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The Sales Must Go On

The Adelaide Merino Ram sale is one of the most anticipated events at the Royal Adelaide Show and on the agricultural calendar. Much effort and planning goes into preparing the sheep and keeping them healthy so they present at their very best, and fetch the best prices. South Australia has 11.8 million sheep, which is about 16% of the nation’s sheep flock. 

The 2017 Sheep Sale at the Royal Adelaide Show

The Adelaide Merino Ram Sale and Elite Stud Sheep Sale are highlights of the Royal Adelaide Show, with spirited bidding drawing crowds to the Sheep Pavilion for both events.

Though the crowds won’t be there this year, the sales will go ahead - on Sunday, September 6 for the Elite Stud sale and on Friday, September 11, for the Merino Ram sale.

Tom Ashby, from the Royal Adelaide Show Sheep Committee, said more than 70 rams would be offered at this year’s Merino Ram Sale.

“The Adelaide Merino Ram Sale is the leading ram sale in Australia, and is recognised internationally as offering the best Merino and Poll Merino genetics available,” Tom said.

 “Though we are expecting less interstate and international buyers to attend this year due to border closures, we are expecting strong traffic online from clients keen to improve their flocks.”

The Merino Ram Sale has recorded strong sales in recent years, achieving a top price of $100,000 in 2019 for ‘Smithy’ - a Poll Merino from Glenlea Peak stud in Pinnaroo, and $72,500 for a Collinsville stud Merino ram. 

Named after Australian cricketer Steve Smith, ‘Smithy’ was purchased by a Victorian buyer who was impressed by the ram’s structure and wool quality.

To get the most out of the ram sales, good on-farm biosecurity is also key to ensure the animals are in their best health and form.

When it comes to buyers’ requirements, Tom said every purchaser has different criteria.

“It depends on what breeding traits they want to improve in their flock, such as bloodlines and genetics.  There are lots of variables, particularly in Merinos, as they are a dual-purpose breed.”

Fellow Sheep Committee member Allan Piggott agreed that buyers at the Elite Sheep Stud Sale - for Suffolks, White Suffolks and Poll Dorsets - shop according to their specific needs.

“While buyers are looking for sheep that have good structural characteristics, they are also keen to know the genetic merit of the animal with the use of sheep breeding values, and it depends on what they need for their flock,” Allan said.

He expected demand at the Elite Sheep Stud Sale to be as “strong as ever”, with sheep performing well as an agricultural commodity, and industry confidence at a reasonable level.

“As far as studs go, you still need to buy genetics and, with shows cancelled across the country, there has been less opportunity to buy livestock,” Allan said.

“The Elite Stud Sheep sale is recognised as the premier sale of its kind in the country, and our approach to biosecurity is better than best practice.”

At last year’s Elite Stud sale, the Reserve Champion ram in the Suffolk judging, ‘Everest’, from Kilmore Stud in Victoria, achieved a top price of $12,500.  It was bought by a Western Australian buyer who made the trip Adelaide specifically for the sale.

Both events will offer in-person sales to registered bidders, adhering to COVID-Safe guidelines, and online bidding via www.auctionsplus.com.au  

For more information on the Merino Ram Sale visit www.merinosa.com.au or https://www.whitesuffolk.com.au/events-2/adelaide-elite-sale/ for the Elite Stud sale.

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