*128 of 137 rams sold to $3000, av $1286
IT MIGHT only be the fourth annual ram sale for 29-year-old Damien Hawker, principal of the Omad White Suffolk stud at Serviceton on the border between SA and Victoria, but he established the stud 15 years ago.
The sale followed hot on the heels of Omad's success at the Adelaide Royal Show, where Omad 180316 made reserve senior champion and was sold for $7000.
It drew 38 registered local and interstate buyers, who bought 128 of the 137 rams on offer at the sale, which was conducted by Driscoll, McIllree & Dickinson agent Chris Barber in conjunction with Westech Ag Kyle Livestock agent Stuart Kyle.
Omad offered 112 White Suffolk and 25 ultra-white White Suffolk-cross rams.
While the White Suffolks averaged $1332 and two lots sold to a top of $3000, the ultra-white-cross rams averaged $1236 and sold to a top of $1600, again for two lots to two different buyers.
In total, the sale averaged $1286, which Mr Hawker said was about $150 more than last year's result, when 20 fewer rams were available.
Only three of the ultra-white-cross rams - 75 per cent Dorper and 25pc Poll Dorset over a White Suffolk ewe - were passed in, creating what Mr Barber described as a "virtual sell out".
"A lot of people like the splash of Dorper for easier lambing and their hybrid vigour makes them highly fertile, too," Mr Barber said.
The two $1600 ultra-white-cross rams were sold to JS & JV Smith, Rainbow, and Lloyd Thomas, LTH.
Russell Crouch bought the $3000 Lot 2, 134 kilograms, White Suffolk, while Willersdorf & Feder, Telopea Downs, purchased Lot 5, 129kg, for $3000.
Lot 2 had an 11.3kg weaned weight, 17.3kg post-weaned weight, -0.8 fat, 1.2 muscle and a carcase plus index of +205.
Lot 5, sired by Ashmore 516, had an 12.9kg weaned weight and 19.9kg post-weaned weight but was -0.5 fat, 1 muscle and a carcase plus index of +214.
Lot 5 purchaser Trevor Willersdorf, who also bought two more rams priced at $2400 and $2200 at the Omad sale, said the ram's figures caught his eye.
"We're looking for sheep with low birth weights, high gain rates, good carcase index, good TCPs because we focus on fat lambs that we want to grow fast on a good frame," he said.
"Damien had a terrific line-up of rams there - you would barely be able to split the first 50 - and you couldn't get them in any better condition."
Mr Hawker said the family's commercial flock of 2000 ewes helped to inform Omad's breeding objectives.
"I'm a young person in the industry and we run a large commercial enterprise also and being able to see what my genetics are doing at home helps set the direction," he said.
"We want high growth, naturally well-covered and fleshed rams."