Industry confidence evident at buzzing Burra Merino Expo

Industry confidence evident at buzzing Burra Merino Expo

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CONTINUED confidence in the sheep industry was obvious as exuberant stud and commercial Merino producers descended on the Burra Oval for the annual Elders SA Stud Merino Expo on Tuesday.

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CONTINUED confidence in the sheep industry was obvious as exuberant stud and commercial Merino producers descended on the Burra Oval for the annual Elders SA Stud Merino Expo on Tuesday.

Twenty-six studs from across the state displayed a selection of stud reserves and rams set for their on-property sales kicking off in late July.

Eleven studs also participated in the Mid North on-property day held on Monday.

Merino SA president and Roemahkita principal Joe Dahlitz said the Burra expo opened its gates to one of the biggest crowds in years.

"The quality of the sheep on display was fantastic and there were some tremendous animals up for judging," he said.

"It has been a great success."

Many breeders voiced their confidence about upcoming on-property ram sales, saying a recent resurgence in wool prices, pastoral rains and a robust lamb market all boded well for commercial clients.

Mr Dahlitz echoed those sentiments, saying the industry was "ticking along quite well".

"The wool Eastern Market Indicator has risen consistently since January and is sitting at about 1300 cents after going as low as 840c last September and the meat job continues to be very good, with producers getting up to $6.80 a kilogram for mutton and $7.80/kg for Merino lambs.

"A lot of the pastoral country has had rain and a lot of people had their best spring in a while, so there's a lot of positive thoughts.

"Bull sales have been very buoyant and given a reasonable season I think ram sales should be very solid as well. We could potentially see a small increase on last year's prices."

There was healthy rivalry in the three competitions held throughout the day, with a ram from Collinsville stud, Hallett, crowned the Elders Field Day Ram of the Year.

As well as claiming the Ram of the Year title, Collinsville poll rams were awarded third and fourth place by judge Luke Ledwith, Kolindale Merino and Poll Merino stud, Kulin, WA.

The prize for first place was a Universal sheep feeder, but Collinsville principal George Millington said the stud's strong performance in the competition was affirmation of how successful the stud had been in pursuing its breeding objectives.

"We've been trying really hard to run a top breeding program and espouse some of the values of South Australian Merinos, which is a large frame, structurally correct animal with an excellent-handling and heavy-cutting fleece," he said.

"It was great recognition to have three of the top four rams in the competition placed by an independent judge.

"It proves our breeding program is sound and the breeding objectives and what we're trying to achieve is coming through in the sheep. It shows the stud continues to head in the right direction."

Mr Ledwith said the Collinsville ram in third place was a "gutsy, heavy-cutting ram with lustrous wool" and had good make and shape to go with its fleece.

He said it was hard to split the Old Ashrose and Collinsville rams for first and second, but the Collinsville sire got the nod due to its length and staple.

"They are very similar rams, with really big pure heads on them and big meaty back ends," he said

"They both had plenty of length and plenty of depth, had the wool and meat, but the ram in first just had a little bit more staple."

The Ramsey Bros All Purpose Pair of Ram Lambs was awarded to Orrie Cowie stud, Warooka, while Old Ashrose, Hallett, claimed the Elders SA Championship Pair ahead of two separate entries from North Ashrose, Gulnare.

The polled ram and ewe will go on to represent SA in the National Pairs competition at the Australian Sheep & Wool Show at Bendigo, Vic.

Mr Ledwith said the Old Ashrose pair stood out due to carrying white, nourished, crimped, long-stapled wools, while also showcasing good carcase attributes.

He said he admired the dual-purpose nature of SA sheep and the rams on display at the Burra exhibition were a credit to all breeders.

Pearler ram tops Expo auction

A Greenfields ram from the Pearler bloodline attracted the most bids at a helmsman Merino auction conducted by Elders at the SA Stud Merino Expo.

Thirteen rams from Greenfields, Orrie Cowie and North Cowie were offered, with the 130-kilogram April/May 2019-drop Poll Merino from the Hallett stud reaching the sale's top price of $4900.

It was bought by Secret Rocks Merino and Poll Merino, Ungarra, with stud principal Brenton Stratford saying the ram's big square frame and "beautiful white wool" caught the eye and would be a handy addition to their breeding program.

The ram carried a 20.2 micron fleece, with a 3.4 standard deviation, 16.8 coefficient of variation and a 99.3pc comfort factor.

Two of the eight Orrie Cowie rams offered sold for $2750, with their offering averaging $1938.

Three Greenfields rams averaged $2967, while the two North Cowie rams made $1000. In total, the seven rams sold averaged $2031.

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