Spectacular result for Willemenup

Kate MatthewsCountryman

A Gnowangerup ram sale last week raised $6800 for Katanning farmer and Liberal candidate Rick Wilson's campaign to oust O'Connor MP and National party member Tony Crook.

The 103kg stud sire was donated by the Garnett family's Willemenup Poll Merino stud to Mr Wilson's campaign.

Before the sale, Willemenup's Dick Garnett told the crowd a responsible government was needed in Canberra.

While the donation helped raise money for Mr Wilson and his profile among voters, the clear winner was the return in confidence among buyers for sheep - and not just Merinos.

Willemenup offered eight lots of 1.5-year-old and mixed aged Merino ewes, 200 Poll Merino rams and the stud's first drop of Poll Dorset rams from their Curlew Creek stud.

The result was spectacular.

The number of registered buyers doubled on last year, the top price was up by $3000, the average lifted and so did the clearance rate.

Out of 200 Poll Merino rams, only 13 were passed in and there was 100 per cent clearance of the Poll Dorsets and the Merino ewes.

The top Poll Merino was purchased by Bill Cowan, of Crichton Vale Poll Merino stud, Narembeen, with help from stud classer Ken Littlejohn.

Mr Cowan chose the sire for its constitution and wool which includes 18.4 micron, 99.7 CF, 3 SD and 16.1 CVD.

It was Mr Cowan's third ram bought from Willemenup since starting his stud four years ago.

CJ Squires and Sons, of Quairading, paid $4600 for the second top priced ram, and Heal Partners, of Three Springs, bought the third top ram for $3800.

Volume buyers in the Poll Merinos included Eticup Grazing with 27 rams and C and M Hill, of Gnowangerup, and Schilling Enterprises, of Beverley, with 14 rams each.

In the Garnett family's inaugural offering of Poll Dorsets, demand was strong - all 39 rams sold under the hammer.

It was a 104kg ram, with figures including 6.8 WWT, 9.7 PWWT, -0.4PFAT, 2.5 PEMD and 180.5 CT, purchased by Moree Grazing that reached top price.

Volume buyers, with five rams each, were Lauieville Grazing, of Tambellup, Mianelup Grazing, of Gnowangerup, and Woodford Pastoral, of Nyabing.

Prices ranged from $800 to the $1250 top for an average of $1040.

In the ewes, the average was $190 per head and ranged from $170 to $200.

The 1.5-year-old and mixed aged Merino ewes were sought after heavily by producers starting their own studs.

Clarke Rural Contractor's Preston Clarke, in conjunction with Elders and Landmark, said the sale was a great success.

"We saw a lot of new faces and interest in an outstanding line-up of rams," Mr Clarke said.

"All the regular buyers were in attendance and the sale met with stronger competition due to a couple of factors - there was a lot of depth in the sale.

"The obvious improvement in wool prices and the appearance of a stable meat market contributed, plus we've had some rain and the season is looking promising."

Willemenup stud principal Collyn Garnett was pleased with the result and said the move into Poll Dorsets was to offer clients a one-stop shop.

Willemenup ram sale * TYPE OFFERED SOLD TOP PRICE AVERAGE Poll Merino 200 187 $6800 $1293 Poll Dorset 39 39 $1250 $1039

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