Rick Power, Landmark stud stock and chief steward presenting the Roger Birtles Memorial for March-shorn group to Wal and George Merriman, Merryville, Boorowa

Merryville still in front

The prizes were spread around many studs, with Wal and George Merriman, Merryville, Boorowa awarded most successful exhibitor

During the 71st Great Southern Supreme Merino show held in Canberra, five teams of three rams and two ewes were paraded before judges Wayne Button, Tammin, WA, Phillip Carlon, Uralla, Hamish McLaren, Woolbrook and Simon Bahr, Meadow View, Henty competing for the Roger Birtles Memorial Trophy sponsored by The Land.  

Wal and George Merriman, Merryville, Boorowa assembled the winning team which was placed ahead of Andrew and Patrick Davis, Demondrille, Harden with the group bred by Richard Chalker, Lach River, Darby’s Falls in third position.  

Nine Pairs were paraded before the judges with Guy Evans, Tara Park, Boorowa taking first place ahead of Peter Lette, Conrayn, Berridale with Mick Corkhill, Grassy Creek, Reids Flat in third place. 

The show team bred at Merryville, Boorowa were the Most Successful Exhibitor for the 71st GSSM show.

Fifty-two Merino and Poll Merino rams were penned for the multi-vendor auction, with a top price of $12,000 and overall sale average of $3,192 for the 39 sold.

Top priced ram, offered by Wal and George Merriman, Merryville stud, Boorowa was purchased by Landmark studstock specialist Brad Wilson on behalf of his client, John Barty, “Beverley”, Redesdale, Victoria.

The March-shorn ram, bred in a Ringmaster syndicate appealed to Mr Barty for his fleece which was true to type for a superfine and measured 16.5 microns with SD 2.2, on a great body.

“We have been a Merryville client for a long time and we needed a new ram to pep up the superfine end of our stud flock,” he said.

“He is a very good ram with the sort of bright and soft well defined wool that we are aiming at producing.

“We thought he was a very stylish sheep and were prepared to pay for him.” 

Second top price, at $10,000 was paid by Michael Green, “Boudjah”, Cooma for a Poll Merino ram which caught his eye for great length of body and terrific structure.

“I’ve been a Merryville client for a long time, and when you see a ram with that volume and a true tablelands fleece with lustre and bloom, you just have to buy it,” he said.

“I haven’t selected for microns in my sheep for a long time, yet my clip is getting finer because I concentrate on softness and crimp definition.”

Doug Walker, Wongara Poll, Old Junee had an excellent sale when his August-shorn son of West Plains Mercenary, which had been judged champion August-shorn Poll ram was bought for $7,000 by Mark Hedley, AWN, Goulburn for his client John Cox.

“He is well structured and has very stylish bright wool,” Mr Hedley said.

Other good sales included one at $5,000 sold by the Merryville stud to H. P and M. A Seaman, Crookwell, another at $5,000 from Paul Walton, Wurrook, Rokewood, Victoria bought by M. W and F. A Pilley, “Ullamalla”, Hill End, and a second from Merryville, Boorowa for $5,000 to Alimold Pty Ltd, “Kiola”, Boorowa.

Jonathan Dalla, Orrie Cowie sold a Poll Merino ram, with 18 microns and 2.5 SD to Drew and Laura Chapman, Delegate for $5,000.   

The sale was led by auctioneers Rick Power, Landmark studstock, and Steve Ridley, Elders, Goulburn.

The overall tone of the Great Southern Supreme Merino (GSSM) ram sale was one of quiet resignation, with prices not really reflecting the true state of the Merino industry, according to Landmark stud stock specialist and sale auctioneer Rick Power. 

“It was a tough sale, a bit disappointing really considering the way the whole industry is at the moment,” Mr Power said.

He said with wool at average around $18kg and the excellent prices paid for surplus sheep, studmasters could be forgiven for thinking their rams did not sell to expectations.

“This is the top end of the genetics for the studs, but buyers were very selective on what they were chasing, and buying rams under realistic reserves,” he said.

“Compared to on-property flock sales, which are the next cut of genetics down, I just can’t get my ahead around it.”

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