*86 of 113 rams sold to $5000, av $1724
A REPEAT buyer from Western Australia proved Gemini White Suffolk rams are worth the extra kilometres when they paid the top price on Wednesday.
Warren Thomson, Hedingham White Suffolk stud, Wickepin, WA, was the top-price purchaser for the second spring Gemini sale in a row when he paid $5000 for Lot 3.
G210215 was a June 2021-drop sire with weaning weight (WWT), post-weaning weight (PWWT) and Terminal Carcase Production (TCP) index Australian Sheep Breeding Values in the top 5 per cent.
It was by Farrer 190001, a ram Gemini purchased in 2020 for $14,500.
The Thomsons also purchased the second-highest-priced ram in Lot 9, G210134, a triplet son of Anden 190083, with a TCP in the top 5pc at 157.57, and PWWT in the top 5pc at 20.32.
Both rams were purchased online.
Mr Thomson said it was the sheer performance of the ram they purchased from Gemini in 2021 that had them returning to stud for more sires.
"The [ram] we purchased last year is as good a ram as I've ever seen and what he is producing is at the top," he said.
"[The lambs'] are really long and they have the figures... [we'll] probably end up using some of them ourselves this year."
He said he was confident purchasing online after seeing extensive videos.
"The ram bought this year is a very similar type, with a slightly smaller BWT, a structurally-sound ram, with good growth rate and good post-weaning eye muscle depth (PEMD)," he said.
"We select sheep with plenty of length, really like sheep that are well structured - to find sheep that are in the 20s for PWWT and 3 for PEMD, there are not a lot about - but the two we got this year are both up there.
"The second one was not as long and tall of a ram but has a lot of meat on him, it's a solid, meaty sheep."
Gemini stud principal Craig Mitchell said the top-priced ram had been used heavily in the stud as a ram lamb.
"It had good phenotype and genotype, excellent performance data and was a very correct sheep, a good White Suffolk type with all the commercial attributes you are looking for as well," he said.
"I was really happy with the line up of rams across the sale, they presented well with structure and carcase quality, backed by some of the best performance figures in the industry."
Mr Mitchell said both new and return clients supported the sale, with long-time regulars playing an important role.
Also going to stud duties was Lot 7, G 210018, picked up by Annette Shoefield, Gaerloc stud, Tallangatta Valley, for $3800.
Her first time purchasing from Gemini - and first time operating through AuctionsPlus - Ms Shoefield selected a ram which was also by Farrer190001, with a PEMD and TCP in the top 10pc, as well as BWT, PWWT and post-weaning fat depth in the top 20pc.
"This ram took my eye in the video... I liked his muscling and good clean head," she said.
"I have been watching Craig's sheep over the years and they are a style of sheep I like and similar to what I breed."
The sale saw 86 of the 113 White Suffolks offered sold to average $1724, slightly below the last spring sale.
Of the 12 specially-selected rams, 11 sold to average $2727.
Ray White GTSM auctioneer James Brown said the average was impressive, with solid local demand and WA interest on the selected sires.
"Craig's got a very good program with great data behind his sheep, obviously people selected on data as well as phenotype and the reputation of the Gemini flock keeps bringing people back," he said.
"Generally, all over the state while we have seen a reduction on the high of the lamb and mutton prices it is still historically very good and confidence has been proven in sales across the board with solid results right through."
Plenty of producers purchased in bulk, including Turkeith Homestead, Birregurra, picking up eight rams to a top price of $2000.
After purchasing eight rams last year, Mondilibi Pastoral, Mortlake, was back for another six, paying a top price of $1600.
Gordon Brown, Shelburn, Shelford, has been a long-time supporter of Gemini and operated at the top end, selecting six rams, four of which were between $2400 and $2700.
Also picking up six rams was Wishart Partnership, Inverleigh, topping at $1200, while A&R Everett, Dereel, paid to $2000 for their seven White Suffolks.
James Hepburn, Bryarah Pty Ltd, Moriac, has been purchasing from Gemini for close to 30 years and picked up four rams at the sale.
Mr Hepburn said longevity and data reliance were what kept him coming back.
"The data on Craig's rams is spot on - I buy rams because I know his data is accurate and the quality comes through into our lambs," he said.
Mr Hepburn joins his White Suffolk rams to crossbred and Highlander-cross ewes, turning off about half his lambs as suckers and growing out the other half.