Monumental season for SA Merino rams
By Catherine Miller, The Stock Journal 30 Sep 2016
THE history books were re-written at many SA’s Merino and Poll Merino on-property sales this season as top prices and averages soared.
More than 70 ram sales have been held across the state in the past two months, with 16 of these enjoying averages of $2000 or more.
Commercial breeders are brimming with confidence with bales of fleece wool worth $1800-plus, lamb prices trading above $6/kg, and a golden era for surplus breeding ewe prices.
Both Elders and Landmark stud stock managers Tony Wetherall and Gordon Wood say the season’s results have far exceeded their expectations, after good lifts in average in 2014 and 2015.
The number of Merino rams still for sale is also far less than previous years.
Mr Wetherall estimates at least half of the sales have seen averages lifted.
“In the 1980s, wool was driving the market,” he said.
“But this time, the confidence within the Merino industry is for both meat and wool.
“It is sky high and will continue to be.
“The returns with Merinos are right up there with cropping and some top operators are even in front.”
It was evident buyers were looking for dual-purpose animals with quick early growth, good carcase and structure, but particularly wool cut.
“They are really looking to put more wool back on their sheep,” Mr Wetherall said.
“The heavy cutting studs benefited from increased competition in Adelaide.”
Mr Wood said it was the “most exciting” year he had seen in his decade in stud stock.
“All the stars have aligned – lambs are good, mutton is good, wool is good and the season is good so the future is looking very bright for the Merino industry in Australia,” he said.
Many breeders had also made the decision to increase their self-replacing flocks and mate more older ewes to Merinos rather than prime lamb sires.
“There is a large lamb industry in Australia with the second-cross ewe, but you need a first-cross mother first,” he said.
Stud breeders had also “lifted their sights” in 2016 to secure top notch genetics.
SA Merino and Poll Merino on-property sales highlights:
Highest 2016 SA Merino and Poll Merino on-property sales averages
1. Glenville: $3,024
2. Moorundie: $2,912
3. Leahcim: $2,733
4. Old Ashrose: $2,578
5. Greenfields: $2,481
6. Glenlea Park: $2,467
7. White River: $2,391
8. Kiandra: $2,360
9. Minta: $2,287
10. Nyowee: $2,192
Top 2016 SA Merino and Poll Merino on-property sales prices
1. Glenlea Park: $33,000
2. Collinsville: $32,000
3. Glenville: $23,000
4. Moorundie: $18,000
5. Minta: $16,500