*77 of 89 rams sold to $6750, av $2292
A POLL Merino ram that sold for $6750 topped Toland Poll Merino stud's 32nd on-property ram sale at Violet Town on Monday.
Overall, 77 of 89 rams catalogued for the sale sold at auction, for an average of $2292, an increase of $20 on last year's sale results.
The top-priced ram was knocked down to buyers David, Susan and Edwina Sleigh, Ruffy, who joined 26 new and returning buyers at the sale.
Sleigh Pastoral purchased seven lots in total, for an average $3571, with the top-priced ram recording both the sale's highest Merino Production Plus (MP+) index of 152 and the Dual Purpose Plus (DP+) index of 163.
The 18.6-micron ram had impressive fleece Australian Sheep Breeding Values, including a Yearling Clean Fleece Weight (YCFW) of 24, ranking him in the top 10 per cent of the 2018-drop Merino rams on Merinoselect.
Lot 22 also had outstanding Yearling Weight (YWT) of 8.3, and was positive for both Yearling Fat (YFAT) and Yearling Eye Muscle Depth (YEMD) at 0.7 millimetres and 1.2mm respectively.
The second-highest priced ram purchased by the Sleigh family was Lot 37, for $4750, which had an ideal balance between wool and meat traits, with YWT 7.9, YFAT 0.5mm and YEMD 0.4mm.
Major buyers on the day included long-term clients, Wappan Pastoral, Mansfield, who purchased seven rams for an average $2750, and Fox Pastoral, Merton, with five rams for an average $2800.
Phil and Jackie Muecke, Woodebo, Penola, SA, successfully bought four rams, which topped at $5500, for an average $4375.
Mr Muecke said he selected the rams for their wool quality, focusing on elite style with soft, white, lustrous qualities, with microns ranging from 17.5-19, and YCFW 11.5-19.6.
The rams he selected also boasted high performing muscle and fat traits, including two lots which were in the top 10pc of the breed for YWT.
Newcomer, Matt Howe, Greta, made his first buy of Toland genetics a major one, taking home eight rams for a top price of $2750, and average $1469.
Also new to the buying gallery was Deepdene Pastoral, Wagga Wagga, NSW, who purchased seven rams for an average $2393.
Toland Poll Merino measure sheep flock data from birth, as well as fat and muscle score sires.
This year, one-third of the offering ranked in the top 10pc for one or more ASBVs.
Anna Toland, stud co-principal with husband Simon Riddle, together with Phil and Georgina Toland, said it was this comprehensive data collection that had attracted several new volume buyers to the sale.
"With the dry spring forecast, people are demanding sires that can improve lamb resilience and survivability during challenging seasonal conditions," Ms Toland said.
"Our use of data attracted new buyers to the sale.
"More and more people are targeting that high performing, dual-purpose Merino that offers a whole genetic package, providing smart wool, as well as an ability to turn-off surplus lambs."
Ms Toland said the number of long-term, repeat buyers was evidence of the stud's reliable, genetic performance.
"Clients come back each year knowing that what they see is what they're going to get," she said.
"New and returning clients demand data to make informed decisions so they know the ram is capable of providing more than just elite wool to their flock."
One of which was new client, and Meredith producer, Lachie Anderson, who purchased the second-highest priced ram at the sale, Lot 31, for $6000.
The ram was a whole package, providing high grossing MP+ and DP+ at 144 and 152 respectively.
The ram measured YWT of 9.1, YCFW of 18.2, and was positive for fat and muscle.
Targeting the high growth, well-muscled sheep, Mr Anderson he snapped up four rams for an an of average $3400.