$9600 record for Moojepin

Kate PollardThe West Australian

The highest growth rate ram in Australia helped set a record top of $9600 for Katanning Multi-Purpose Merino stud Moojepin at its sale last week.

It was a pleasing result for stud principal David Thompson and son Hamish, who use Australian Sheep Breeding Values to produce fast-growing, fertile, robust and high-muscled Merinos.

They also breed for fat cover and eating quality and have created a niche mutton market among Perth and Sydney consumers.

They sent their first shipment to Melbourne last week.

Across the sale catalogue, there was plenty of bidding and excitement for Moojepin genetics.

Moojepin 141692, the first pen of the sale, attracted the highest bidding.

The Poll Merino ram recorded a weaning weight of +9.7kg, the highest recorded weight for 100-day growth rate, compared with the industry average of +1.8kg.

Bidding for the ram were two Eastern States buyers and a local producer, but just like the coveted AFL premiership, the August-drop two-tooth will reside in the east.

The ram was purchased on behalf of Mark Wootton from Jigsaw Farms in Hensley, Victoria, by Beth Paganoni, a research officer at the Department of Agriculture and Food WA.

Moojepin MPM will keep a semen share and the ram's genetics will also be used in New Zealand.

Ahead of the sale, Ms Paganoni told potential buyers that Moojepin's objective measurement program showed commitment and passion to improving the productivity, viability and genetic diversity of the Merino industry.

Ms Paganoni said Mr Wootton had previously invested in WA genetics and selected the ram for his ASBVs.

Ms Paganoni, and colleagues from DAFWA's research team, had earlier spent the week measuring methane emissions from the nucleus flock at the Great Southern Agricultural Research Institute.

Joining them were two French interns at the University of WA's Ridgefield Future Farm, at West Pingelly.

Ms Paganoni said Moojepin's ram sale was a great way for research officers to see first hand what producers were looking for.

Just missing out on Moojepin 141692 was Pingelly producer Kane Page, who said it was valuable for clients to have access to that sort of performer.

"It's a tribute to Dave and Hamish to have so many rams in the top 10 per cent of growth and muscling ... and to have them for sale in Australia and at a reasonable price," he said.

Using MPM ewe bloodlines, Mr Page purchased three rams, including the second top-priced Poll, Moojepin 143090, for $4700.

Moojepin 143090 recorded above-industry averages across most traits, including weaning weight, yearling fat and yearling eye muscle depth.

Also bidding on the top ram was Ken Duxson, of Glendemar MPM stud in Marnoo, Victoria.

Buying for three clients, including two in WA, Mr Duxson purchased a team of 15 rams, including two passed-in rams, for a client in the east.

Mr Duxson praised the team of rams offered by Moojepin stud.

He said selecting rams with more fat, eye muscle and post-weaning weight figures could help producers increase lamb numbers by 25 per 100 ewes, while still taking into account structure and wool.

The sale catalogue included Poll Merino and Merino rams, with a clearance of 85 per cent at the fall of the hammer.

Three rams sold after the auction.

The top Merino, Moojepin 140293, was purchased by ER Patterson and Son of Katanning for $3100.

Landmark agent Chris Elliott said after the sale the Thompson family was passionate about their breeding program, and it was excellent to see the stud achieve good results.

Volume buyers included Cliften Grazing, of Katanning, Meyer Trading Trust, of Broomehill, Glenkeith Grazing, of Kojonup and Yarrabee Grazing, of Darkan.

Last year, Moojepin offered 100 rams, sold 75, with a top of $2800 and average price of $1136.

Moojepin Multi-Purpose Merino Sale * Breed Offered Sold Top Price Average Merino 42 38 $3100 $1165 Poll Merino 58 47 $9600 $1330 TOTAL 100 85 $9600 $1484

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