Generations of breeding expertise will be showcased at the 58th Quairading Stud Sheepbreeders’ Annual Ram Sale next month, with 163 of the Wheatbelt’s finest Poll Merino, British and Australasian breed rams set to go under the hammer. Six studs run by four local families will present offerings at the September 7 sale conducted by Nutrien Livestock at the Quairading Greater Sportsground. The Quairading Stud Sheepbreeders’ Association organises the event, which gives vendors the chance to show off their best stock to buyers from far and wide. “Last year we had one of the best sales ever, with spirited bidding throughout the shed,” QSSA president and Argyle Park stud principal Brett Johnston said. “There was 100 per cent clearance of British and Australasian breeds and only 11 of the Poll Merinos passed in.” Brett said there was “a lot of local support”, with buyers also coming from Badgingarra and Southern Cross in the Wheatbelt, to Lake Grace in the Great Southern. “The sale has been going for a very long time, and there’s a lot of experience in breeding sheep amongst us,” he added. “It’s just the four families who get together and run it now, but years ago there were a lot of studs and a lot of people involved. “The sheep industry isn’t what it used to be, but it’s still an important day for us and a lot of effort goes into it each year.” Last year’s sale attracted 33 registered buyers, with Rohan and Jane Johnston’s Quairading-based Merna Poll Merino stud claiming the top price of $2400 for two of its rams. Merna will return this year with its selection of 50 Poll Merino rams, 20 White Suffolks and 10 Poll Dorsets. Glenn and Kay Cole’s York-based Sasimwa studs will offer 10 Suffolks and 25 White Suffolks, while Quairading-based Argyle Park will offer 12 Poll Merinos. All three studs owned by the Simpson family, of Quairading, will also be represented: Barby Downs with 20 White Suffolks, Pettison Park with 12 South Suffolks, and The Valley with four Hampshire Down rams. Established in 2018 by Rod Simpson, Barby Downs will be presenting for the sixth year running, while Pettison Park — established in 1961 by Mr Simpson’s father, Arnold, and formally trading as AA Simpson and Sons — has been involved in the Quairading sale for decades. “My father never was in the sales; I got involved probably in the late 1970s, when the British-Australasian breed side of the sale got going,” Rod explained. “Merinos were struggling for numbers so they invited the British breeds into the sale. “It’s extremely important to us as a commitment to the industry… making sure that the buyers get the best possible genetics.” The sale will be the first for Brigadoon-based The Valley, which Rod’s son Brendon launched last year and which is WA’s only registered Hampshire Down stud. “Being that it’s my hometown, it’s fitting that the first sale we’re attending is the Quairading sale,” Brendon said. “I’m keen to start establishing the breed more within WA, because they’re a very good eat quality sheep, and they come with a lot of scientifically-identified intramuscular fat marbling assets.” The sale is among the most important events of the year for the Cole family, who moved their Sasimwa enterprise from Bruce Rock to York in 2010, leaving behind cropping to focus on farming sheep and hay for stock. “We’ve been selling Rams at the Quairading sale for about 17 years; it’s our only sale venue for our prime lamb sires apart from on-farm selection,” Kay said. “Breeding sheep is Glenn’s passion. Our stock is all recorded starting at birth, and we have DNA for everything this year. “We’d like to thank all past and present clients for their continued support.” Merna stud principal Rohan Johnston, who was a past QSSA president for many years, said the sale complemented his family’s mixed farming operations. “We run a 70/30 cropping and sheep farm that we feel supports our enterprise through the sale of sheepmeat and wool,” he said. “Sheep utilise stubble grazing and weed control, plus provide a pasture management system that gives our soils a break through our rotational program.” Just as he learned mixed farming practices from his late father, Brian, Rohan is in turn helping with his son’s farming pursuits. “Kaiden (24) is assisting very well in running the Merna studs, both Poll Merino and British breeds, and is enjoying the cropping side as well,” Rohan said. Rams will be penned from 10am, with selling set to start at 1pm.