The Dalla family’s widespread reputation for producing highest quality Merinos, Poll Merinos and prime lamb sire breeds is widely respected, with the excellent result of their 52nd annual ram sale reflecting that reputation.
Fifty six registered bidders were included in the large crowd that gathered to compete for the outstanding offering, resulting in increases in top price, average price and clearance, even on last year’s very good result. There were successful bidders from five states and nine different regions within South Australia. Overall 162 of 170 rams sold to a $7250 top and averaged $2126 in a 95% clearance. This included 122 Poll Merinos and Merinos averaging $2286 and 40 prime lamb breed rams averaging $1600.
Leading the way was the Poll Merino offering with all 116 selling to the auction top and averaging $2283, while 16 of 24 Merino rams sold to a $4750 top, but averaged a slightly higher $2311. The offering was accurately described by Elders auctioneer Tony Wetherall as “a line of rams with outstanding growth for age and elite heavy cutting and nourished wools.”
The $7250 top priced Poll Merino ram was OC 160220, a 15 month old and 105kg and 20 micron son of OC Pearler 980 and was purchased via phone connection by Blake Tremain-Cannon, Westray Poll Merinos, Peak Hill, NSW. Westray concentrate strongly on wool weight and style and the excellent, gutsy and heavy cutting medium wool with outstanding nourishment on this ram was a big attraction. However, that was added to with its great balance, structure and carcase attributes, especially in the hindquarter.
Wayne Walker, ‘Riverview’, Gretna, Tasmania put the ‘Apple Isle’ on the buyers’ list from the very first lot, bidding $4250 to secure OC 150064, a huge 140kg Poll son of OC Titan. Wayne first bought two years ago with a Flinders family line ram and was back again as a result of that successful infusion.
“We are getting the wool cut of 8 to 9kg we want in our breeding ewes, so I was specifically looking for size, bone and structure with high quality wool and found everything I wanted in this ram,” Wayne said.
Similarly, Anthony and Tom Honner, Rosecrae Farming, Brentwood were looking for an elite quality Poll Merino ram and found all they wanted in OC 160667, a superb OC Earle son carrying long stapled and highly defined 18 micron wool. They went to the sale’s second top price of $6000 before winning against the bidding competition.
The most influential Poll Merino buyer in the sale was Ben Stark, Stark Grazing, Naracoorte who made his first Orrie Cowie purchasing trip last year. He purchased 12 top Poll Merino rams to a top of $5250 and averaged $3354, up $1266 on his average last year for the same number of rams. Bright, long stapled and heavy cutting wools with nourishment to withstand wet conditions is what attracted and impressed Ben in the first instance, and brought him back again.
WA has supplied several long serving loyal clients as a result of Orrie Cowie’s WA base from many years ago. This year three WA clients were active, collectively purchasing 13 rams at auction, but the highlight was a private selection purchase for $10,000 from Orrie Cowie’s stud reserves. Robert and Braden Lange, Meltrac Enterprises, Narrogin negotiated the sale for OC 151306, a son of West Plains Mercinary, the supreme exhibit at the Sydney Royal in 2015.
“We have been chasing a Mercinary son for a while and found him here. We were delighted the Dallas were prepared to negotiate on him. His combination of size, structure and wool was everything we were looking for. He has an absolute tonne of wool on him, plus an exceptional breeding history on both sides of his pedigree, so we feel very confident with our selection,” Robert Lange said.
Meltrac also purchased one other Poll Merino for $1100 in the auction and has been purchasing from Orrie Cowie for over ten years now.
Stan and Dorothy Kupsch, Geraldton have been purchasing from Orrie Cowie for nearly double that time and while they were unable to attend in person this year, their buying order saw four top Poll Merino rams knocked down their way. These sold to $4000 and averaged $3000. Rounding out the WA purchasers was another regular in K Norman, Ravensthorpe. His order saw eight rams knocked down to his account, topping at $1600 and averaging $1375, making him one of the bigger volume buyers in the sale.
Also purchasing eight rams but prepared to operate to higher price levels was Bruce McCarthy, 278 Securities, buying through Elders Burra. Bruce was specifically looking for outcross family lines to go across the descendants of rams he’d purchased in the previous couple of years. He paid to $4750 for OC 151455, an Alfoxton 654 Poll son with magnificent long stapled and soft medium wool. In the eight rams he selected, three were Poll Merinos and five were Merinos, averaging $3169.
