BUYERS were willing to make an extra bid or two than what they may have done in previous years, as Old Ashrose Merino and Poll Merino's average increased $359 at Hallett on Thursday.
Northern producers looking to buy more rams to service increased ewe numbers, and the current strength of the lamb sector meant the auctioneers and spotters were kept busy right throughout the sale.
In the sale breakdown, the 106 Poll Merino rams sold in the main auction averaged $2705, with the 10 Merinos averaging $2070 for an overall average of $2650 across 116 rams.
A further 12 Merinos and Poll Merinos sold in the mini auction to a $3200 top and average of $1550.
There was good value on offer in the selection of White Suffolk rams put up - 77 of the 100 sold to a top of $3400 and averaged $1235.
Old Ashrose principal Nick Wadlow said the family were rapt with the sale, especially the Merinos, while he thought the White Suffolks presented good value for money.
He credited commodity prices as the driving factor behind the result.
"The spread of buyers from across the state and interstate was fantastic," he said.
"I think the rams presented good value for money given the current strength of the sector.
"Our style of sheep have great structure and constitution with good wool cutting ability and produce lambs with good growth rates.
"It's a great industry to be in and looks that it will be very strong into the foreseeable future."
The top-priced ram - a Poll Merino son of Old Ashrose PEH445 which itself sold privately for $45,000 to the Manunda and Clapans Poll Merino studs in 2016 - weighed 117 kilograms and had a greasy fleece weight percentage of 132pc.
Bought by Mutooroo Pastoral Company, who operate stations in the north east pastoral region and manage their own stud sheep operation, the ram carried a 20.1 micron fleece, with 3.0 standard deviation, 15.0 coefficient of variation and 99.7 per cent comfort factor.
Mutooroo bought three rams in total, averaging $5500, and Ed Morgan said the $6500 buy was selected largely on its fleece quality.
"His wool figures are very good and has a very white wool with a well-defined crimp," he said.
"He's also got a sirey muzzle and head, is good on his feet with good structure and balance."
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Mr Morgan said the pastoral family had been able to increase sheep numbers over the past 12 months.
"It's been a combination of factors (that have allowed them to increase numbers)," he said.
"Last year was quite strong seasonally so we were able to bring a lot of our sheep home that were on agistment and we bought in stock as well.
"With a reasonably healthy lambing this year we can start to build our numbers up.
"We still need Spring rain to kick the lambs on but we're certainly in a much better position than we were two years ago."
Volume buyers on the Merinos and Poll Merinos was Lemon Grove Merinos, Nyngan, NSW, securing 18 rams to $3600 and averaging $2497.
Regular Orroroo buyer Geoff Power, GM&VR Power, was the successful bidder on 16 occasions to a top of $1800 twice, averaging $1250.
Both buying eight rams were RBL Growers, through HF Richardson, to $4000, averaging $3163, and C&K Teusner, Lyndoch, to $3000 twice, averaging $2425.
JG&S Weckert, Clare, purchased seven rams to $4200, averaging $3214, while GM Butler & Sons, Lochaber, bought six to $5000, averaging $3142.
Four separate entities took home five rams - Borda Park Graziers, Coulta, to $4400, averaging $3790; Ian Gunn Family Trust, Mount Cooper, to $4000, averaging $3450; LJ O'Dea, Yongala, to $3600, averaging $2670; and Broadview Trading, Orroroo, to $2200, averaging $1980.
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The top White Suffolk was bought by Richard Davis, Lone Pine White Suffolk stud, Quialigo, NSW, through AuctionsPlus for $3400. The ram weighed 113kg, had a 46.6 millimetre eye muscle depth and had figures of 0.4 for birthweight, 18.7 post-weaning weight, -0.4 fat, 1.6 PEMD and 143.1 on the terminal carcase production index.
The volume buyer on the White Suffolks was DJ, JM, SD & AJ Michael, Carriewerloo Station, via Port Augusta, buying ten rams to $1100, averaging $850.
North Benalla Props, Hallett, bought six to $1400 twice, averaging $1100, while SK&GS Robinson, Naracoorte, bought five rams to $2700, averaging $2160.
Glenample Pty Ltd, Elders Burra, secured five rams to $1800 twice, averaging $1300, with TR, LP & RJ Ellis, Jamestown, buying five to $1500, averaging $980.
Elders northern SA livestock sales manager Damien Webb said it was a typically strong sale for Old Ashrose.
"The time and the preparation Old Ashrose put into their breeding program means they have a lot of regular buyers that come back year-on-year," he said.
"They know the quality is here, they know what the rams will do for them on-property and they can always come here with confidence knowing they're going to get true dual-purpose animals.
"They're big, square, well-structured rams that cut plenty of wool and have exceptional meat characteristics as well."
Mr Webb said there was a rise in demand from some northern clients, with some looking to cautiously rebuild numbers after years of drought.
"A lot of operators had to back off on ewe numbers due to drought and with that needed less rams," he said.
"There is a little bit of confidence back, although it is starting to get dry up in that north east and north west country again now so it'd be great to see some rain."
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