A BIG wool cutter attracted fierce bidding competition and sold for $17,000 at Orrie Cowie Merino and Poll Merino to headline a strong 55th annual on-property auction at Warooka on Wednesday.
With an average of $2419 for the 132 of 140 Merino and Poll Merino rams that were sold, Orrie Cowie principals John and Heather Dalla were well-pleased.
The average was up $103 on last year's sale, with 20 more rams offered.
"It was a brilliant sale which exceeded our expectations," Mr Dalla said.
"It's nice to get supported like this when we put so much effort and work into it. We're glad that everyone seems to be happy with the rams they've got and continue to be happy with the rams we produce."
In the sale breakdown, 21 Merinos sold to a top of $17,000 and $3526 average, 111 Poll Merinos averaged $2209 with a top of $9000.
After the Merinos, 32 of 42 White Suffolks, Poll Dorsets and Suffolks sold to $1500, averaging $965.
The pleased buyer of the top-priced ram was Orrie Cowie regular Bruce McCarthy, Nanto Creek, Yacka.
Nanto Creek have a 1500 head Merino ewe flock and buy about half a dozen rams from Orrie Cowie, with selection help from Mr Dalla, each year.
The top priced ram was selected on its size, structure and wool qualities, including cut and bright, white colour.
The April 2018-drop son of Trojan had wool figures of 20.2 for micron, 3.1 standard deviation, 15.3 coefficient of variation and 99.6 per cent comfort factor.
"We've been buying from Orrie Cowie for a number of years and they've been extremely supportive to us," Mr McCarthy said.
"We're trying to nibble away each year at getting a bit better ram to increase our structure, wool cut and the type of wool that we want to get.
"Last year's results were very pleasing in terms of lambing and the lambs we've got and with the help of John and the family it's been very good."
In all, Mr McCarthy placed the winning bid on eight rams - including two highly-rated sons of Statesman for $6200 and $6250 - to an average of $5406.
The top-priced Poll Merino was knocked down to PL&LK McCrea, Esperance, WA, for $9000.
The 117-kilogram April-2018 drop ram had wool figures of 18.7 micron, 2.6 SD, 13.9 CV and 99.8% CF.
Regular Kangaroo Island clients were among the sale's volume buyers with Calana Heights, Stokes Bay, buying 12 rams to $1400, averaging $1050, while Ronnie Hams, Parndana, bought nine rams all for $1000.
Taking ten rams to $1800 twice, averaging $1380, was LR Noll & Son, Port Augusta, with Stark Grazing, Naracoorte, buying eight to $5000, averaging $3550, and Gavin Webster, Walker Flat, buying eight to $1800 twice, averaging $1350.
Securing seven rams to $2400, averaging $1486, was TR&MJ Webb, while TD Smith, Yorketown, bought five to $2600, averaging $1920.
Mawarra Livestock, Parndana, bidding through Nutrien, were active on the White Suffolks, securing eight rams all for $800, while Adnamatha, Kingston, took three White Suffolks to $1200, averaging $1033, and three Poll Dorsets to $1000, averaging $867.
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There was a strong contingent of interstate buyers, bidding through agents and AuctionsPlus, which was interfaced for the first time at Orrie Cowie.
Mr Dalla said the platform added to competition and gave people who couldn't come an opportunity to look at rams.
He said border restrictions had been well-handled but there were still a few interstate stud clients who weren't able to participate.
Elders Minlaton conducted the sale, with Tony Wetherall and Tom Penna sharing auctioneering duties.
Mr Penna said it was a great result considering some of the current travel challenges.
"They had new buyers here plus longstanding buyers, strong stud interest at the top end and the regulars were able to buy at really affordable rates through the rest of the sale," Mr Penna said.
"They've always had top-quality nourished wool, but they've introduced growth, size and shape into the bodies and that's been a big plus.
"Now they've got the combination of big sheep with good shape and very well nourished white wools."
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