WITH a full clearance and $350 rise in average across their 120 Merino and Poll Merino rams, Orrie Cowie stud principals Heather and John Dalla had plenty of reasons to smile after their 54th annual on-property auction at Warooka on Wednesday last week.
The 46 registered buyers competed strongly on the 105 Poll Merinos and 15 Merinos, with the top price rising $4300 to $10,500, and the average increasing to $2316. After the Merino and Poll Merino offering, 22 White Suffolk rams and eight Poll Dorsets were offered, with 19 selling to $2000 and averaging $932.
The sale peaked at lot 7, with David and Gavin Reade, Curramulka, paying $10,500 for OC 180507.
The OC Casper son had wool measurements of 18.5 micron, 2.8 standard deviation, 15.1 coefficient of variation and 99.8 per cent comfort factor.
"This ram will start a new family line for us," Gavin said. "We are commercial producers who also breed a few of our own rams from our elite nucleus mob of ewes."
Its feet and legs are top notch and it has terrific white and nourished wool.
Gavin said they felt OC 180507 was the "right ram" to go over their ewe hoggets, which are mainly from the OC Majestic line.
"It will also be ideal to go over our ewe hoggets next year from the Pearler line rams we purchased last year," David said. "It has perfect balance, its feet and legs are top notch and it has terrific white and nourished wool, which we are now chasing more."
The Reades also bought lot 5, OC 181433ET, for $5250.
Long-term Orrie Cowie supporter Bruce McCarthy was particularly active on the top end, paying the sale's second-highest price of $8250 for lot 1, OC 181100, sired by Exceller 556. He also bought the top price Merino, securing Achilles son OC 181460ET for $6750.
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Buying through Elders Clare, Mr McCarthy finished with four Poll Merinos and two Merinos, averaging $4975.
Michael Voigt, Valley-Hi, Wilmington, was prepared to bid up to secure lot 2 - Poll Merino OC 180001ET - paying $6750 for the Mercenary son.
Allan and Susan Dawson, Winyar stud, Canowindra, NSW, also operated at the top end, bidding $6500 for lot 10, OC 1800510, by Monarch 489.
David Hickman, Castle Hill, Curramulka paid $5250 for the second Merino offered, OC 181491ET, and then $5000 for another big-barrelled Poll Merino, OC 180029(AI).
Ben Stark, Stark Grazing, Naracoorte, was strong on both price and volume paying to $5200 and averaging $3893 for seven Poll Merinos.
Buyers with more modest budgets were still able to secure quality rams, with 50 rams making $1500 or less.
Three Kangaroo Island regulars provided the biggest volume buying. Calana Heights, Stokes Bay, bought 11 rams to $1500, averaging $1173, while Robert Hams with 10 and Ron Hams with seven, all at $1000, were the other two.
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Also up in the volume buying stakes was Gavin Webster, Walker Flat, with seven rams to $2000, averaging $1743, and LR Noll & Son, through Elders Port Augusta, also bought seven, averaging $1243. Honner Bros, Elliston, bought six Merinos averaging $1750.
In the prime lamb sire offering, 11 of 22 White Suffolks sold to $2000 and all eight Poll Dorsets sold at $800. DT Dalla paid the $2000 top, while prominent repeat buyers Garry Knagge and family, Gogeldrie, NSW, bought four White Suffolks to $1300, averaging $1037.
John Dalla was pleased with the sale result.
"We were really proud of the offering we put up and the strength of bidding support by so many long and loyal clients at the top end reflected that," John Dalla said.
"We were also really pleased to see several new and returning local region clients back and be able to get good rams at value."
Auctioneer Tony Wetherall was full of praise for the sale line-up.
"For quality, you wouldn't see a better offering anywhere around the country," he said. "They are so even, very well grown with top carcase traits, have pure heads and muzzles, plus heaps of terrific, pearly white, waxy and nourished wools."
The sale was conducted by Elders Minlaton, with Mr Wetherall and Tom Penna taking bids.