A FULL clearance of 246 rams was an immensely satisfying result for Illoura White Suffolks at their annual flock ram sale at Moorlands on Thursday.
There was no trouble rousing a bid on the even catalogue, which averaged $1189 - a $142 rise on 2019 - and reached a top price of $2700 twice.
There was 57 registered buyers from all regions of the state, with a number of other interstate and online SA buyers tuning in through AuctionsPlus.
After passing in a number of rams last year, Illoura principal Allan Piggott was pleased to see so much demand from clients on Thursday.
"There's still a lot of confidence in the sheep industry at the moment and it showed through the sale," he said.
"From our point of view, clearance is the main thing. If we can sell all the rams like that it's a great result.
"We knew last year there just weren't the ewe numbers out there and we knew this year there was a lot more demand so we went into the sale much more confident.
"All the agricultural commodities are struggling a bit at the moment due to COVID, but I think the sheepmeat job is actually quite strong."
The two top priced rams went to Fitzpatrick Partners, Walpeup, Vic, bidding through AuctionsPlus, and RA Bowmans Partners, Orroroo, respectively.
The ram bound for Vic was a 110-kilogram April 2019-drop twin and had post-weaning values of 17.1 weight, 0.1 fat and 2.4 eye muscle depth, with a Terminal Carcase Production index of 152. It had a Lamb Eating Quality index of 151.2, a 0.3 birthweight and 10.5 weaning weight.
The Bowmans purchase was also an April 2019-drop twin weighing 127kg, with a 0.5 BWT, 12.5 WWT, 18.7 PWWT, -0.5 PFAT, 1.1 PEMD, 145.4 TCP and 142.3 LEQ.
Elders auctioneer Tom Penna said it was another brilliant lineup from the Illoura stud.
"I've always had a soft spot for the Illoura sheep and their strong commercial focus," he said.
"They were about 10kg heavier this year, with the strong feed year, and they're good doing sheep - have been for a long time.
"The buying competition was strong all the way through.
"This sale's always strong at the top end and as you get further in people looking to buy numbers are able to do so."
New volume buyer Murray McFarlane, McFarlane Pastoral, Wellington, bought 25 rams to $1100 three times, averaging $928.
Mr McFarlane runs a 6000 head sheep and cropping enterprise and said he selected rams on eye muscle depth and positive fat.
West Creek, Strathalbyn, bought 12 rams to $900 five times, averaging $842.
Taking home ten rams to $1800, averaging $1420 was RN&LA Bald & Sons, Ettrick, while Lloyd Griffiths, Alawoona, also secured ten all at $700.
Securing eight rams to $1900, averaging $1275 was Lange Trading Trust, Laura, and taking seven to $1000, averaging $886 was LG&AL Braun, Loxton.
Jachmann Farming, Taplan, bought seven rams to $1600, averaging $1357, Redbanks Pastoral, Kangaroo Island, also took seven to $2400, averaging $1986, and Burge Trading Trust, Naracoorte, won the bidding on seven lots to a top of $1300 and average of $1114.
Landmark auctioneer Richard Miller said it was a fantastic draft of rams from Illoura and said they were arguably the highest-performing and largest growth White Suffolks in SA.
"It's great to see the figures back up the sheep," he said.
"When you look at a sheep that's high post weaning weight and got a heap of shape and muscle to it, on paper it's also got that big eye muscle and post weaning weight.
"They're very predictable sheep, they're noted doers and they go into all areas and climates around the state and interstate.
"They produce sheep to suit all markets and I think it was a very pleasing result over such a large number of rams."
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