WHITE Suffolk stud breeders capitalised on the first opportunity to secure ewes from Bundara Downs stud at Western Flat, South Australia, in their 19-year stud history.
Steve, Ros and Greg Funke sold 86 of their high performance 2007 to 2011-drop ewes for a $528 average at their inaugural mated stud ewe sale last Friday.
It was the first stud sale in Australia where all the sale animals were DNA tested free of Hypotrichosis, a genetic disease affecting terminal sheep breeds.
The pedigrees featured some exciting new bloodlines, numerous broad ribbon winners and many progeny of high growth and muscling sires.
The comprehensive catalogue also contained projected EBVs on the unborn lambs and also the number of in-utero lambs each ewe was carrying.
An outstanding draft of 2011-drop White Suffolk ewes provided the sale highlight with 14 selling av $636, including the $1000 sale-topper.
The top priced ewe was a daughter of Detpa Grove 66 the $18,000 top-priced ram at Detpa Grove's 2009 ram sale.
She was bought by Lachie and Kylie McCrae, Somerset stud, Hamilton.
The April 2011-drop with a carcase plus index of +185 was in lamb with twins sired by AI sire Langley Heights 613.
"She is a nice bodied ewe, well-structured and well put together," Mr McCrae said.
More than 90 per cent of the catalogue was in lamb from AI matings with the older ewes to Bundara Downs homebred sires and the ewe lambs to the latest outcross genetics in the breed.
The older ewes are due to lamb in late April-early May and the ewe lambs from late May to early June.
"It (The ewe lambs) was a gamble but turned out to be one of the highlights with breeders able to access genetics equivalent to what we are breeding now," stud principal Steve Funke said.
Buyers came from western Victoria to the Eyre Peninsula, but three volume buyers accounted for more than half of the sale ewes.
Ian and Sarah James, Iona stud, Henty, who are regular buyers of Bundara Downs' rams bought 16 ewes av $500.
Elders stud stock manager Tom Penna and his client Rohan Hull, Kattata Well stud, Streaky Bay, SA, bid successfully on 15 ewes, av $510.
"We were after the correct type and those with size about them," Rohan said.
The Hulls bought the stud in March last year.
The other volume buyer T Jorgensen from Nhill, who bought 14 ewes to $750.
Steve said the 51pc clearance was still pleasing given more than 1000 White Suffolk stud mated ewes had been offered in the past month at a number of Victorian dispersal sales.
The unsold ewes were returned to Bundara Downs' stud flock.
"It was very pleasing to see the stature of the buyers with some high profile studs operating and not just new studs," he said.
He said the sale was another opportunity to get their genetics out to the industry with the family committed to making it a biennial event.
The only disappointment was the poor spring-summer season reflecting in the condition of the ewes.
However, the impressive success rate of the AI program showed the fertility of the flock with a conception rate of 81.25pc in the older ewes and 69pc in the ewe lambs.
Another highlight was the positive comments on the 14 White Suffolk, Poll Dorset and White Suffolk-Poll Dorset composite rams to be shown at Hamilton Sheepvention and Adelaide Show later in the year.