Good times: Merino breeders Phillip and Lynne King, Runnymede, Bollon, purchased 25 rams at the Wilgunya ram sale aiming to rebuild numbers on the back of improved seasonal conditions.

Kings pursue sheep numbers of old

Phillip and Lynne King, Runnymede, Bollon, purchased 25 Merino rams at Thursday's Wilgunya ram sale.

Its been a long time coming but Bollon Merino breeders Phillip and Lynne King are thanking the heavens for a recent lift in seasonal conditions after years of dry weather.

The Kings operate a 26,700 hectare Merino and beef breeding operation across two Bollon properties, Runnymede and Moorindoorah, and purchased a total of 25 rams at Thursday’s Wilgunya Merino Stud ram sale.

17 rams were purchased under the hammer for $20,100 with a further eight rams picked and bought for $800 each after the sale.

Mrs King said the aim was to replace old rams and get back into breeding replacement ewes to regain pre-drought numbers.

“We had consecutive years of bad lambing rates but the season has finally turned in our favour and we’re finally seeing our numbers climb,” she said.

“We’ll have many more young ewes coming through next year to join so we needed to buy enough rams to match those numbers.

The Kings currently run 2500 ewes as compared to 14,000 sheep in total in the family’s early days at Bollon.

Mrs King said they hoped to have ewe numbers back to about 3000 through their replacement breeding program but the process was slow.

“We were down to about 2000 at our lowest point and it’s hard to get back up. We haven’t bought back in and instead we’ve just been replacing so as we’ve bred we’ve had to sell off the older ones as we go,” she said.

“We sold most of our wethers but retained all our ewes although we stopped breeding altogether throughout recent dry years.”

Mrs King said the current season had been “brilliant”- the best spring she had seen in many years.

“It makes the hanging on worthwhile and seeing a reflection in beef, sheep and wool prices is a good reward.”

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