Bundara Downs continues to find new levels

(Thanks to the following –  Photos and some sale information courtesy of Cath Miller from Stock Journal – sale details from Laura at Elders Keith)

The Funke family, Bundara Downs White Suffolk, Poll Dorset and Suffolk studs based at Western Flat south of Bordertown, again presented a large offering of over 350 rams for buyer competition on Friday 13th September at their 23rd annual Spring production sale.

Recognised widely for their high Lambplan performance levels, the Funke family took that reputation even higher this year with a terrific presentation of prime lamb industry sires showing outstanding phenotype right through to the very end of the large catalogue.

In the sale introduction to the buying gallery, Elders joint auctioneer Laryn Gogel said, “You commercial guys may think the show ring is a different world but where they (the Funke family) have performed exceptionally well is their performance in the Lambplan classes, which is what it is all about in the commercial world.

That reference was in relation to the outstanding achievement by Bundara Downs at this year’s Adelaide Royal Show, following on from earlier success at the Hamilton Sheepvention. In the Interbreed Lambplan Trade Pair of Rams class at Adelaide, Bundara Downs won the right to have 10 of the possible 12 rams from their three breeds on the judging floor, with both pairs in the White Suffolk and the Poll Dorsets and one of the two Suffolk pairs. Ultimately, they gained both first and second in this important class with their two White Suffolk pairs. Away from the Lambplan classes they also won the Interbreed Pen of 3 Rams class with White Suffolks, plus Senior Champion White Suffolk ram, which was sold at the RAS Elite Sale for $6000 to Tom Munro, Taronga Park stud, Hynam.

Theses achievements no doubt stimulated the very strong competition at the top end of the White Suffolk offering that commenced the sale. Ultimately though, the Funke family’s philosophy of ensuring all buyers are catered for with quality rams at value, saw a scenario where there was not enough buyers to absorb all of the very large offering.

198 of 234 White Suffolks sold to a $5700 top and averaged $1472 and 65 of 99 Poll Dorsets sold to the overall sale top of $6200, averaging $1566, while the final offering of 20 Suffolks saw only five clear at auction to a top of $1000 and average $960.

Buyers chased high performance rams with a combination of growth, muscle and eating quality, particularly in the first third of the sale, which resulted in a lift in the overall sale average by more than $120, but the clearance was back on last year’s very strong result.

In summarizing, Laryn Gogel said, “The stud has continued to challenge us with the numbers it offers, but the number of commercial industry ewes, even in the south is not growing, which was reflected in the numbers of rams sold today.”

The $6200 top priced ram was the first Poll Dorset ram offered, coming in at lot 237 after the completion of the large White Suffolk catalogue.

Buying through PPH & S, Kathy Simons, representing her family’s Pembroke Pastoral Co, Telangatuk East, Vic was the successful bidder for BD 181634. This ram was in the stud’s winning Poll Dorset pairs and on the floor for the interbreed Lambplan Trade class, plus was in Bundara Downs’s winning interbreed Lambplan group at Hamilton Sheepvention in August.

The eye-appealing April 2018 drop ram and son of Hillcroft Farms 130156 displayed plenty of power and capacity, plus was a trait leader for muscle and lamb eating quality. It was 152.96 on the new Lambplan Terminal Carcase Production (TCP) index.

“We were chasing the TCP figure, but the sheep itself was also a standout; it is a big, long ram with meat where you need it,” Kathy Simons said.

At the top end of the Poll Dorsets, stud rams also went to John Pepper, Pepper Partnership, Murndown stud, buying through Kerr & Co, Hamilton at $4200 and $2000, plus the Lush family, Corriedale Hills stud, through Landmark Strathalbyn for $3000.

While the entire draft of 65 Poll Dorsets that sold averaged $1566, the six listed as studs averaged $2900, 10 specially selected rams averaged $2020 and 49 flock rams averaged $1310.

It was the White Suffolk offering that commenced the sale and like most sales, there was a mix of anticipation and caution at the start. The first two rams offered were in the Adelaide Lambplan prize winning pairs and went to Feder Farming through DMD Nhill, and the Button family, Ramsay Park stud, Minlaton for just $2200 and $3200 respectively.

It was Ramsay Park’s only purchase while Feder Farming purchased six top rams at a $2067 average, including the important lot 19 ram.

After the family was a recipient of the vital services the Royal Flying Doctor Service offers 16 years ago, Steve, Ros, Greg and Selena Funke have donated the proceeds of their lot 19 ram to the Royal Flying Doctor Service. This year that ram sold for $2000, taking the total proceeds the Funkes have donated to $27,120 over the last 16 years.

The five White Suffolks catalogued as studs averaged just $2440, followed by the 10 specially selected rams which averaged $2680.

While 33 of the first 40 lots made $2000 or better, it was not until the last two of the specially selected lots were offered that the higher priced bidders emerged.

The Goerling family, Lukin Springs stud, Boyup Brook, WA selected BD 182707 at lot 15 for $4000, this being a son of Woolumbool 173980, a ram that Bundara Downs purchased a half share in as a four month old lamb in early 2018, it being a trait leader for Lamb Eating Quality (LEQ).

The following lot, BD 182542, another son of Woolumbool 173980 went for $5600 to Gary Hill, Hills stud, Stawell, Vic, bidding via the Auctions Plus network interfaced into the sale.

Besides the 56 registered bidders from at the sale complex, 38 individuals were logged on to the sale through Auctions Plus. Ultimately buyers from 4 states were successful in their bidding.

