TWENTY-ONE bidders signed up for some great buying opportunities at Vanita stud's annual Border Leicester and Poll Dorset ram sale near Kingston SE on Wednesday last week.
Nathan, Courtney, Anthony and Sharon Geue presented a quality line-up of 75 Border Leicester rams and 64 Poll Dorsets to a gallery of mostly return buyers. Seventy-three Border Leicester rams sold to $2400 - eclipsing the 2019 sale high by $800 - and averaged $1416. In the Poll Dorsets, 42 sold averaging $1130, with the breed top of $1900 reached four times.
Long-time client Chris Wright again took top price honours, paying $2400 for lot 2, an August-drop ram sired by Glencorie 142-16.
The ram weighed 103.5 kilograms, and had an eye muscle depth of 43 millimetres; 9mm fat and 44.5 micron wool, and will be used over Merino ewes on Mr Wright's Kongorong property, where he retains the ewe portion for prime lamb production.
"He just ticked all the boxes," Mr Wright said of his number one pick. "I've bought rams here for about nine years and they seem to be doing the job for me. My theory is, if it ain't broke, don't fix it - It's as simple as that."
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Taking the mantle of volume buyer in the Border Leicesters was the Ratcliffe Family, Haydenwood Partners, Keilira. Regular buyers of Vanita genetics for more than 10 years, the Ratcliffes bought 22 rams, paying from $1000 to $1900, and averaging $1504.
"We've been really happy with the Vanita rams," Alex Ratcliffe said. "They do the job really well for us".
Having lost about 1000 ewes as a result of the Keilira fires in December, they are concentrating on breeding their ewe numbers back up.
"Fortunately, after a fairly average winter, we're looking pretty good now after good spring rain," Mr Ratcliffe said.
Nutrien Ag Solutions Kingston's Alistair Keller paid between $1000 and $1900 for 12 rams, averaging $1408, and SA&GE Smith, Lucindale, bought eight Border Leicesters to $1500, averaging $1400.
In the Poll Dorsets, two of the $1900 top price rams were knocked down to the Rasheed family, Boolapuckee Pastoral, Taratap, who were also volume buyers, putting together a draft of 10 Poll Dorsets averaging $1260.
Their two top picks were both May-drop rams, sired by Ulandi Park 254-17, weighing 119kg and 123.5kg with EMDs of 47mm and 51.5mm, respectively.
"We've been buying from Vanita since they first bought the stud and the rams are doing a great job," David Rasheed said.
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"We lost about 900 sheep in the (Keilira) fire with around three-quarters of our property burnt out but we're gradually breeding our numbers back up. The country has responded really well to recent rains and has come back unbelievably well."
AK&AH Parker, Kingston SE, bought nine Poll Dorset rams including two at the top price of $1900, for an average of $1433, and Kintalpa Partners, Kingston SE, bought six rams at $1500.
In a tradition that began after a family member needed medical evacuation, the Geue family donates the proceeds of a selected ram to the Royal Flying Doctor Service. This year, the nominated lot 21 Border Leicester ram was bought by MH Marwood, Kingston SE, for $1900.
The sale was conducted by Nutrien, and auctioneer Richard Miller said the results on this year's Border Leicester rams were outstanding.
"Without doubt, it's the very best line-up I've seen in the 10 years I've been dealing with the stud," he said. "The grass prepared and pasturefed rams sold to a very strong buying gallery of regulars, with the addition of a new order this year, which pushed the top end."
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