Moojepin kicks $4400 winning goal

Lara LadymanCountryman

On the eve of the AFL grand final, a ram nick named “Stringer” for the occasion took out top honours at the Thompson family’s Moojepin Multi-Purpose Merino sale.

Stringer, aka 151010, flew the Moojepin flag, with a top price of $4400, purchased by Primaries wool agent Tim Chapman, on behalf of Kojonup breeder Neville Hunter, trading as LH Hunter and Co.

The top-priced ram was sired by 120652 and sported figures of YWT 11.9, YFAT 2.1, PEMD 2.4, YEMD 3.7 and YSL 27.8 which stand among the top one per cent on MerinoSelect in the country.

The 18.4-micron, Poll Merino ram stats include WWT 4.9, PWT 7.2, YCFW 13.1, and YFD 0.5.

Mr Chapman said the ram was selected by Mr Hunter based on the overall breeding traits he was after.

Deon Gould of Greenwood Farm, Northampton, who was the losing bidder on the sale topper, went on to secure the $4300 second highest price of the day, just two pens later.

Multi-Purpose Merino classer Ken Duxson, of Victoria, who classes for Mr Gould said the Poll Merino ram 150065 also sired by 120652, would be used in a yard-mating program.

This ram’s stats include WWT 4.8, PWT 7.1, YWT 11.7, YFAT 1.7, PEMD 1.9, YEMD 2.9, YCFW 15.5, YFD -0.5, YSL 25.1, 17.4 micron.

“All he wants to do is breed good sheep,” Mr Duxson said of Mr Gould’s breeding objectives, adding the ram was selected for its meat traits, wool figures and wool cut.

The sire of the two top-price rams, 120652, was also the sire of the ram that topped the Moojepin sale last year with a record price of for the stud of $9600.

“120652 has very, very high growth, fat and muscle, which we are on about,” David Thompson said.

“He is at the very top of the industry for fat YFAT 2.6 and 3.8 for muscle.

Mr Thompson said 120652, which was sold to NSW last year, “ticked nearly all the boxes” for the traits they were selecting.

The sale got off to a cracking start with Landmark auctioneer Mark Warren knocking down the first pen, ram number 150334, to Slab Hut Grazing for $3100. The Merino ram was one of three rams Kit Anderson, of Kojonup, pocketed, for an average of $2133.

Mr Anderson, who has been using genetics from the Thompson’s stud for 15 years, said the sires would be used with his nucleus flock.

“We want good plain, free-growing bodies with good structure and as much wool as we can get,” he said.

Mr Anderson said he runs 7000 Merino ewes, 4000 of which are mated to Merinos and 3000 to White Suffolk rams.

At the sound of the siren, of the 100 rams offered, 95 were sold for an average price of $1469 a head.

Buyers, however, were quick to pick up the few lots that remained and all rams were sold soon after the sale.

Moojepin co-principal Hamish Thompson, who farms with parents David and Susan, was pleased with the result.

“The sale as a whole was just reward for all the hard work that David and I put in,” he said.

“It was especially good to see support from the whole industry.”

Mr Thompson Jr said the buyers were mostly repeat clients.

He added it was great to see the support from the Eastern States.

This included Auctions Plus and sheep consultant Darren Gordon, of Dunkeld, Victoria, who was purchasing, via phone, for a consortium of buyers.

Closer to home, David Meyer, of Meyer Trading Trust, bought 10 rams for an average of $1650.

The Broomehill producer, who has been buying from the Thompsons for the past 10 years, said he was looking for more of the wool types with a focus on fleece weight, with decent carcase figures.

He added that it had been a very good season at Broomehill.

“Apart from a bit of unknown frost, it has been exceptional,” he said.

Eric Crossley, of Clifden Farming Co, Woodanilling, purchased 10 rams for an average of $1130.

“I am excited by David’s passion for breeding and for the industry,” he said.

“The sheep performs as the figures indicate. The flock has definitely been improving.

“We are consistently getting high lambing and weaning percentages and they are easy to look after; they don’t have lambing problems and have a good wool cut.”

Mr Crossley said this season they had more than 100 per cent lambing.

“They are still lambing now on a 35-day mating,” he said.

“We are aiming for at least 100 per cent weaning especially this year as the pasture is fantastic.”

Clifden Farming Co mates 2300 ewes, only to Merinos, and is aiming to build ewe numbers to 4000, depending on market returns.

Other volume buyers included KJ and RJ Page, of Pingelly, who bought three rams to a top of $3800, Crawford Dowling, Ballarat and Glenkeith Grazing Co, Kojonup.

Department of Agriculture and Food sheep genetics development officer Meghan Cornelius was also on hand to demonstrate the RamSelect Plus program released at LambEx earlier this year.

Ms Cornelius said Moojepin was one of a number of WA studs that had uploaded its sales catalogue, plus ASBVs, to Ram Select Plus.

“It enables the ram buyers to select their own breeding objectives and it will rank sale rams based on the genetics producers are looking for,” she said.

Ms Cornelius noted uptake of ASBVs among Merino stud breeders was on the rise.

“In 2015 in WA, 62 per cent of Terminal sire breeders were using ASBVs, while 27 per cent of Merino breeders were using the measurements,” she said.

The uptake for Merino breeders increased from 16 per cent in 2014.

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