WHITE River Merino and Poll Merino stud's 40th annual sale produced a very fitting and celebratory result, with the Daniell family notching up their highest ever average price at Poochera last Thursday.
In a total clearance 181 rams sold to a top of $18,000, averaging $2962.
While the top matched last year, the average was up $526, and $11 higher than the stud's previous sale record of $2951 set in 2017.
A much better season in most areas of Eyre Peninsula than the previous couple of years, created plenty of optimism and positivity among the 46 registered bidders.
In the breakdown 132 Poll Merinos averaged $2914, while the 49 Merinos averaged $3090
The heat was on from the very first lot of the 16 prepared rams that commenced the sale.
Stud principal John Daniell described lot 1 as "probably as good a Poll as we've ever offered."
The 132 kilogram son of Old Ashrose 445 got several bidding hands raised as it quickly jumped to $10,000. From there, two bidders continued the rapid fire action until Paul Cousins, Cousins Merino Services, Burra placed the winning $18,000 bid on behalf of first-time buyers Mark and Todd Hoffrichter, Maramville stud, Ceduna.
"It has carcase, size, structure, constitution and bone, plus a great crimpy, white and nourished wool which is ideal for our Ceduna area," Mark said.
The 20.8 micron ram had terrific wool tests with a standard deviation of 2.6, coefficient of variation of 12.5 per cent and 99.9pc comfort factor.
The underbidder was regular White River supporter, Nick Lienert, Oak Farms stud, Buckleboo.
He compensated by purchasing lot 12, a very impressive and heavy-cutting 21.7 micron son of Moorundie 388 for $7000, then later added another Poll Merino son of White River 546 for $5800.
This was one of the first 23 sons of WR 546, the Riverina Wool Australian Champion Hogget ram from the 2017 Hay Sheep Show, to be offered throughout the catalogue.
They presented and sold well, making to $6800 and averaged $3104, $142 above the overall sale average.
The 12 Poll Merinos that had some shed preparation averaged $7100 to have the sale going along on a really buoyant note. The four prepared Merinos that followed sold just as well, averaging $7150, with the highlight here being lot 15, a 130kg son of Wanganella 750. This ram sold to Bill Carey and his son Shaun, Parla Peak, Streaky Bay for the sale's second top price of $12,000.
They breed their own flock ram requirements, as does Bill's other son, Paul Carey, Talieka Pastoral, Streaky Bay. He paid $7000 in purchasing lot 4, a 21.2 micron and 132kg Poll son of Old Ashrose 445. The Olsen family, Kaira Pty Ltd, Streaky Bay started and finished their buying in this run of 12 Poll Merinos, purchasing three to the second top Poll price of $7200 and averaging $5733.
While these sale toppers were the headline makers, it was 10 regular commercial White River clients who had the biggest influence on the result.
Collectively they bought 116 rams, which was 64 per cent of the offering.
Stephen, Graeme and Elijah Fuss, WG Fuss & Son, Cummins and supported by their SAL North West Tumby Bay agent Colin McFarlane are always exceptionally astute top end buyers at White River. They dug in deep and early this year, with nine rams to $6600 and averaging $4667.
"The Fuss family is so dedicated to their breeding program and the success from their willingness to invest in top rams is evident in the exceptional quality within their flock. To think they purchased eight of these rams within the top 25 in the catalogue when competing against studs and ram breeders shows such a strong commitment," John Daniell said.
Jim and Jay Fischer, Yanac, Vic have supported this sale for a long time and the success they have had in their West Wimmera environment has influenced others to follow suit.
The Fischers bought nine rams, mostly Merinos to $3800 and averaged $2889.
The Rethus family, West Wimmera Beef were the day's biggest spenders buying 17 rams at a $2953 average.
The Reynolds family, Lairg Station, Elliston, was again the biggest volume buyer, purchasing 25 rams in total, paying to $2400 and averaging $1540.
Les, Terre, Josh and Matt Williams, trading as WL & MB Williams, Elliston are also long term volume buyers at White River and stepped their annual purchasing up a couple of notches this year, picking up 13 rams at a $2000 average, topping at $2800.
Adam Desmazures, Newton Pastoral, Tintinara secured 10 rams, six Merinos and four Poll Merinos, paying to $3600 and averaging $2680.
Stud co-principal Wes Daniell said it was a wonderful way to celebrate their 40th annual sale with such a fantastic result.
"When we relocated to our present sites here are Minnipa and Poochera, we set out with the objective of broadening our enterprise mix and working towards having a big on-property sale with paddock reared rams, and that is basically what we have achieved; other than just a few of the very tops with some shed preparation for the potential stud market," he said.
"Our objective is to be recognized for supplying productive, easy-care sheep with paddock preparation and offering terrific value for our long established and loyal clients, plus any new ones.
"It was good to see new bidders, buyers and underbidders amongst the crowd today, while many regulars went harder on numbers and quality; we are so thankful for all their support."
Elders and Landmark conducted the sale with Tony Wetherall and Gordon Wood the auctioneers.
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