Challara hits a top of $4800
Prices began high at Challara Poll Merino stud, Badgingarra, with the annual ram sale netting the stud’s highest on-farm top price of $4800 within minutes.
Overall, the sale conducted by Australian Wool Network, offered 120 rams and sold 93 for an average price of $1469, up $347/head on last year when 100 rams sold for an average price of $1122.
This year’s top, Challara 2184 was also a notable $1600 lift on last year’s top price of $3200.
The ram — lot three — was one of 10 rams snapped up by South Australian sheep classer Bill Walker on behalf of Gary and Chase Ferguson of Concord Poll Merino Stud.
Challara 2184 recorded Australian Sheep Breeding Values of 7.3 PWWT, 9.3 YWT, 0.4 YFAT, 21.9 YCFW, -14.5 WFEC and a 155.1 Merino DP+ index.
Mr Walker said the father and son team were looking to build up their new stud in Tintinara, South Australia.
As Challara’s sheep classer, Mr Walker said he knew there would be “good rams on offer” which were “no nonsense and no frills”.
“We were after Challara’s structure, crimp, clean features, easy-care, mulesing addressing and six-month shearing-capable sheep,” he said.
“The sheep are easy-care. I was here to find a multifaceted animal that can cater for all of those things.
“Challara deserves more recognition — they produce a great animal and their ASBVs are very good.”
It was Mr Walker’s second time attending the Challara sale after making the trip over in 2019.
He also bought rams for two NSW stations — four for Aston in Pooncarie, and six for Nettalie in Wilcannia, for a respective average of $1680 and $1875.
Describing the prices as “too realistic”, Mr Walker said he was looking for “quality rams”.
The praise was a nod to quality genetics bred by Challara principals Peter and Ron Wilkinson, who aim to breed productive rams that are easy to manage in a commercial setting.
Their large-framed, plain bodied animals carry good muscle and stylish, long white wool.
Peter said he was pleased Mr Walker had made the 2800km journey from Murray Bridge in South Australia to Badgingarra for the sale.
“We were up on last year, there is a lot of strength in the sheep market,” he said.
“Bill gets around at least three to four States that I know of in Australia, classing up to 80,000 sheep a year. He has a lot of knowledge.
“This is the first time he has been able to come over and see our sheep all year, the COVID border closures definitely has had an effect.
“Our wool quality is a strength, the rams are dual purpose, getting lambs away quicker to market, lambing percentage and fertility. ”
A total 21 registered bidders from across WA converged at the sale, with rams selling to South Australia, New South Wales, and WA buyers.’’
WA’s border closures may have deterred some potential buyers, with some regular Eastern States clients unable to make the sale.
But those that did brave the elements and make it to the Badgingarra stud were rewarded with a solid selection of rams.
AWN auctioneer Jay Mcdonald opened the sale with a strong message to buyers — “you can bid with extreme confidence here” — with the first lot selling for $2000.
Volume buyer Andrew Kenny, of Rubicon Trust, at Badgingarra, put his hand up for that one, and the second, after attending the sale for about 15 years.
Mr Kenny secured a total of 14 rams for an average price of $1529, after buying 14 rams for $972 last year.
“We like the stock, they are locally-bred and good for our environment, with good fertility and easy care,” he said.
“We normally buy a trailer-load, so 14 just fit on a trailer if the wool is not too long. The rams had a 15-minute journey home and will be put to use on February 1, when we join. They will have a few months on green feed and shear in a few weeks.”
AWN manager Greg Tilbrook said the sale was well-supported, with the “noticeable multiple bids on really good rams” creating the average.
“Anyone that bought rams would be very happy. There were a few new buyers, but the bulk were repeat buyers,” he said.
“Buyers were bidding for frame, dual-purpose index, whiteness of the wool, staple length, and fleece weight. These rams tick the boxes for meat and wool.”
AWN stock agent Greg Wootton said the sale was a good result, with buyers commenting on the quality of the sheep and the consistency.
“The main selling points for Challara are the free, easy-growing wool, which is deep crimping and soft, and their fertility and early growth.”
Under the hammer results
Average price: $1469
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