The Merino ram selling season is now in full swing, with all eyes on top prices, clearances and averages.
As a general view, most sales have been recording healthy results; most clearances have been good and while averages seem to be back a few hundred dollars from last year, vendors are generally pleased.
What has been noted this year is the willingness of buyers to pay for quality. The competition on top-end rams has been very good and there seems to be more depth in the offerings. There’s no doubt, there is more pressure on stud breeders to breed “more of the better ones” to meet this demand and most seem to be working hard in this area.
There seems to be an increase in the demand for ASBVs on rams, with buyers placing more and more emphasis on certain criteria. Things like weaning weights and fat and eye muscle figures seem to be of particular interest alongside staple length and fleece weights. Buyers do however need to be keeping an eye on structure and visual assessments, to ensure their breeding programs improve across the board. A total reliance on figures can see structural faults develop which can take years to breed out.
Now more than ever, anyone with well-bred, well-finished and well-presented livestock are going to be ahead of the pack. Genetics play a big part in this, and careful ram selection is a vital part of any breeding operation. Engage your agent, classer or stud breeder for their opinions and/or advice to help you make the right decisions.