Merino ram sales have exceeded many expectations this spring selling season with most on property ram sales lifting on last year. Sale highlights include of a top of $81,000 at the annual Willandra ram sale, a sell out at the Yarrawonga sale and the Adelaide ram sale averaging $8,997 with a top of $38,000 for a Moorundie ram, followed closely by White River at $37,000. At the Adelaide sale 78 rams sold out of 89 offered. And it is not only the rams that are popular, young Merino ewes sold to a top of $235 last week at the Hay, NSW sale with other lines also hitting the $200 mark.
For the first time in Australian history, and with figures now compiled for 2014, Australian Poll Merino rams outsold Merino rams. The “all purpose” flexibility of the Australian Merino is now being better understood and showing the benefits of quality and quantity of wool fibre with meat characteristics that rival some meat breeds, particularly in traits such as eye muscle depth. With greater emphasis on fat traits and fertility the female progeny offer an improved maternal /replacement ewe for the flock.
The challenge is to ensure that the unique Australian Merino fleece qualities and quantity of cut are not compromised with the efforts to provide an all-rounder for the sheep industry. Some of the earlier efforts at increasing the poll merino genetics proved this to be a challenge which has been met with strong measures to keep improving this fleece performance.
Ross Wells with Will008xGP - Photo taken at Sheepvention 2015 by Marion Gibbins