The million dollar Merino run

By By Marius Cuming
Updated January 5 2016 - 6:14pm, first published October 4 2007 - 11:00pm

UNDERLYING confidence in the future of the Merino has been rammed home at a string of ram sales across Victoria and the Riverina, NSW, in the past week that have posted strong averages and super clearances.Eight of the most prominent sales grossed more than $1 million collectively – about of a third of this notched up at Pooginook, Jerilderie, NSW, alone.The results follow on from strong multi-vendor sales at the Australian Sheep and Wool Show and Hamilton Sheepvention.Last week Uardry, Hay, NSW, continued the momentum, selling 120 rams to a top of $12,000 and average of $1400, up $67 on last year.It flies in the face of the drought gripping a wide expanse of south eastern Australia, with buyers prepared to fork out for what they see as quality genetics to help rebuild their flock when the season does turn good.Speaking at the Crawford family’s Rock-Bank sale at Dunkeld this week, Landmark stud auctioneer Kevin Norris said he had not been surprised by the sales this year, given that in the past the best studs had always sold well whatever the season and that good genetics were always a good investment.Elders stud services auctioneer Ross Milne agreed high profile sales so far this year had been very strong.“Considering the last 12 months that everyone has endured the results at sales this year has shown just how much confidence is out there for Merinos,” Mr Milne said.“Sure the flock is shrinking and many people are de-stocking as things again get tough but underlying this is a determination of many Merino breeders not to lose the quality within their flock, even if it is smaller.”Elders Victorian breeding service specialist Ross Dickinson said the depth of buyers at Tuesday’s multi-vendor Marnoo ram sale indicated the confidence people had in the Merino industry and the appeal heavy cutting fine to superfine rams held for central and southern commercial producers.“People realise they have to make a profit, and when you look at the high cost of feed for lambs and beef, and the heartache at losing crops in the dry, Merinos come out on top,” Mr Dickinson said.Helping producer optimism is strength in the wool market, with current spot and futures prices still regarded as historically good.Lempriere fine wool specialist Bruno de Mattia said good quality fine wool was in demand and the market may show this in coming weeks with the better spinning wools likely to attract healthy premiums.“Very good quality wool will always sell well and that is why we see good demand at these very good studs – they represent the best genetics in the wool industry,” Mr de Mattia said.The wool market held firm on the first day of trade this week despite the Australian dollar nearing US90 cents.With only Melbourne operating on Tuesday, the southern market indicator dropped four cents with the finer end of the 8000-bale offering lifting slightly and the broader end dropping marginally.The 17 micron indicator finished at 1382 cents a kilogram, up 7c on last week’s trade, the 19 closed up one to 1111c while the 21 micron indicator lost 9c to 939c and the 23 micron wools were generally down 12c to 870c/kg clean.Last’s week market lost the gains of the previous week, down almost two per cent with the eastern market indicator down 15c to 919c but in US dollar terms the market lifted by almost half that.

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