DESPITE border closures across the country, an interstate presence was well and truly felt at Lawral Park's 18th annual on-property Prime SAMM ram sale on Monday at Ungarra, with online and phone bidding leading to more than two thirds of the catalogue finding new homes outside SA.
This year, the line-up consisted of 90 rams - 10 more than last year - with all 90 lots sold, averaging $1694 and rocketing to a top price of $6800.
A total of 64 sires were knocked down to interstate clients, with 42 rams sent to NSW, 17 to Qld, and four to Tas. SA buyer interest also spanned right across the state, with rams sold to clients across the Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas, as well as in the pastoral regions, and South East.
Topping the sale was lot 4, sold to Sandra and James Shephard, Hurtlegrove Pastoral Co, Orroroo.
The May 2020-drop sire weighed an impressive 133.5 kilograms, with an eye muscle depth of 51 millimetres, a fat depth of 8.5mm and a 20.9 micron fleece.
The ram's good growth figures and low micron appealed to the Shephards, who bought at the top end of the sale through the line-up, securing another five rams for an overall average of $2867.
"We've been buying here since 2006, and have missed the last two sales because of drought, but with a better season this year, it was a good time to come back," Ms Shephard said.
"It's a nice even line of sheep here each year, and Lawral Park have been improving each year we've been buying.
"Our new rams will be joined to SAMM-cross ewes, we're up to F7and F8 generations now, so just coming up to a full SAMM."
The Shephards run about 1000 SAMM-cross ewes, as well as 4500 Merino ewes. Of the Merinos, 1000 will be joined with SAMM rams.
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Lawral Park stud principal Campbell Lawrie said it was pleasing to have pastoral clients like the Shephards bidding this year.
"NSW have strung two good seasons together now, hopefully we get a third and who knows what will happen," he said.
Mr Lawrie said the sale result showed that good work was "paying off."
"You're trying to produce perfection in every ram, it's a challenge to keep producing a better product, but if you improve by five per cent each year, it doesn't take long until you're a long way in front," he said.
"Given the fact that Covid once again played a part and stopped interstate bidders from being able to attend in person, it was encouraging to see there was really good interstate interest online.
"The rams stood up really well and there was a lot of positive feedback."
The second-highest price ram, lot 11, was knocked down to Trevor Pietsch, Bordertown, at $5600. Weighing 127kg, the ram had figures including 48EMD, 9mm fat and 20.8M wool.
This year's catalogue featured genetics from two AI-sires first used by the stud several years ago - Ramco 09211 and Ramco 060031 - providing stud clients with outcrosses.
Mr Lawrie was pleased that a lift in the offering did not cause the average to drop significantly, with this year's average less just $47 shy of last year's result.
SAMMs have come a long way in recent years, and Lawral Park have played a big role in that advance.- TONY WETHERALL
The sale's volume buyer was repeat client Reg Hamblin, Tibooburra, NSW, buying through Nutrien Hay, NSW, who bought 19 rams, all at $800, with bidding carried out by Elders EP District Wool Manager Claire Loveridge.
Ben Hill, Box Plains Trust, Thallon, Qld, was a new client at the sale, bidding on AuctionsPlus to secure 17 rams to $4200, averaging $2165.
Repeat client John Heffernan, Neergesor, Junee, NSW, secured nine sires to $3400, averaging $2044, while nine rams were also knocked down to fellow repeat client Windalle Station, Menindee, NSW, all at $1000.
The sale was conducted by Elders, with Tony Wetherall as auctioneer.
Mr Wetherall said the quality right through the catalogue was a key factor driving such widespread interest in Lawral Park sires.
"Bodyweight averaged 120.9kg while EMD averaged 48.9mm - the size, growth, carcase qualities and evenness right throughout means clients can buy with confidence," he said.
"SAMMs have come a long way in recent years, and Lawral Park have played a big role in that advance."
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