*41 of 50 Kilfeera Park rams sold to $5600, av $2551
*8 of 10 Kilfeera Park Poll rams sold to $2100, av $1438
A STUD record top price of $5600 was paid by clients of Kilfeera Park Merinos who looked at Australian Sheep Breeding Values to hit the wool market's "sweet spot".
Of the 50 rams offered for sale under the helmsman system, 41 sold for a $2551 average - a rise of $581 on last year's $1970 average.
Kilfeera Park Merino stud principal Murray McKenzie, Benalla, said a solid line up of rams attracted solid bidding throughout the sale.
"We broke last year's record for top price and it is definitely our best average, so we are very pleased," Mr McKenzie said.
"They are a very even group of rams in both size and quality."
He said the offering included 13 poll rams and 37 horned rams, with growing interest in the poll offering which had been introduced for the past five years.
Buyer of the top-priced ram at $5600 was Rose Nevinson, Cobb Run Merino Stud, Booroorban, NSW, for Lot 8, a May 2020-drop ram with a 17.6-micron fleece.
The 104-kilogram ram had a Merino Production (MP+) index of 162 and a Fibre Production (FP+) of 151, ranking him in the top 30 per cent and 20pc, respectively.
The Roseville Park 160006 (Woody) son measured 3.5 standard deviation (SD), 16.9 co-efficient of variation (CV) and comfort factor (CF) of 100pc.
The second top priced ram at the sale made $5000, which was purchased through Elders, for a NSW client, for Lot 5.
He was another horned RP Woody son, weighing 96kg, with 17.9-micron fleece and a yearling clean fleece weight (YCFW) of 18.78, MP+ of 160, FP+ 153, SD 3pc, CV 16.8pc, and CF 99.3pc.
The top poll ram was Lot 19, paid by ET Withers, Barnawartha, at $3300 for a 97kg ram, with a 19.1-micron fleece.
The ram was a KP170007 son and had figures of 2.5 SD, 13.1 CV, a CF of 99.7pc, and a YCFW of 15pc.
Volume buyer at the sale was Frederick Hill, Benalla, who purchased 11 rams to $4900, av $2890.
He was a 96kg sire, in the top 30pc for MP+ at 161 and top 20pc for FP+ at 150, with an 18.2-micron fleece and SD of 3.1, CV of 17.1, CF of 99.3pc, and YCFW of 22.
Ten rams went to JE Earl, Cavendish, av $1540, with a top of $2500 for Lot 18, a polled sire, 101kg, with a 19.4-micron fleece and SD of 2.5, CV of 13 and CF of 99.7pc.
Guest vendor Kilfeera Park Poll Merino stud's Clyde and Sue McKenzie sold eight of 10 rams offered to a top of $2100, paid b Mark Radford, Creightons Creek, for a draft average of $1438.
Of the 37 horned rams on offer, 14 were sired by 'Woody', Elders district wool manager Rex Bennett said was growing to be a super sire within the stud, injecting attractive wool qualities to the stud flock.
"RP Woody is a great sire that is leaving his mark on the Kilfeera sheep with good growth, crimpy wool that stands up to high rainfall and is an all round productive sheep," Mr Bennett said.
He said market prices were influencing the buying dynamics and decisions of clients, with more growers looking at the ASBVs for fleece data to asses true micron predictability rather than micron actuals.
With the difference of nearly 700 cents a kilogram between 20-micron (1332c/kg) and 18-micron (2095c/kg) wool at Melbourne sales this week, he said micron was an important selection criteria, alongside "make and shape".
"With the ASBV fibre diameter - a true predictability of how a ram would perform - Kilfeera were above the industry average for the majority of their offering, with many in that 18-19-micron sweet spot," he said.