*84 of 100 rams sold to $13,000, av $2489
*111 of 111 ewes sold to $5600, av $2381
The final dispersal of their 2021-drop ewes and rams was a "bittersweet moment" for Branxholme Waratah White Suffolk breeders Steve and Debbie Milne.
Rams topped at $13,000 a head and ewes at $5600 as buyers from four states competed in person and online.
This sale followed the dispersal of the stud's mated ewes in April this year which saw an Australian White Suffolk ewe record top of $8000.
"That's a wrap as they say - we've been blown away," Mr Milne said.
"We've put our heart and soul into the stud, but we had to finish up and we have done it on our terms and it's been quite successful.
"The ram prices were somewhere around the past few years but we offered a few more and passed some in so the number sold was similar."
Mr Milne said there was a core group of four or five buyers who had bought rams from the beginning and bought again at the final sale.
"We are proud of what we have done on a small property, but we will still be involved in the industry through our sheep genetics consultancy," Mrs Milne said.
The top-priced ram which made $13,000 was Lot 6, a June 2021-drop ram by Langley Heights 170497.
The ram had a post-weaning eye muscle depth of 3.4 millimetres, a lamb eating quality index of 166.7 and terminal carcase production index of 165.6.
The buyer was Rod Marshall who runs a property near Mount William, and has bought rams from Waratah since the late 1990s.
"I've been very happy with their genetics," Mr Marshall said.
"I don't like long-legged sheep, I like sheep with a lot of meat, a good back end, not too broad in the shoulders and fast maturing."
He said the ram would be used over a selected group of first-cross Merino/White Suffolk ewes for a second-cross lamb.
He also runs a White Suffolk ewe flock with about 70 to 80 selected for the new ram to breed a small number of ram lambs for sale.
"It will leave a gap," Mr Marshall said.
"I have been looking around and so far haven't found a replacement stud."
Lot 2 of the sale, a June 2021-drop ram sired by Felix 191175, sold for $12,000 to South Australian-based breeders Seriston White Suffolks and AD & TM Frick, Padthaway, SA.
The ram had a PEMD of 3.3mm, LEQ of 159.5 and TCP of 155.5.
The top-priced ewe was Lot 18, a June 2021-drop ewe, Waratah 200596, bought with an online bid by the Depta Grove, Japarit.
The ewe was a twin with a PEMD of 3.7, LEQ of 153.6 and TCP of 150.2.
One of the volume buyers of ewes was Ned Nagorcka, Hawkesdale, who said he planned to use the ewes as a foundation of his soon-to-be-registered White Suffolk stud, Nedelle Downs.
He said he liked the figures and the type of sheep at Waratah.
"They are smaller-framed sheep, easier to run and quicker to finish," he said.
Mr Nagorcka said Mr Milne was going to mentor him in his transition to a stud.
Mr Nagorcka bought 22 ewes including Lot 165 for $5200 and Lot 137 at $5000.
Stormy Lodge Pty Ltd, Marrar, NSW, was active online and paid up to $3200 for 12 ewes.
Operating online from Armidale, NSW, was Hamish Chandler, who bought 10 ewes to a top price of $2200.
Other volume buyers included an online bidder KK & SD Gann, Crookwell, NSW, who purchased nine ewes to a top of $2200.
Yalumba Farming purchased four rams and 10 ewes.
Top of the rams was Lot 11 at $4500 for Waratah 200596 which had an LEQ of 160 and TCP of 154.7
The ewe portion was topped by lot 115 at $2400.
The Milnes also offered their influential sire, Waratah 190323, which sold for $5500 to Ian and Sarah James, Iona White Suffolks, Casterton.
J & J Forsyth bought 15 rams, MW & JF Osborne bought 10 ewes and Salamanca Trading purchased eight rams.
LMB Livestock and Land director Bernie Grant said the company had been involved with the Waratah sale for many years.
He said the Milnes wanted to breed sheep that suited the south-west region of the state.
"They were looking at performance and they wanted to get carcase, growth - what they have bred is a very industry relevant article," he said.
"They have also concentrated on the eating quality of the product.
"They have differentiated themselves and that's why they have a following from commercial ram buyers."
Mr Grant said there would be a hole for that type of sheep that would take time to fill.
Mr Milne thanked all those who had supported the stud since 1997.
He said one buyer in particular, Philip Gough, had been involved from the start.
"He gave us feedback that has driven our breeding program since that time," he said.
"He's been a great supporter and the stud would not exist without Philip's father Jim," Mr Milne said.