THE rising appetite for a dual-purpose Merino lured buyers from across southern Australia, who competed to a sale high of $12,000, at the Toland Poll Merino ram sale at Violet Town on Monday.
Growing demand for high-performing wool and meat rams was reflected in the stud's 34th annual on-property sale, with an average that rose nearly $300 year-on-year from $2456 in 2020 to $2719 this year.
With buyers registering from NSW, SA and across Victoria, Toland Poll Merino stud co-principal Simon Riddle said this reflected the ability for Toland sheep to "do well anywhere".
"It was a great sale with a few new clients," Mr Riddle said.
"People are still looking for that quality of wool but more and more they're looking for that good carcase underneath.
"Clients see that extra fat and muscle helps with lamb survival.
"The figures speak for themselves - we work really hard to get the animal underneath the wool right."
The top price was the second lot of the sale, at $12,000, and was bought by Ben Clark, Deepdene, Kyeamba, NSW, to underbidder and long-term clients, Lyndon and Sharon Kubeil, Laurana, Violet Town.
The 18.9-micron ram ranked in the top 5 per cent for the breed's Dual Purpose Plus (DP+) index of 194, Number of Lambs Weaned (NLW) at 14 and Yearling Weight (YWT) 11.6, as well as recorded positive Yearling Fat (YFAT) and Yearling Eye Muscle (YEMD) at 0.8 (top 20pc) and 2.1 (top 10pc), respectively.
The twin-born ram ranked in the breed's top 10pc for Post Weaning Weight (PWWT) of 7.5, which Mr Clark said was a major factor to his pursuance of the ram.
"He has extreme growth, terrific carcase and has really great wool type," he said.
"Toland's rams have that early growth and are quick maturing."
It was Mr Clark's second year as a Toland client, enticed back by the high growth rates of his first drop of Toland-blood lambs, which were joined at eight-months-old, averaging 60 kilograms and scanned-in-lamb at 80pc.
The second top-priced ram was Lot 53 at $7500, bought via AuctionsPlus bid by Todd Whillock, Clovernook Poll Merino stud, Walcha, NSW.
The 17-micron ram ranked in the top 5pc for DP+ of 198, NLW at 14, and in the 20pc for YWT of 9.0 and PWWT of 6.1.
Two rams sold to $7000, including Lot 69, bought by S & A Edwards, Euroa, and Lot 77, to Cashel Pastoral, Upotipotpon.
Volume buyers Sleigh Pastoral Co, Ruffy, purchased 11 rams in total to a high of $6500, and a $3136 average.
The Sleigh family's highest-priced ram was Lot 10, a ram with outstanding figures in the top 5pc, with a DP+ of 200 and NLW at 16, and ranked in the top 10pc for PWWT of 7.5 and YWT of 10.3.
Long-term client, Mr Kubeil didn't go home empty handed, snapping up Lot 5 and 22 at $6000 and $3000, respectively.
Toland Merino stud co-principal Anna Toland said she was happy with the evenness of the sale team and the positive feedback from clients.
"We have clients that have been returning to purchase Toland genetics for over 15 years," Ms Toland said.
"This certainly cements that we are on the right track breeding rams fit for every operation.
"The figures are backing this up and with over 90pc of our clients buying on figures we will continue to focus on breeding all purpose rams."
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