Lewisdale returns with $4100 top

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Bob GarnantCountryman
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“Back in the game” was what Lewisdale stud principal Ray Lewis said when he opened up his return to offering Merino and Poll Merino rams at his family’s on-property auction at Wickepin last week.

“We have to lift Merino numbers in WA to reverse the decline of the flock,” Mr Lewis said before the sale, which catalogued 300 rams.

Only a few years ago, Mr Lewis was on the verge of leaving the industry when he held two dispersal sales in 2011-12, but last week’s return sale had 26 registered buyers validating the stud’s return to business.

Guest auctioneer Michael Glasser, of Victoria, and his Total Sales Management team conducted the sale, which resulted in a total of 260 rams sold for an average price of $1238.

Mr Lewis said he was pleased with the result, which provided momentum for the stud to continue to offer quality rams Statewide.

“There is lots of demand for Merino rams, which is a good sign for the industry,” he said.

During the sale, past regular buyer Jumbuck Plains principal Stephen Fowler returned to Lewisdale stud to buy at the top end, securing the $4100 top-priced Poll Merino and the $3000 top-priced Merino ram.

“The Poll has a large frame with good crimpy wool, which is long stapled,” he said.

The 148kg ram measured 21.7 microns and had a comfort factor of 98.65.

Mr Fowler secured seven rams in total from the stud catalogue at an average price of $2614.

“In the past, I bought up to 60 rams at the sale, but now I breed my own flock rams from a nucleus of 600 stud ewes I bought at the Lewisdale dispersal,” he said.

“I was selecting for large framed types with good feet and white, bright wool with good definition of crimp.”

Mr Fowler, his wife Michelle and son Tom run a flock of 14,000 ewes, averaging 21 micron, and are slowly moving towards Poll Merinos. The $4000 second top-priced ram was secured by Hyden woolgrower Frank Varone.

“I was selecting for size and wool cut,” he said.

Mr Varone secured a total of nine Poll Merino rams for an average price of $2428.

The Varone family have a 60/40 crop/sheep mixed farm and run a flock of 3500 Poll Merinos, producing about 200 bales of September shorn wool.

“We been on Lewisdale bloodlines for 25 years and averaged 98 per cent lambing last year,” Mr Varone said.

Securing rams early in the catalogue of 265 specially selected Poll Merinos, Snow Chisholm, of Ongerup, bought a total of seven rams to a top price of $2000 and average price of $1571.

“I was selecting for frame and wool cut and the types that suit our environment,” he said.

The Chisholm family has been on Lewisdale bloodlines for the past 10 years.

Several volume buyers were active at the sale, including Gerrald Carmody, of GM Carmody Holdings, Albany, who bought 20 Poll Merino rams to a top of $2000 and average price of $1505.

Mr Carmody said he was buying on behalf of two Lewisdale clients.

Mr Carmody was also bidding on behalf of Boka Holdings, Wickepin, securing a total of 28 Poll Merinos for an average price of $911.

Lewisdale stud representative John Sherlock was bidding on behalf of JLW & C Della Voe, of Esperance, securing 38 rams for an average price of $895.

Mr Sherlock was acknowledged on the day for his past 50 years of service to the Lewisdale stud.

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