
The ram was noted as the star ram in the Maternal section of the catalogue, it has an outstanding dam efficiency index and dam mothering score.
The sire was purchased by long-term, regular volume buyers PM & SM Beech, Frankland River, with siblings Sam and Rebekah present at the sale.
Rebekah Beech said they had been purchasing Mount Ronan genetics since 2016.
"We have a Composite flock," Ms Beech said.
"But we also use them over Merino ewes.
"The top-priced ram we bought today will go straight into our nucleus flock, to breed our own rams."
The Beeches purchased two Maternal Composites for an average of $3300.
Among the 80 Maternal Composite sires that were sold at the sale, there were five buyers that took home more than 10 rams.
The highest volume buyer at the sale was David Hallett, Boyup Brook, who purchased 20 Maternal Composites, at a top price of $1500, four times, for an average of $1160.
Long-term volume buyer, Owen Blake, Tarandi Pty Ltd, Harefield, New South Wales, secured 15 Maternal Composite rams, to a top price of $1700 and for an average of $1267.
Tom Larah, Ararat, Victoria, was the winning bidder on 13 Maternal Composite sires, for a top price of $1600 and an average of $1154.
Finally it was Mackie Farms, Mt Barker, that purchased 10 Maternal Composite rams to a top of $1700 and for an average of $1390.
The Mackies are regular volume buyers, with Andrew Mackie buying from the sale for four years.
So, it was fitting that this year they bought the special charity ram.
Mount Ronan joined the very worthy cause Shearing for Liz Pink Day by donating the proceeds of Maternal Composite ram lot 61, the money is given to Breast Cancer Research - WA.
The ram was purchased by the Mackies for $1500.
The White Suffolk line-up also saw stiff competition with 47 sires sold to a top price of $1900 and an average of $1033.
The top-priced White Suffolk was the second lot offered for the breed and was an AI triplet, born on July 13, 2022, with ASBVs of 0.37 BWT, 12.54 WWT, 19.48 post weaning weight (PWT) with this and BWT in the top 5pc for the breed, 0.12 PFAT, 2.78 PEMD, 0.051 number of lambs weaned (NLW), -0.85 lambing ease direct (LE_DIR), 60.7pc dam efficiency (DAM EFF), 3.45 lean meat yield (LMY), 157.95 terminal caracase production index (TCP) in the top 5pc and 162.71 lamb eating quality index (LEQ) also in the top 5pc.
The ram was the sole purchase at the sale by Boree Park White Suffolk stud, Dinninup, with stud manager Michael Potter pointing out the ram's -64.65 post weaning fecal egg count or otherwise known as worm resistance was in the top 5pc across the country.
"I really liked the eating quality and intramuscular fat figures for this ram," Mr Potter said.
"It's moderate birthweight and good growth were also good.
"It had exceptional worm resistance also.
"He will be used as a backup ram for our AI program."
The volume buyers in the White Suffolk section were all from WA.
Buying via AuctionsPlus, Peter Van Zeyl, Kendenup, was able to secure eight White Suffolk sires, to a top price of $1300 and an average of $1000.
A close second was regular buyer Mark Smith, MJS Farming Group, Merredin, who took a total of seven White Suffolk rams home, to a top price of $1500 and an average of $1200.
Rounding out the volumes for the White Suffolk breed was Andrew Marshall, A&J Marshall, East Pingelly, with a purchase of six sires to a top of $1700 and an average of $1067.
Mount Ronan principal, Guy Bowen, said they really enjoyed seeing their sheep perform so well for clients from different areas all across the country, because it shows they are breeding a good commercial animal.
"We are very thankful for the support of our buyers, both interstate and local," Mr Bowen said.
He was glad clients were able to get their requirements this year, especially in light of the current market and seasonal conditions.
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