Bargain buying on high performance rams at Woolumbool studs’ sale


THERE was strong support on the White Suffolks at Woolumbool studs' 36th annual ram sale on Wednesday last week but there were still tremendous value for money across all three breeds.

Of the 99 White Suffolk rams on offer, stud principals Aaron and Sally, Phil and Sharon Clothier sold 87 to a $3600 high and averaged $1197. Seventy nine of their 90 Poll Dorsets averaged $1101 with a $1800 high.

The biggest disappointment was the lack of demand for the Multimeat composites with one regular South East buyer who often puts together more than a dozen rams absent.

Just 14 Multimeats of 77 offered, bred for their high fecundity, sold to a $1500 high and averaged $964.

Overall 180 of 266 rams from the three breeds changed hands for a $1136 average compared to 2022 when 213 of 278 rams found homes for a $1359 average.

The rams were younger than many on the market with many only 11-12 months of age and still having their lamb's teeth.

One of the star White Suffolk lots, lot 51, Woolumbool 221559, which had a Terminal Carcase Production and Lean Eating Quality indexes in the top 10 per cent at 166.9 or 171.5 topped the sale at $3600.

The high performer which was born a twin had three other traits in the top 10pc, PEMD of 4.06 and IMF of 0.11 and a shear force of -1.56.

It sold online to the Keiller family, Cashmore Park stud, Cashmore, Vic, who breed their own Cashmore Terminals.

A few lots later at lot 56, Woolumbool 221503, a ram with exceptional growth traits including a PWT of 17.92 and a TCP index of 160.1 made $2600 selling to the Currie family.

Woolumbool studs have had a strong focus on breeding sheep with higher worm resistance which has made them well suited to high rainfall areas.

Oliver Nominees, Avenue Range, secured 12 rams paying to $1300 and averaging $1083.

TDC director Rob Handbury, who was buying on behalf of Saltbush Ag, Lucindale was successful on five Poll Dorsets for a $1200 average and six White Suffolks between $800 and $1100.

MW Copping, Lucindale, snapped up the $1800 highest price Poll Dorset ram.

The lot 2 ram, Woolumbool 221392, which had a TCP index ranking in the top 10pc of terminal sires, was one of Copping's three buys.

GW&CL Clothier & Sons, Woolumbool, bid strongly to secure eight rams including the $1500 highest priced Multimeat which sold late in the sale at lot 280.

Lucindale Area School was a guest vendor again, selling two of their four White Suffolk rams at $800 each.

Both of these sold to AJ&PA McBride's Nepowie property also at Woolumbool.

After a tough sale in 2022 Aaron said it was pleasing to have a few new buyers in the gallery and AuctionsPlus more active.

Twenty six rams sold online this year to SA and Vic buyers.

However the "biggest surprise" to him was the lack of interest in the Multimeats.

"In the last few years people have been going hard towards composites so maybe they are pulling back now," he said.

"We still see a strong place for them especially if we keep focussing on that growth and pulling back that fibre diameter on our wool."

Aaron said their Multimeat-Merino cross wether lambs produced wool that tested 23 microns.

Nutrien SA stud stock manager Gordon Wood commended the Clothiers for the enormous amount of data they collect each year on their stud flock which has enabled them to breed early maturing sheep with industry leading figures.

"The performance data on these sheep is unbelievable across all three breeds," he said.

"They are really concentrating on that lamb eating quality which may not be quite paying dividends just yet but it will down the track."

Mr Wood said like many sales this season it was a "buyer's market" but commended those who had not pulled back their 2022 budget and instead were able to buy higher quality rams.

"Now is not the time to sit down, now is the time to stand up, people are getting rams now with performance data well above what they were in the same price bracket as they would have in previous years," he said.

Elders Lucindale branch manager Ronnie Dix - who shared the auctioneering with Mr Wood- said the rams were very good value for money but noted that the sale followed a buying pattern that he had seen at several other sales this season.

"When it gets tough like this people are very selective with what they buy and they have a price and they are not going to go beyond it," he said.

"When it is good a lot of people might cross off the lots they want and then buy whatever other ram if they like the look of it in the ring but this year people have $1200 or $1400 or $1000 or whatever it is and it has to be the rams marked."

Courtesy of Catherine Miller, The Stock Journal.

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