A WELL-BALANCED ram with tremendous presence and high quality wool has rewritten the Border Leicester breed's history books, selling for $27,000 at Coolawang stud's annual ram sale on Thursday at Mundulla West.
Less than a fortnight after Johnos stud, Eurack, Vic, snatched the breed's national record with a $19,500 ram, the James family who had long-held the accolade reclaimed it back with the first lot of their outstanding draft.
Ironically it was the same buyers the Graham family, Glencorrie stud, Sandilands, who paid $18,200 in 2013 for the last record breaking Coolawang ram who were back in the spotlight.
The July 2019-drop, Coolawang 127/19, which was born a triplet, was from the Victory family which have bred so well for Coolawang.
Craig Graham said the ram, which weighed 122 kilograms in early September, was "hard to fault".
"(The ram was) very well-balanced with beautiful wool and head and a good hindquarter," he said.
It had one of the highest maternal $ indexes in the catalogue at 136.3.
Just a few lots later the record was nearly surpassed again with brothers Ashley and Tom Corkhill, Normanhurst stud, Boorowa, NSW, putting in the $26,500 winning bid on AuctionsPlus for lot 4.
Ashley said they were keen to reinvest in some top genetics in the wake of the success of their 16th annual ram sale which was their best ever.
They have bred some great progeny out of a Coolawang ram they bought in 2015 and were taken with lot 4 for its moderate frame, finer wool, overall correctness and sire appeal.
"Our budget was $15,000 to $20,000 but once it hit that we thought we would see how far we could push it. We really wanted the ram and can see him adding a lot to our stud," Ashley said.
"A big thing for us was the (ram's) 35 micron wool but also a greasy fleece weight (figure) of 19.5 which is the highest in the catalogue."
Also bound for NSW was lot 2, Coolawang 512/19, another Victory family ram which sold for $18,000 to Bauer stud, Ariah Park.
Despite the dizzy heights reached in the stud ram offering there was plenty of affordable buying in the flock rams. In a total clearance these 204 rams averaged $2011.
This was actually less than 2019 when 189 of 207 flock rams averaged $2121.
In a change of format which was well-received the 15 stud rams were the only lots to be put through the sale ring.
Flock ram buyers instead bid with confidence as the videos of each lot played on the TV screens in front of them.
Volume buyers left their mark on the sale with many among the well-known vendors at the Naracoorte feature first cross ewe sales.
Seven buyers took home 10 rams or more but the sale's biggest buyer was first-time clients, Phil and Yiotis Toumazos, Murrabinna Pastoral, Kingston SE.
They found good value taking home 22 rams for a $1559 average.
Stark Grazing, Stewart Range, secured 14 rams, averaging $2600, and Fisher Clover Ridge Pastoral, Woolumbool, put together 13 rams for a $1870 average.
Stud co-principal Trevor James said they were thrilled with the demand for their stud rams and said they had worked hard over 40 years of breeding to produce rams which bred consistently.
The other highlight for them was their clients being able to fill their orders and secure flock rams for affordable money.
While the top priced flock ram made $4000 at lot 32 nearly 40 lots made $1500 or less.
Mr James said it was great to see strong demand for Border Leicester rams this season which he put down to a weaker wool market and decision by many to focus on solid prices for lamb production.
Elders stud stock manager and auctioneer Tony Wetherall, who took just two hours and 15 minutes to complete the sale, heaped praise on the offering.
"Coolawang are renowned for breeding both stud and flock rams and the depth of quality was as good as you will see anywhere," he said.
"That growth, carcase qualities and outlook of the rams are genetically certainly sought after, and those genetics have been proven to receive a bonus in the saleyards - so that's why the buyers were here today."
Elders Naracoorte conducted the sale.
- MORE TO COME