*81 of 88 rams sold to $8000, av $2081
Loyal volume buyers and return clients helped Waratah White Suffolks establish a new top average during its on-property ram sale on Monday.
It was the first time the Branxholme stud recorded an average of more than $2000, largely thanks to long-term clients in both the stud and commercial sectors.
The stud sold 81 of 88 White Suffolk rams to $8000 to average $2081, and recorded a total clearance of 18 ewes to $1000 to average $641.
Stud principals Debbie and Steve Milne said it was an extremely pleasing result.
"Stud rams sold to SA and Victoria with local prime lamb producers purchasing the flock rams," Mrs Milne said.
"Our ewes sold to very strong competition and are heading to both repeat and new studs in WA, SA, New South Wales as well as Victoria."
Mrs Milne said excellent rain in the last week had "set the season up" with dams now full and pastures growing rapidly.
"We focus on breeding sheep that will perform in the high rainfall zone," Mrs Milne said.
"We look for moderate birth weight, fast growth, plenty of muscle, worm resistance and have added high fertility and eating quality to our breeding program.
"The rams this year benefitted from a mild winter and presented in excellent condition."
The top-priced ram Lot 4 was purchased by repeat buyers Shane and Jodie Foster, Boonaroo White Suffolks, Casterton via AuctionsPlus.
The ram was described as a "well-balanced structurally correct ram. He is a very low birth weight, positive fat ram with great muscle and excellent eating quality values".
Mrs Foster, who also bought Lot 5 for $7800, said the rams would be joined in late December to 300 White Suffolk stud ewes.
"We chose the top ram because he stood square, he had a really good eye muscle depth while he was still positive fat so his progeny will be easy to finish," Mrs Foster said.
"He also retained eating quality traits in the top five per cent of all breeds and that will improve the eating quality of his progeny."
The ram had a terminal carcase production index (TCP) of 157 and a lamb eating quality index (LEQ) of 158.
The Fosters bought the 2019 top-priced Waratah ram for $9000 last year.
Volume buyers included John and Jo Forsyth, Cavendish, who bought 19 rams.
Salamanca Pastoral, Hotspur, purchased 11 rams and the Kealy family from Patyah purchased 10 rams.
Representing agent, Bernie Grant, LMB Livestock, Hamilton, credited the stud for its consistency of rams offered.
"A lot of buyers were looking for muscle, growth and fat and concentrating on the lamb eating quality," Mr Grant said.
"People are coming back year after year to buy these rams, selecting these traits, and are prepared to pay for them."
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