Ram sale success surpasses expectations

Ram sale success surpasses expectations

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As we entered the spring ram selling season, I really wasn't sure what to expect, but I'll be the first one to admit I wouldn't have bet on there being so many stud records and significant average price rises

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I'M not a huge fan of surprises - to the point I even leave the room during suspenseful movie scenes - but this year there's been one surprising result that's left me tickled pink.

As we entered the spring ram selling season, I really wasn't sure what to expect, but I'll be the first one to admit I wouldn't have bet on there being so many stud records and significant average price rises across the meat breed auctions, given the lack of rain in many regions.

Instead, we've seen national breed records tumble and SA meat sheep breed on-property prices hit unseen highs.

While lamb and mutton prices have been off the charts for much of the year, I thought seasonal challenges would cast a cloud over some sales, forcing many buyers to lower their budgets and causing some who had destocked heavily to not operate at all.

It's a great sign for the future of the prime lamb industry, and a clear indicator that commercial sheep producers have great confidence in what lies ahead.

But, based on feedback from most stud principals, any loss of regular volume buyers has largely been offset by new faces.

The sheer number of rams being offered and sold in SA is impressive. Take Friday for example, when just shy of 1200 future sires went under the hammer. On the larger end of the scale, we had Warrawindi offering about 340 rams across four breeds, Ella Matta with more than 300 across three breeds and South East studs Seriston and Paxton both offering line-ups exceeding 150 rams.

There were plenty of buyers to go round and all sales posted strong results - a factor helped along by the reasonable seasons in the SE and on Kangaroo Island.

It's a great sign for the future of the prime lamb industry, and a clear indicator that commercial sheep producers have great confidence in what lies ahead.

Related reading:Ella Matta sets $29,000 on-property record

While headline-grabbing price records don't tell the full story, it is pleasing to see the positive top price results haven't been limited to on-property sales.

The Pinnaroo and Lameroo off-shears markets both eclipsed the previous saleyard records, selling to $342 at the Pinkerton Palm Hamlyn & Steen sale in Pinnaroo, and $326 at Friday's Lameroo market.

Jamestown's September feature ewe sale also broke its saleyard record, topping at $296, and all eyes will be back on the market today as another mammoth yarding goes under the hammer.

With the Naracoorte first-cross sales still ahead of us, let's hope SA's sheep selling season has a few surprises left in store.

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