The 2020 Classings Classic multi-vendor Poll Merino sale defied the tumbling wool market with the average leaping $306- to $5442, the highest in the sale's nearly two decade long history.
At the new venue, the Murray Bridge Racecourse, there were 112 registered bidders in the crowd plus another 108 logged into AuctionsPlus with 15 rams selling online.
For the fourth time in five years Ray, Judy, Brad and Jade Schroeder, Gunallo stud, Panitya, Vic,claimed top price honours, this time with lot 16, Gunallo 190464.
The massive 19.1 micron, double poll tested ram was easily in the top 10 per cent for yearling clean fleece weight at 28.9.
Its wool measurements included a standard deviation of 2.7, coefficient of variation of 14.1 per cent and comfort factor of 99.8pc.
Brad Schroeder said the ram sired by Glenlea Park 160614 and out of a special Kamora Park 37 daughter was a stand-out for structural soundness and its wool quality.
"Structurally he is probably as good as anything we have seen this year and he is a well-balanced sheep with purity, for such a big ram his wool is as good as you'd see," he said.
Brad said it had been a difficult season for them living just a few kilometres over the SA-Vic border and unable to attend SA field days, but they were hugely relieved to have been granted a permit to attend the Classings sale, both to market their rams and also select new genetics.
"What we buy now is breeding rams for two years time. We have got things going pretty well so we didn't want to miss a step which was why it was important for us to be there," he said.
Darren O'Brien and Jodie Reseigh-O'Brien, O'Brien stud, Kyancutta, were the successful buyers of the sale topper, impressed by the early growth and "heaps of body length".
In the breakdown 91 of 96 rams selected by sale hosts Bill and Rose Walker from 24 SA, Vic and WA studs averaged $5442 at the Murray Bridge Racecourse.
This up from 2019's $5136 av for 82 rams.
Nine rams made $10,000 or more with two of these five-figured rams coming in the final few lots.
Nantoura stud, Wharminda, made a triumphant return as vendors to the Classings sale after a seven year hiatus gaining the sale's second highest price of $20,000 at lot 91.
The 20.8M ram smashed the Prime family's previous stud high of $7600 set at their on-property sale last month.
AI bred from Sohnic 171634, the late March 2019-drop which weighed 114kg had a 100mm staple from five months growth. It also had the figures to back it up in the top 1pc for yearling staple length.
"He always stood out for his incredible staple length and bold crimping white wool as a lamb," Chris Prime said.
"They don't always carry through to a hogget but we think he'll breed on."
Chris was "over the moon" to see the ram go to Ramsgate stud, Tintinara, but said they had the best of both worlds also retaining semen for in-flock use.
At lot 94 the Daniell family, White River stud, Poochera, received $11,000 for their sole entry, a 152kg ram sired by White River 881.
It is headed to WA, bought by DayBron Farms,
Earlier in the sale Ric, Gail and Matt Ridgway, Ridgway stud, Kulkami, received $12,000 for one of their stud reserves, 190063, which had been a late inclusion.
This also sold to the O'Brien stud.
One of the largest volume sellers, David, Karen and Devon Ridgway, Ridgway Advance, Bordertown, received $12,000 for their second spring 2019 drop to be offered, lot 42, knocked down to Glenville stud, Cowell.
Ridgway Advance's spring drops sold particularly well with 11 of 12 averaging $5545.
Gunallo's seven rams averaged a very credible $10,714, including lot 17 which sold for $12,500 to PA&BJ Fitzgerald, Cummins.
Sale host Bill Walker was thrilled to have the highest gross in the sale's history and sell nine more rams "amidst the gloom" of the wool market.
He saw the highlights not so much as the larger studs which attracted high prices every year but seeing smaller, "lesser- known" studs such as Lucernbrae, Flairdale and Penrose Poll who had made the epic 3500km trip from Esperance, WA, rewarded with good sales.
He said the pressure to cease mulesing sheep continued to "boil away" but was pleased his sale vendors were breeding free skinned, plain bodied sheep with high fertility and making good use of Australian Sheep Breeding Values.
" There is a lot of denial around the mulesing debate but I'm glad our customers are not part of it," he said.
Elders and Nutrien were joint selling agents with Tony Wetherall and Gordon Wood the auctioneers.
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