A "true dual purpose" Poll Merino sire turned heads at Orrie Cowie's 56th annual on-property sale at Warooka on Wednesday, where a significant bidding battle eventually ended in the top-price sire being knocked down at $12,500.
In the breakdown, 134 Poll Merino and Merino rams sold of 140 offered, averaging $2130.
The top price ram, lot 4, was AI-sired by Trojan, and was an April 2020-drop weighing 126kg, with fleece measurements including 20.7 micron, 2.7 standard deviation, 13 coefficient of variation and 99.9 per cent comfort factor. It also had an eye muscle depth of 43.3mm.
The sire sold to stud client John Lenehan, Wagga Wagga, NSW, with bidding carried out by Elders stud stock's Alistair Keller.
Mr Keller said Mr Lenehan was looking for a "big and square" ram with heavy-cutting wool.
This was the third ram Mr Lenehan has bought from Orrie Cowie, buying one ram each year since 2019.
Orrie Cowie principal John Dalla said the sire had been his "top pick" leading into the sale.
"It was no surprises that he was top price, I thought he well and truly deserved that," Mr Dalla said.
"He had good structural correctness and width and carcase traits with a terrific Merino wool, a real true dual purpose sheep - they don't come much more truer than him."
The second top-price ram - with bidding once again carried out by Mr Keller - was lot 3, a 119kg ET-bred sire knocked down at $8000 to Glendonald Merinos, Nhill, Vic, with measurements including 20.3M, 3.1SD, 15.3CV and 99.7pc CF.
Mr Dalla said the sale was "fantastic", and was on par with expectations.
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"We had a good clearance and there was a solid average right through," he said.
The sale had a good balance of stud and commercial interest, which pleased Mr Dalla, especially considering options to show his sheep have been limited since the start of Covid-19.
"Not being able to show at shows has been a bit restricting, a lot of guys don't like buying rams without being able to see them first, and without being able to take the rams to them, it's been really hard," he said.
"But we had a few interstate buyers who bought through AuctionsPlus, and who bid who agents who were here, which was great."
Orrie Cowie also had an offering of White Suffolks, Suffolks and Poll Dorsets for sale, with 29 offered of which 12 sold, averaging $866 and topping at $1400 for a White Suffolk.
A large contingency of repeat clients buoyed the sale through the day, many who bought in bulk.
Calana Heights, Stokes Bay, bought 16 Merinos to $1600, averaging $1225, while LR Noll & Son, Wilmington, bought 13 Merinos to $1200, averaging $1031, and three Poll Dorset rams at $800.
Ten Merinos were secured by Kingscote client Robert Hams, all knocked down at $1000, while fellow Kingscote client Ronnie Hams also bought ten Merinos, also all at $1000.
Gavin Webster, Mannum, bought nine Merinos to $2000, averaging $1511, with bidding carried out by Elders Murray Bridge livestock manager Scott Eichler.
Bruce McCarthy, 278 Securities, Elders Burra, bought eight Merinos to $7750, averaging $3356. Rock Glen Pastoral Trust, Stansbury, bought four Merinos to $4200, averaging $2250, and four White Suffolks, all at $800.
Elders conducted the sale, with Tom Penna and Tony Wetherall sharing the auctioneering duties.
Mr Penna said it had been a successful sale, especially in the absence of a few volume buyers who were unable to attend.
"The sale had a really strong top end, and further on in the catalogue was really good buying for those bulk buyers," he said.
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