Sheep breeders continue to splurge on top genetics at SA’s on-property ram sales, producing fantastic averages and many total clearances.
Merino ram sale vendors have been left beaming with most averages lifting 10 per cent to 20pc on 2016.
And the momentum has continued into the British breed sales, albeit with more modest rises.
The National Trade Lamb Indicator remains above 600 cents a kilogram despite increasing numbers of lambs hitting the market, adding to buyer confidence.
The benchmark of SA meat sheep sales, Days Whiteface and Allendale, had a 95 per cent clearance of 447 rams and ewes at Bordertown on Friday.
The Day families’ Poll Dorset and White Suffolk flock ram averages lifted 23pc and 17pc respectively to $1604 and $1434.
On Monday, Alan and Lyn Schinckel, Leenala Poll Dorset stud, Naracoorte, bowed out of nearly 60 years breeding with a record average of $6292 for their 12 stud rams and a total clearance of their flock rams.
The Schinckels also sold a 2016-drop ewe for $6000 in their final stage dispersal – believed to be a national Poll Dorset ewe record.
“We were a little blown away by the support and thank everyone for the confidence they have displayed in our sheep,” Mr Schinckel said.
“It has been a wonderful ride, but we now leave the stud industry with no regrets.”
Landmark stud stock manager Gordon Wood says another outstanding ram sale season reflects the positivity in the sheep and wool industry and agriculture in general.
“I didn’t know that we would see another year like last year with the dry start, but we have – it has eclipsed it,” he said.
“Some people had some apprehension ahead of the British breed sales, uncertain with the large numbers for sale, but the consistency of demand has been right across the board.
“It goes to show that people are making good profits from their prime lamb businesses and keen to reinvest to improve both their terminal lambs as well as self-replacing flocks.”
Elders stud stock manager Tony Wetherall says buyers have “stepped up” their bidding this year on the back of a run of good seasons and sustained strength of sheep and wool prices.
“Buyers are certainly willing to pay more, but it is noticeable after the sale they are still smiling and they can still see the value for money in the rams,” he said.
Mr Wetherall says there are still many prime lamb sires to be sold in the next couple of weeks, but is confident more strong results will be seen.
Magical averages posted by local Merino breeders
IT has again been the year of the Merino, with the breed’s sales “well above expectation”, according to Elders stud stock manager Tony Wetherall.
“The strength of the Merino sales, especially at the start on the Eyre Peninsula, took many by surprise, but it is a reflection of the money that is being made from sheep, lambs and wool for a few years now,” he said.
“Although it has been a tough year, sheep have really helped people pay the bills in marginal areas of the state.”
Mr Wetherall says the outstanding SA stud Merino ram sale at the Royal Adelaide Show really set the scene for the run into the Mid North ram sales.
Landmark stud stock manager Gordon Wood says it has been an enjoyable season to be on the rostrum.
“We have seen a round of applause at the end of some of the Merino sales after the average is announced – a few years ago the high averages may have caused a grimace on their faces, but everyone is smiling,” he said.
Mr Wood says some producers have switched from other self-replacing breeds back to Merinos, but there has been no huge swing from prime lamb to wool production.
“The wool indicator is breaking records almost weekly, but at the same time a crossbred lamb is still very profitable,” he said.
Mr Wood has also noticed many more Merino rams are being sold at auction rather than in the paddock.
“There are very few Merino rams left for private sales, except some of the bigger producers that sell 1000 rams a year,” he said.