DESPITE some apprehension going into this year's British breed on-property ram sale season, the industry has been left pleasantly surprised with the overall successes seen.
In the past two months, there has been a national breed record broken, with a Suffolk ram from Allendale stud, Bordertown, selling at $21,500, a SA meat sheep breed on-property record set for a $29,000 White Suffolk ram at Ella Matta, Parndana, as well as numerous individual stud records smashed.
Elders SA stud stock manager Tony Wetherall said one of the biggest surprises this year had been the clearances achieved across many sales.
"It was a surprise for us as agents but also a lot of vendors - a lot of people had prepared themselves," he said.
"Earlier on I was thinking clearance would be down or sales back a little but, by and large, clearance was good in most cases - although was a little bit of a mixed bag."
Mr Wetherall said there was good confidence in the sheep, lamb and wool industry.
"We just need the season to take advantage of the good prices," he said.
He said overall the quality of rams presented were improving each year, and a portion of the buyers may have been looking to refresh some of their flock rams.
Landmark stud stock manager Gordon Wood said as he had been ahead of the Merino ram sales, he had been somewhat apprehensive in the lead up to the selling season.
"In general the ewe flock, nationwide, is considerably down," he said.
"It's been amazing really.
"We've had good clearances and averages as good as last year or even a considerable lift in some cases."
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Mr Wood said the high prices in recent times could have helped lift confidence.
"The prime lamb industry has been rewarding those in it for a few years now and it's only stepping up," he said.
He said there was quite a lot of repeat buyers supporting their regular ram suppliers.
"Generally speaking, people return to the stud they've purchased from previously," he said.
"There is predictability and reliability in the product and genetics they're getting and the progeny is working well for them."
He said another trend was in the way buyers were selecting their rams to suit their operations, using a combination of figures and phenotype.
"There is no question people have been more savvy when it comes to Lambplan and are using the data to select from," he said.
He said there were some buyers missing from the pastoral areas, where feed has been in short supply.
Mr Wood said the season finished particularly strongly with the South East sales.
"Southern SA is in an enviable position, nationwide, as it has had a reasonable season, they have feed in front of them and have been able to have a few ewe numbers," he said.
Mr Wood said this confidence in the industry flowed through to the seedstock industry, which in-turn resulted in high and record prices for stud sires.
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