THE depth of quality right throughout the Mernowie catalogue was respected by the large gallery of buyers in attendance at the stud's record-breaking 33rd annual sale at Marrabel on Friday.
The Rowett family were pleased to achieve a total clearance of the 92 rams on offer for a record average of $2395 - an increase of $564 on their 2019 sale.
The stud's record-breaking $13,500 top price ram was at lot 3.
Opening at $5000, there was rapid fire bids at $200 rises before a fierce bidding dual at $500 increases between successful purchaser Don Baillie, Yanta stud, Tumby Bay and underbidder Ray and David Andriske, Andriske Farms, Galga.
Tag 19 was sired by Kamora Park 304 (winner of the Fibre Meat class at the 2009 Royal Adelaide Show), weighed 106 kilograms and had 20.5-micron wool with 99.5 per cent comfort factor and ASBVs of 7.7 yearling weight, 26.4 yearling clean fleece weight, 0.28 yearling eye muscle depth and -0.26 yearling fat.
Mr Baillie said the ram had a "lustruous, long stapled wool on a very correct body with a very breedy outlook".
"It also carried the double poll gene with excellent ASBVs," he said.
The Andriskes were active on other top rams, including lot 1 at $6800 and lot 9 for the sale's equal second-highest price of $7000. They secured four rams averaging $5200.
"We are trying to put a bit more wool on our sheep and get early fast growth," Ray Andriske said.
"We use ASBVs and select for wool type and body type.
"We target the Lameroo off-shears sale with our surplus hoggets and were awarded the blue ribbon best presented pen in 2019."
The other $7000 ram was at lot 10 - the heaviest ram in the catalogue at 114kg - purchased by PJ&AM Rowett & Sons, Bordertown.
Repeat buyers Wayne and Brendan Groves, Booleroo Centre, who have been buying Mernowie rams for over 15 years, secured five rams to $6800, averaging $5080.
Wayne Groves said he selected on "visual first for white wool that was 19-20M on a big plain frame with early growth and easy care".
"Mernowie sheep grow out well and we have no problem selling wether lambs over-the-hooks," he said.
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Brooke Humble, Riverview Trust, Hamilton, bought four rams to $2600, averaging $2350, while loyal Mernowie client Grant Burge, Burge Estates, Tanunda, secured 21 rams to $3000, averaging $2048.
Other volume buyers were Mimited with 11 rams, averaging $1482; JL&MJ Wendt & Sons bought four rams averaging $2850; while MDG&KS Thomas bought four rams to average $1550.
Auctioneering duties were shared between Tom Penna, Elders, and Leo Redden, Nutrien.
Mr Penna said "it was a brilliant sale with more depth throughout the catalogue".
"The top end was outstanding and the rams carry some of the whitest wools i have seen this year," he said.
Mr Redden said Mernowie sheep were "striking a good balance between ASBVs and raw data, enabling depth of buyer support right throughout the catalogue".
Mernowie stud principal David Rowett was really pleased with the sale result.
"It was very strong right throughout and the top end was exceptional," he said.
"It was very pleasing to have 35 registered buyers - 10 more than last year - with five new clients on the day."
The first 10 lots of the sale averaged a very impressive $5650 and 11 of the first 20 lots sold for $4000 and above.
The sale was conducted by Elders and Nutrient, with Elders Roseworthy the duty agent.
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