STRONG support from across SA helped lifted the average and top of the Poll Merinos offered at the Hamilton Run sale at Jamestown on Tuesday.
Clearance was also strong, with 97 sold out of 100 rams offered.
The average of $2033 was $167 up on last year, while the top price of $4400 was $400 up on 2017.
Buying the top price ram at $4400 was Scott Roberts, Narrioota, Spalding.
It was the fourth year that Mr Roberts has purchased Poll Merino rams from the stud.
Mr Roberts said he was particularly impressed with the ram’s figures.
“It’s above average on fat and eye muscle depth, and it’s fleece weight is right up there as well,” he said.
“It’s also a very well put together ram, with a good frame to go with its figures.”
The 14 month old ram – a son of HR949 – weighed 119 kilograms, with eye muscle depth of 45.6 millimetres and fat depth of 5.5mm.
Its fleece figures were impressive at 20.5 micron, with 2.7 standard deviation, 13.2 coefficient of variation, 99.6 per cent comfort factor and it measured 40 per cent above the average for greasy fleece weight.
Mr Roberts bought four rams overall, averaging $3350.
He said there was a lot to like about Hamilton Run rams.
“I particularly like their good early growth, and the white, bright wools on them,” he said.
Two buyers paid the second-highest price for Poll Merinos at $3800.
One was Tim Kowald, Tailem Bend, who bought one of the top price rams at last year’s auction.
Mr Kowald bought two rams, averaging $3200.
The other second-highest price buyer was return clients Terinlee Pty Ltd, Jamestown, who purchased four rams averaging $2550.
With the Dohnes, 52 sold out of 58 offered, with an average of $1545.
Buying the top price Dohne at $3500 was return client Michael Burford, Merngenia Station, Cavanagh.
The twin ram ranked 176.8 on the Dohne index.
Mr Burford has been buying from Hamilton Run for close to a decade.
He has been running a full Dohne flock for six years.
“I can really see the benefit from using Dohnes,” he said.
“They’re heavy wool-cutters and, in our country, they’re really good doers.
“Since I’ve been using them my lambing percentage has shot up and I was also able to stop mulesing two years ago.”
Mr Burford said he liked the top price Dohne for its body and structure.
“It had all the characteristics I was looking for, and its measurements were spot on,” he said.
While Poll Merinos and Dohnes sold well, it was a tougher day on the White Suffolks, with 43 sold out of 98 offered and an average of $874.
The $1500 top price White Suffolk was knocked down to regular bidders Durrant Co Pty Ltd, Jamestown.
The sale was run jointly by Elders and Landmark.
Elders territory sales manager Scott Fleetwood said the line-up in the shed was exceptional across all three breeds.
“The Poll Merino portion of the sale went really well and the Dohne section was very solid as well,” he said.
“White Suffolks struggled a bit, but I’d put that down to seasonal conditions.
“There were a few clients out of Broken Hill, NSW, who are usually here and who usually purchase multiple rams, who weren’t able to purchase this year, due to the season.”
Landmark stud stock manager Gordon Wood said it was pleasing to see many return clients, as well as some new faces at the sale.
“The Poll Merinos were the highlight of the sale, as it has been for most of the ram sales held across the state so far,” he said.
“The Dohnes were very well-presented and had really good nourishment.
“The result on the White Suffolks was very much what we’ve seen in other sales. With older or classed out ewes that usually go to a terminal sire, they’ve been moved on in many areas, to lighten the load in a tough season.”
Stud principal Greg Andrews said an area he focused on in his breeding program was positive fat measurements.
“I’m looking for that positive fat for lamb survival and so the ewes can stay in good condition, even in tough times, and support their lambs,” he said.
Mr Andrews has been able to achieve 140pc lambing percentages in the past five years on both the Dohnes and Poll Merinos.
Even in a challenging year like this, Mr Andrews achieved 100pc lambing in his station country north of Orroroo.
Mr Andrews said he was also looking to breed rams that were “peas in a pod”.
“I breed to a type and I don’t use too many different sires, so there’s not much variation in the rams,” he said.