Local and interstate interest pushed values to $3600 at the inaugural Merinotech (WA) annual on-property Poll Merino ram sale and open day at Kojonup last week.
While Merinotech (WA) has been breeding high performance easy care Poll Merinos with a science-based approach for 30 years and selling rams onfarm privately and with the Helmsman system previously, this year's sale was its first open cry on-farm auction.
The Merinotech (WA) team, along with neXtgen Agri and Nutrien Livestock, presented an even sale team of 60 extensively measured Poll Merino rams which are among the highest ranking in Australia for Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs) across a number of traits on the Sheep Genetics Australia (SGA) database including fat and eye muscle depth, worm resistance, ewe rearing ability and weaning rate, weaning weight and staple strength.
The day kicked off with an open day with presentations from neXtgen Agri's Mark Ferguson and Amy Lockwood and Merinotech (WA) stud manager Ian Robertson before attention swung to the selling shed and the 60 haltered young Poll Merino rams.
There were diverse topographies shown in the modest buyers list from local areas to the South Coast and Central Wheatbelt along with multiple Victorian interests.
At the completion of selling, auctioneer Troy Hornby, Nutrien Livestock, Kojonup, sold 36 rams (60 per cent) at auction for an average of $1089.
Top-priced honours didn't eventuate until lot 29 with Mitchell Crosby, Nutrien Livestock, Breeding, bidding via phone with previous Merinotech (WA) buyer Michael Todd, M & D Todd, Lagoon Partnership, Mooralla, Victoria, who placed the winning $3600 top priced bid ahead of neXtgen Agri's Amy Lockwood representing Murnong Farming, Inverleigh, Victoria.
The 20-200602 sired twin-born ram recorded ASBVs in the top 10pc for weaning rate (WR) 0.3 and dual purpose plus index (DP+) 198.2, top 20pc post weaning weight (PWWT) 8.7 and yearling weight (YWT) 9.8 along with 7.9 adult weight (AWT), 0.3 yearling fat (YFAT), 1.6 yearling eye muscle depth (YEMD), 18.5 yearling clean fleece weight (YCFW), -0.7 yearling fibre diameter (YFD), 3.4 yearling staple length (YSL), 2.4 yearling staple strength (YSS), -0.3 yearling coefficient of variation (YDCV), 0.02 ewe rearing ability (ERA), -0.5 early breech wrinkle (EBWR), -0.3 late dag (LDAG), -0.11 breech cover (BCOV), -34.5 yearling worm egg count (YWEC) and 199.8 Merinotech Index (MTI) (index generated by neXtgen Agri tailored to Merinotech breeding objective).
Mr Crosby collected further rams for this account costing from $800 to $2000 for a high ranking ram in lot four with traits in the top 5pc for YSS, YDCV and DP+, top 10pc for YFAT, WR and LDAG and top 20pc for PWT, YWT, YEMD and YWEC.
Mr Crosby said Mr Todd subjectively selected a number of rams from the catalogue before he narrowed them down after visually assessing the selections.
Ms Lockwood paid the sale's $3000 equal second top price for the previous lot to the top-priced ram for Murnong Farming, a twin born 20-200642 son with a strong spread of figures including trait leader (top 1pc) for YSS 8.8, top 5pc YDCV -2.8 and WR 0.3, top 10pc YWT 11.2 and DP + and top 20pc PWT 8.7, AWT 9.7, LDAG -0.4 and YWEC -50.1.
Later in the sale, Ms Lockwood again bid to $3000 for one of five rams on behalf of BC Hardie & Co, Wandering.
The twin born 20-200051 son ranked in the top 5pc for YSS 5.8 and DP+ 200.7, top 10pc YDCV -2.2 and top 20pc YCFW 25.2 and WR 0.2.
The sale's volume buyer was Rachael Plowman, Yeenyellup Trust, Jingalup, who finished with a team of nine rams at values from $800 to $1000.
Ms Plowman is a fifth-generation farmer and among the original Merinotech (WA) supporters of three decades.
With husband Andrew, they run 5500 Merino ewes (4000 mated to Merinos/1500 to terminal sires) on their 1600 hectare Yeenyellup property in a mixed farming enterprise of 60pc livestock/40pc cropping.
Ms Plowman said Merinotech (WA) were easy care and good doing sheep well-suited to their business.
"We run our sheep at a high stocking rate of 17 DSE (dry sheep equivalent) to be competitive with cropping," Ms Plowman said.
"They have good doability and resilience to cope with long summers and still lamb at more than 100pc even with the high stocking rate."
Ms Plowman said they select for plain bodies with high fats and indexes with low wrinkle, dag and worm egg count as they work toward a non-mulesing flock.
Also chasing volume, neXtgen Agri's Mark Ferguson representing Nelson Farms, Boort, Victoria, collected six rams costing to a $2200 top price paid early in the sale in lot four for a twin born 20-200642 son with a 213.5 MT index and ranking in the top 5pc for YDCV -2.7 and LDAG -0.7, top 10pc for YSS 4.8, BCOV -0.65 and YWEC -57.3 and top 20pc WR 0.2.
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