On the back of an improved season from last year, a big crowd gathered at Jesse and Courtney Hull’s Minta Poll Merino and Merino ram sale at Mt Cooper last Thursday.
They obviously liked the quality on offer, with 47 registered bidders putting their names down to compete, which was 11 more than last year.
And compete they did, with 128 rams of the 136 on offer selling to a $7000 top, achieved twice and average $2130. That average was up $403, the top price up $1000, along with 20 more rams clearing at auction in comparison with last year.
The quality of the line-up of 103 Poll Merinos and 33 Merinos was high, with dual purpose traits for both wool and addis evident throughout. The offering included the first progeny of two Greenfields Poll Merinos purchased at Adelaide in partnership for $36,000 and $20,000 in 2017, plus Moorundie PB388 (semen share) the $52,000 top priced ram at that same sale. The commitment of the Hulls is unquestioned, having just outlaid $35,000 for another Moorundie ram at the recent Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show.
The heat was on from the very start of the sale, with lot 1, M180558 quickly knocked down to Peter and James Russell, Derrington and Russell, Coomunga, via Pt Lincoln for $5500.
Buyer of the top priced ram for the last three years, Clint Rayner, Millbrae stud, Kimba then used the oldest trick in the book by placing an opening bid of $6000 on the 103kg and 19.7 micron M180088, which scared off all other potential bidders. This was the same price he bid last year to secure the top priced ram.
However, it was lots 3 and 4 that shared the top priced honours this year, both being knocked down at $7000.
M180919 and sired by Collinsville Emperor 399 was knocked down to Derrington & Russell, while the next ram, M180047, sired by Greenfields 79 ($36,000) went to Nigel and Debbie May, Elliston; both buying accounts through Quality Livestock.
Both rams had very similar wool figures, with M180919 being 20.2 mic, 3 SD, 14.7 CV and 99.2 CF and M180047 being 19.7 mic, 2.9 SD, 15 CV and 99.2 CF. The latter ram was a little heavier (113kg to 100kg), measured 1.7mm more eye muscle (42.9 to 41.2) and 2.3mm more fat cover (6.5 to 4.2) than the lot 3 ram.
James Russell said they came to Minta for the first time on the advice of their agent and liked what they saw.
“We initially picked out the lot 1 ram but felt both rams ticked all the dual purpose boxes we are looking for.”
He explained they select a top ram every couple of years to breed their own flock ram requirements to go over their 3000 ewes.
“As a family, we’ve been doing that successfully since Grandpa did way back in the 1930s,” James added.
Nigel and Debbie May have traditionally purchased horned rams in the past but have “moved with the times”.
“There has been far more genetic advancement in Polls in recent times, so there are now more top progeny available,” Nigel May said.
“We liked the all-round attributes of the lot 4 ram; he’s just a big balanced, uncomplicated and productive ram,” he added.
The Mays didn’t abandon the horned options altogether as their second purchase of the day was the first Merino offered, M180544 for $4500, the equal high for horned rams.
Elders Streaky Bay based agent Paul Kilby chimed in on the second Merino, also at $4500 for Les Pearson, Kooran View Pastoral, Wirrulla.
Strong bidders throughout the sale were Geoff, Leroy and Rohan Hull, GV Hull Nominees, Pt Kenny. With 11 rams (nine Polls and two Horns) they were the biggest volume buyers, paying to a top of $5800 and averaging $3164.
Simon Guerin, Courtabie Pastoral, Pt Kenny was the only other double figure purchaser, successfully bidding on eight Polls and two Horns, paying to $1600 and averaging a great value $940.
Tim Hollitt, Hollitt Pastoral, Streaky Bay paid to $2000 and averaged $1129 for three Polls and four Merinos, while Roger and Gayle Rowe and Tobias and Emilie Craig, Rowe Craig P/L, who farm at Chilpunda also purchased seven Poll rams, going to $1600 and averaging $1243.
All four of these top volume buyers purchased through Quality Livestock.
Other prominent buyers included Shane Trowbridge, Santrow Pastoral, Ceduna through EPL (six rams to $4200 ave $2867); Matt and Damian Carey, RA & EM Carey, Chandada, through QL (six rams to $3000 and ave $1817); Peter Roe, PW & NM Roe, Streaky Bay through EPL (five rams to $4500 and ave $3100); and Myles Tomney, MP & KM Tomney, Streaky Bay through QL (five rams to $4500 and ave $2680).
Each year Minta donates the proceeds of one of its rams to the Royal Flying Doctor Service, this year being lot 77. It made $2800, going to Las Ranges Enterprises, Minnipa, buying through Landmark Wudinna.
For the vendors, Jesse Hull said in his usual understated way, “Yeah, we’re pretty happy with that.”
“We were proud of the offering we were able to put up and I think most people today were able to get what they were looking for. Naturally we are very thankful to all the bidders for their support.”