The smaller demand for horned rams these days has resulted in less on offer, but the 16 that found new homes sold at a slightly higher average than the polls. Two buyers who still pursue the breeding of top Merinos paid the $4750 equal top price in this draft. The first horned ram offered, OC 150887, a magnificent structurally correct ram with open face and good horn set, along with exceptional long stapled, dense and well-nourished medium wool went to Lyall and Mary Starkey, ‘Bel-Antha’ Proprietors, Mt Pleasant.
The other, the 16 month old and AI bred OC 160085 sold to long term Orrie Cowie clients, the Vogt family, Valley-Hi Pty Ltd, Wilmington. Sired by the massive Trojan that sold at Adelaide last year for $22,000 to the Radnor stud, this son has the potential to be as good as his sire.
The Vogt family also purchased another Merino ram for $3500 and later two White Suffolks for $1700 each.
The Radnor stud added to their Adelaide investment with two top Poll Merinos, paying $4500 for a Titan son and $4000 for an M91 son.
The Reade family, Curramulka have been using Orrie Cowie genetics for over 30 years and have also been regulars in the headlines with many sale topping purchases including the stud’s on-property record of $17,500 in 2003. However, this year they were only pushed to $5500, the sale’s third top price for a top young Mercinary son, OC 160051, one of four Poll Merinos they purchased at a $3750 average. They then added three White Suffolks and one Poll Dorset, paying to $2600 and averaging $2050 to still have a very significant impact on the sale result.
Another impact they had was being underbidder on the top Redwood Poll Dorset ram that went to Ian Bradtke for an Orrie Cowie/Redwood record of $4200. He bid via phone hook-up with Landmark’s Alistair Keller for Redwood 160908, a youngster with exceptional muscling and hindquarter.
In a total clearance for this part of the sale, the 28 Redwood White Suffolks sold to $1900 twice (to the Reades) and averaged $1496, while the 12 Poll Dorsets averaged $1836 on the back of that record top price. Combined, the 40 rams averaged a very solid $1600, a reflection on both the current buoyancy and the projected outlook of the prime lamb market.
For the second year in a row Garry and Marg Knagge, Deniliquin travelled a long way to purchase some of the White Suffolks and paid to $1700 and averaged $1620 for five top rams.
Historically, Kangaroo Island buyers have provided strong support for this sale and this year was no different, with five buyers investing in 25 rams. 15 Poll Merinos and 10 prime lamb sires will travel over the waters from this year’s sale. John and Rosalie Bell purchased seven White Suffolks to $1500 and averaged $1286; JF, KB & RM Trethewey purchased six Poll Merinos at a $1200 average plus one White Suffolk at $1300; Calana Heights purchased six Poll Merinos through Elders Wool’s Craig Eckert at a $1267 average; Pat and Glenys Florance paid $2750 and $2500 for two Poll Merinos; and David and Nell Hall got a relative bargain by jumping in early to get a top Poll Merino at $3750, then added two White Suffolks at $1500 each.
Elders District Wool Manager at Dubbo, NSW, Scott Thrift resembled ‘The Gambler’, shuffling no less than eight buying cards for buyers who weren’t able to be present, but sent buying orders. Besides the numerous other lots he bid on, he was successful on 41 rams in the sale to a $4250 top. Included amongst these was one of the bigger volume buying accounts, DR & YE Webster, Mannum, SA with 10 Poll Merinos averaging $1083 and two Poll Dorsets at $1000 each.
Other buyers of note included CJ & KM Holt, Wedderburn, Vic (seven Merinos and Poll Merinos to $3600 and ave $2025, plus two White Suffolks at $1000 each), LR Noll & Son, Wilmington (four Poll Merinos ave $1025 and four White Suffolks ave $1500), L & V Honner, Elliston, (five Merinos ave $1460), RH Rathjen & Co, Milendella (two Poll Merinos to $5250 and ave $3475), DJ & MG McSkimming, Minlaton (three Poll Merinos to $3250 and ave $2717) and JE, JF, PJ & RA Rodgers, Milang (three top Poll Merinos to $3750 and ave $3311).
Picture - The $7250 top price auction ram at the Orrie Cowie sale are Harrison Dalla and his uncle John Dalla holding the ram, and Elders Minlaton Manager, Adam Pitt. It was purchased via phone by Blake Tremain-Cannon, Westray Poll Merinos, Peak Hill, NSW.