It was another of the Auctions Plus bidders, Robert and Paula Gray, Gray Glen stud, Goolagong, NSW who was ultimately the purchaser of the top priced White Suffolk when they bid $5700 for BD182531, well into the catalogue at lot 89. Besides very good phenotype, it had EBVs of 11.3 for Weaning weight, 17.3 for Post weaning weight, 0.5 for Pfat, and 3.4 for eye muscle, culminating in a CPT index of 158.8 and 225 on the Carcase Plus index which it is replacing in the Lambplan system.

Top White Suffolk: Elders Bordertown’s Wade Broadstock, Bundara Downs’ Steve Funke and Auctions Plus market operator, commercial operations Hamish Cooke with the $5700 top priced White Suffolk ram purchased via Auctions Plus by the Gray Glen stud, Goolagong, NSW at lot 89.

The Grays went even deeper into the catalogue at lot 195 to outlay $3500 for a second ram for their stud, BD 182519 with a TCP index of 161.4, the second highest in the entire catalogue. Both the Gray Glen purchases were also Woolumbool 183980 sons.

With sales like this so deep into the catalogue, it gives a strong indication of the depth of quality on offer in this sale.

The only ram with a higher CPT index was another son of W183980, BD182752 that sold to KR & LG Krause, through Spence Dix & Co for a relative bargain of just $1400, one of 2 rams they purchased, both at that price.

Geoff and Sandy Crabb, Pedaga White Suffolks, Dandaragan, WA paid $3000 for lot 104 while TJ & KA Pietsch, through Spence Dix & Co, Bordertown also paid $3000 and averaged $2900 for two select top rams to be the other higher end buyers of White Suffolks.

There were 25 sons of Woolumbool 183980 in the catalogue, with a vast majority of the highest figured rams being his sons. Consequently, they were highly sought out by the buyers seeking top end figures, with these averaging $2208, 50% above the average for the White Suffolk draft.

There was no-one more important and influential on the sale’s overall result than Leon and Tim Schwarz, Muston Creek, Curramut and buying through Landmark Hamilton. They have been big volume buyers ever since they started buying at Bundara Downs 11 years ago. This year they purchased 25 White Suffolks, paying to $2300 and averaging $1472, then added 20 Poll Dorsets to $2000 and at a $1475 average. Their overall average for the 45 rams was $1473. This was $78 up on their average last year for 39 rams.

Ben Stark, Stark Grazing and buying through Elders Naracoorte was another very prominent repeat buyer in the Poll Dorset draft, selecting 16 rams to $2200 and averaging $1519.

HK Goodall Nominees, through Elders Coonalpyn was prominent in volume buying with 14 White Suffolks, paying to $1300 and averaging an extreme value $1000.

Karwin Nominees Pty Ltd through Spence Dix & Co, Meningie went to $2100 and averaged $1500 in purchasing 15 White Suffolks, while RG & R Legoe through Elders Lucindale was the only other buyer to purchase double figures with 10 White Suffolks to $1500 and at a $1220 average.

In the Suffolk offering at the end of the sale only five of the 20 rams sold, despite their quality. The Stopp Family Trust, Keith paid to $1000 twice in their tally of 3 rams, while PT Excell, through Spence Dix & Co, Bordertown also grabbed two at $1000 each. The five Suffolks averaged $960.

Other prominent buyers included; Gumlee Park through Westech Ag, Kaniva (nine White Suffolks to $2200 ave $1878); Kennett Farms, through SD & Co, Bordertown (nine White Suffolks to $1200 ave $1056); Hyfield Pastoral through Platinum (eight Poll Dorsets to $2000 ave $1513); Scotglade Pastoral, through SD & Co Bordertown (eight White Suffolks to $1300 ave $1225, including several by W183980); A & P Schubert, through PPH & S Naracoorte (seven White Suffolks to $2400 and ave $2171); and Kinyerrie Partners through Elders Keith (five White Suffolks to $2800 and ave $2240).

Senior principal Steve Funke said the family was very pleased with the result and especially the depth of strong bidding on the White Suffolks.

“While we were very happy there, the Poll Dorsets and Suffolks are a work in progress, but we will continue to offer larger numbers of rams in all three breeds to give our clients plenty of choice and value for money,” Steve said.

While some may wonder why the Funke family would bother with the difficulties of running three breeds rather than concentrate on one, the reasoning is fairly easily explained when looking at the buying list. Of the 47 successful bidders, only two purchased in more than one breed; the volume buer, Muston Pastoral Co and Deepwater Trust through PPH & S Naracoorte, with four White Suffolks and two Poll Dorsets, their six averaging $1833.

Elders Bordertown were the conducting agents with Laryn Gogel and Ronnie Dix sharing auctioneering duties.

Top White Suffolk: Elders Bordertown’s Wade Broadstock, Bundara Downs’ Steve Funke and Auctions Plus market operator, commercial operations Hamish Cooke with the $5700 top priced White Suffolk ram purchased via Auctions Plus by the Gray Glen stud, Goolagong, NSW at lot 89.

RFDS Charity ram: Steve Funke, Bundara Downs, Western Flat, discusses the lot 19 ram, which the stud donated the proceeds from to the RFDS, with Bordertown sub-branch member Rex Staude. Over the years Bundara Downs has donated $27,120 to the RFDS.

Suffolks: Platinum Livestock’s Simon Rosenzweig and clients Sam and Brian Stopp, Stopp Family Trust, Keith, bought both these two Suffolk rams for the equal sale top of $1000 for Suffolk rams. They are being held by Suzanne and Steve Funke.