New benchmarks set as confidence soars

Auctioneers knocking down rams for big bucks


Ram buyers bidding up big, as confidence in the sheep industry soars.


If you thought last year's ram selling season was big, well, this one is bigger.

New industry benchmarks are being set with ram buyers bidding up big as confidence in the sheep industry soars.

On Monday Valma Poll Dorset stud in Tasmania set a new world record for the breed knocking down a ram for $41,000 to Kinellar Poll Dorset stud, Canowindra, NSW, and Gooramma Poll Dorsets, Galong, NSW.

All 18 stud rams offered sold to an average of $9038.

And on Tuesday at Collinsville Merino stud South Australia, 22 specially selected rams topped at $88,000, averaged $16,318 while 228 flock rams topped at $14,000 and averaged $2611.

This was the highest price paid for a ram in Australia this year and was secured by NSW's Lach River and Westray Merino studs.

But these are just two examples. Ram sales around the country in every breed are breaking records, whether it be their own, national or world - new averages are being set and new top prices are being realised.

And according to industry specialists it's all off the back off increased confidence in the agricultural sector, which, they said, may only be the start of things to come.

Elders stud stock and sheep specialist Scott Thrift said some of the rush on rams can be attributed to people holding off buying rams for the last couple of years, but now, he said, they are "cashed up".

"People are cashed up after selling stock, wool prices are relatively steady and the potential of another good crop coming in are all playing a role in the results we are seeing at ram sales," Mr Thrift said.

"But there is confidence through the entire agricultural industry.

"We have never seen prices like this in our lifetime, in the the 30-odd years I have been in the industry, I have never seen prices like this.

"And if all the borders were open, what sort of territory would our stud sales be in then? They could have been a lot dearer again."

In an attempt to put a cap on rising averages from the previous year, Mr Thrift said some stud owners are offering more rams, but the demand has been so strong that averages are in fact increasing.

"As an example, the Ruby family of Lachlan Merinos at Forbes offered an additional 20 rams in the sale to try and pull the average back, but they averaged $600 more and sold another 70 rams after the sale," Mr Thrift said.

"New Armatree Border Leicesters nearly doubled their results the previous year with additional rams offered, topping at $8000 and averaging $4818.

"And Haddon Rig averaged over $3100 for 330 rams and that was with an additional 100 rams offered in the sale."

Matthew Coddington of Roseville Park Merinos, Dubbo, said last week's Merino ram sale was their best in history.

Matthew Coddington of Roseville Park said the industry looks incredibly positive, for the the foreseeable future anyway.

Matthew Coddington of Roseville Park said the industry looks incredibly positive, for the the foreseeable future anyway.

All 235 rams offered sold to a top of $22,000 to average $3817.

And that's with an extra 25 rams added to the sale from the previous year.

His top-price ram went to Malleebee Merino stud in Western Australia, with rams sold to all states except the Northern Territory from 84 different purchasers.

And although the online selling system is a great platform especially during the COVID affected season, he too admitted there is an element of "what if" in the prices that are being knocked down.

"The prices are good, but they could be amazing," Mr Coddington said.

"If buyers could get in the car, see the sheep, feel the sheep.....even with the amount of information we are providing them online."


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He said the main driver is the supply and demand after the debilitating drought.

"For me, I have had clients that are rebuilding, building up numbers, some have purchased extra country and are running more sheep. Some have gone from cropping and cattle to back into sheep," he said.

The biggest trends, Mr Coddington said, was the demand for under 19-micron wool, fat and muscle, white wools and sound feet.

"They wanted fat and muscle for lamb survivability and white wool that can handle rain and good feet that can handle wet conditions," he said.

Mr Thrift said he can't see the tone changing for the rest of the selling season.

"It is exciting times in the industry considering the current status. It is really only the rural industry that is keeping the country afloat at the moment," he said.

"It's been a long time since the bush has kept the rest of the country going."

Mr Coddington said the industry looks incredibly positive, for the the foreseeable future anyway.

"They are predicting above-average rainfall for the next three-months," Mr Coddington said.

"I think there is going to be a heap of feed about and people will be able to put away a bit of grain and hay, and prepare for dryer conditions, or run more stock.

"I think, after the last drought, people won't be selling stock like they were - they will do more confinement feeding because they don't want to look at buying in at $400 per head again.

"Supply and demand is still there - we are going to need more meat, we are going to need more grain, and the wool market is travelling along pretty well because online sales and the European market is starting to pick up."

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