IN A fantastic vote of confidence in the Clothier family’s Woolumbool studs, buyers pushed their 31st annual on-property auction average to $1901, up $345 on last year.
Across the Poll Dorset, White Suffolk and Poll Merino offering, 207 of 213 rams sold to a sale peak of $7750 – a massive jump from the $2800 top price at last year’s sale.
The auction opened with the offering of four elite Poll Dorsets, followed by seven elite White Suffolks.
Mary Burzacott, Beachport, bid to $5500 to secure W173594 for her family’s Mulgundawa Poll Dorset stud. In the top 10 per cent for five Sheep Genetics Australia traits and three indices – highlighted by a Carcase Plus index of 221 and Lamb 2020 index of 119 – it was a standout industry ram.
She then added the next ram offered, the spring-drop W173686 for $2600. She averaged $4050, with the four Poll Dorset stud rams averaging $3125.
In the White Suffolk stud rams, W173970 – sired by Ella Matta 150097 – attracted the most pre-sale interest from seedstock breeders, resulting in strong bidding.
Michael and Julie Osborne, Ryeview stud, Millicent, won the ram with a $7750 bid. With a post-weaning weight of 15.7, a worm egg count of -44, positive fat of 0.8, an eye muscle depth estimated breeding value of 2.7, intramuscular fat of 0.24 and the highest lamb eating quality index of 157, its figures matched its impressive phenotype.
Like Mary Burzacott, the Osbornes also picked up another for $2400 from this draft, averaging $5075 across the two.
In the flock ram section, all 94 Poll Dorsets sold to $2400, averaging an impressive $1981, while 90 of 93 White Suffolks averaged $1871 and sold to $2700.
The $2400 Poll Dorset flock ram top price was paid by Jason Win, Wannon Pastoral, Hensley Park, Vic. The White Suffolk flock ram top of $2700 was paid three times – firstly by Graham and Sam Clothier, who finished with six White Suffolks averaging $2317.
The other two lots to make $2700 were paid by Frank Balkin, Devondale Family Trust, Glenthompson, Vic. He was strong in his bidding throughout, taking 13 White Suffolks averaging $2146.
The sale’s volume buyer was Mark Bruce, Boonoonar Partners, Kingston, who bought 16 Poll Dorsets to $2200, one White Suffolk and completed his buying with four Poll Merinos at $900 each. His 21 rams collectively averaged $1614.
Dugald McLachlan, Nanwarry Pastoral Co, Nangwarry, was also strong and consistent, selecting nine Poll Dorsets to $2200 and six White Suffolks to $2100, averaging $1853 for his 15 head.
The Woodard family, Peel Pastoral, Wrattonbully, went to $2200 in both breeds and averaged $1900 for 13 rams, while Patrick Ross, Prairie Glen, Lucindale, took 12 Poll Dorsets to $2300, averaging $2083.
Bidding through Miller Whan and John’s Kingston agent Mike Newton, Morris Oliver and Josh Hancock bought 12 rams each, both topping at $2200. Mr Oliver averaged $1650 for one Poll Dorset and 11 White Suffolks, while Mr Hancock averaged $2033 for eight Poll Dorsets and four White Suffolks.
Fresh from being named runner up in the JBS Lamb Producer of the Year awards, Mr Hancock said Woolumbool genetics suited his breeding objectives.
“We have been buying here at Woolumbool for a long time now,” he said. “We are very happy with the growth we have been getting, but also with the structure of the new meat eating quality figures.
“We are looking at producing lambs that are best for the consumer long-term, so now we are able to get rams with good growth, plus these new eating quality traits that Phil does here, which really suit our breeding objectives.”
The Clothiers offer both assistance and genetics to the Lucindale Area School’s agricultural program, and also included four of their White Suffolk rams in this sale for the second year.
These all sold at $1000 each, including two to McCarthy Livestock through Elders Lucindale, which was the only other buyer to purchase 10 or more rams. Their 10 White Suffolk rams were secured at an average of $1040, especially so in this very strong sale.
The final draft of the day was the offering of 15 Poll Merinos through the open auction ring – rather than a helmsman sale – for the first time. Twelve of the 15 found buyers, topping at $1500 and averaging $1033.
Graham and Sam Clothier paid the $1500 top for the first ram offered in the draft to add to their earlier White Suffolk purchases. DL&AJS Florance, Kangaroo Island, averaged $980 for five rams to be the biggest volume buyer in this draft.
“It is certainly the best sale we’ve had and followed on from last year, which was also good,” Woolumbool’s Phil Clothier said. “A lot of our clients know how to read the breeding values these days and they do take a lot of notice of them, which certainly helps us.
“Our objective is to breed animals that suit the environment we live in. We don’t target large adult weights, but instead select animals that grow quickly, have plenty of muscle, adequate fat coverage, then of course combine that with the latest eating quality traits like shear force and intramuscular fat.”
The sale was conducted by Elders and Landmark, with Elders’ Ronnie Dix and Landmark’s Gordon Wood at the rostrum.