A Poll Merino ram bred in Wickepin sold for a top-price of $11,500 at the Lewis family’s annual on-property Lewisdale Ram Sale when all 250 rams were sold to a captivating group of dual-purpose Merino producers. The sale topper, from lot one, was sold for a share of semen rights to a repeat buyer in Victoria through Dyson Jones Wickepin area manager Andrew Kittow. The 172kg 2021-drop Poll Merino ram measured 20.1 micron and was sired by Lewisdale Expo and was part of the winning team in the Rabobank Group of Five at the WA Sheep Expo in Katanning last month. Overall, the sale held on September 9, and conducted by AWN and Dyson Jones at the Lewisdale Ram Selling Complex offered and sold all 250 Poll Merino rams for an average price of $2244, down $143/head on last year when 250 rams sold for an average price of $2387. The sale was a testament to the support from the stud’s long-time loyal clients who appreciate Lewisdale’s genetics, developed from the past 56 years. Lewisdale stud co-principal Ray Lewis assured the crowd of 21 registered buyers that the live sheep export industry would not end. “The industry also needs to breed quicker maturing lambs with heavy weights,” he said. Buying off the top-line of 2021-drop rams, Esperance-based Jumbuck Plains co-principal Stephen Fowler said he would continue to mate a flock of 16,000 self-replacing ewes. He said he was selecting for dual-purpose types — securing a total of seven rams to a top of $5250 and average price of $4821. Mr Fowler said the rams would go to work in a nucleus flock of 660 ewes to breed replacement rams. “Sheep and wool prices are in a cyclical downward position, but I am confident the market will come back,” he said. Also weighing in on the sale was volume buyer Joe Della, who trades as JLW & C Della Vedova, of Esperance. Mr Della Vedova secured 68 rams, mostly from the 2022-drop catalogue, to a top of $4100 and average price of $2163 to run with his self-replacing flock of 12,000 ewes. “I was selecting for dual-purpose types, both for heavy wool cutting and meat production,” he said. “We are maintaining sheep numbers for a viable future. “Our wether lambs are finished on-feed and are on-sold to the WA Meat Marketing Cooperative.” Mr Della Vadova, who is a long-time supporter of Lewisdale genetics, said they were the best suited types for his enterprise. “Ray has been very dedicated to his trade as a seedstock producer,” he said. Also back buying Lewisdale genetics was Les Tyson, of Kulin, who secured a total of 14 rams to a top of $3000 and average price of $2350. “We are scaling back from 3300 ewes to about 2700 and were fortunate to find a buyer for our lambs in South Australia, but the freight costs were very high — one-third of our gross income,” he said. Mr Tyson said the flock’s lambing per cent had lifted with some new management strategies and this would help balance the books with the onset of reducing the flock. “We may have to slim it back more, depending on where wool and sheep prices go,” he said. Another top-end buyer was Trevor Bond, of Wamenusking, who assisted by his son, Graydon — the father and son team were selective in their purchase of five rams to a top of $5400 and average price of $3920. Mr Kittow was buying on behalf of several clients including eight rams for Woodlands Farm, at Yealering. He also secured four rams for G & GL Varone, at Pingaring. Quairading woolgrowers Don and Bill Hanscombe secured 12 rams for an average price of $1917.