*65 of 72 rams sold to $5000, av $1803
STRONG support from repeat buyers saw prices at the annual Tamaleuca Merino and Poll Merino ram sale reach $5000.
The sale saw 66 Poll Merinos and six horned Merinos go under the hammer, with only six passed-in to record a clearance rate of 90 per cent.
The top-priced ram went to one of the volume buyers on the day, Greg Rae, Warrawee Pastoral, Kyalite, NSW.
Tamaleuca stud principal Kevin Crook said Warrawee was a regular buyer for the past four years.
Mr Crook said the same buyer bought a total of eight rams at auction and a further two by private selection after the sale.
The top-priced ram was sired by W43, the stud's most successful sire, with figures of 19.1 micron, 3.0 standard deviation and 99.7pc comfort factor.
Mr Crook said the ram was a true dual-purpose sheep with an eye muscle depth of 44 millimetres.
He said the northern buyers were seeking rams that could produce heavy cutting quality fleece and a good carcase.
"Our sheep are bred in a tough environment, run in the paddock and ready to go straight into the paddock with the ewes," he said.
Warrawee also purchased Lot 5 for $3600, a 19.3-micron ram with 4.5 SD and CF of 98.3pc.
The second top price of the sale was $4800 paid by Ettershank Pastoral Co, Murrabit, who have been buying from Tamaleuca for 20 years.
The ram had a 20-micron fleece, 3.3 SD and CF of 99.6pc.
Ian Feldtman, Benalla, paid $3800 for Lot 13, a 19.2-micron ram with an SD of 2.9 and CF of 99.8pc.
Gulthul, Euston, NSW, bought 11 rams to a top of $1400 to be the top volume buyer.
Lindsay Plant, Manangatang, paid $3200 for a 17.4-micron ram with an SD of 3.4 and CF of 99.9pc.
The Boughen brothers of Kamora and Netley Park Merino studs, Karoonda, SA, paid up to $3000 for two purchases.
Four years ago the Boughens purchased Tamaleuca 88, which went on to sire 22 of the stud's 200 rams.
Birchip sheep producers, the Goulds, purchased four rams to a top of $1700, while John Standon, Kyalite, NSW, bought six rams at auction to $1700 and a further five by private selection.
Mr Crook said the result was "really pleasing" given the dry season north of Ouyen.
"A lot of our northern buyers didn't even operate because ewe numbers are so low," he said.
Buyers attended from north at Gilgandra and Kyalite, NSW, to Stawell as well as Benalla, Swan Hill, Birchip and Karoonda, SA.