Demand for growth, muscle and eating quality pushes prices to $6500 at Pepperton Farms

Kurtis Trewick, Pepperton Farms, with the top price White Suffolk and Poll Dorset rams at $3100 and $6500 respectively

A Poll Dorset ram ranking in the top one per cent for Lamb Eating Quality and Terminal Carcase Production Index topped the Pepperton Farms annual sale at $6500 on October 18.

Hosted by the Trewick family on-property at Elmore, the Poll Dorset and White Suffolk ram sale drew 19 registered buyers in the sale barn and was interfaced with AuctionsPlus.

A total of 36 Poll Dorset rams sold from the 50 offered to a top of $6500 and average of $1503 while 28 of 50 White Suffolk rams sold to a top of $3100 and average of $1278. The overall sale average was $1405.

New client Mark Yates, Barwon Poll Dorset and White Suffolk stud, Yerong Creek, NSW, outlaid the top price of $6500 for Lot 2, a twin sired by Ilfracombe 200286 and with Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs) in the top one percent for Lamb Eating Quality (LEQ) of 164.96 and Terminal Carcase Production (TCP) of 165.55.

Mr Yates was impressed with the ram’s ASBVs for eye muscle area, LEQ, and outcross pedigree.

“He is a true to type ram and is good on his feet – I’m excited about him,” he said.

JM Hiscock and Sons paid the second top price of $5200 for Lot 3, the top figured ram in the catalogue with LEQ of 171.72, TCP of 171.05 and post eye muscle depth of 4.31mm.

In the White Suffolk offering, J and J Jakupec Trading bid to $3100 online through AuctionsPlus to secure the top price Lot 59, a twin with an exceptional ranking of LEQ at 166.26 and TCP at 165.29 in the top one per cent of the breed. The ram also had weaning weight and post weaning weight in the top five per cent of the breed.

Pepperton Farms co-principal Dianne Trewick said the sale result was above expectation with rams selling north to Glen Innes, NSW, and south to Tasmania and South Australia.

“We have several new stud and commercial clients from southern NSW, northwest Victoria, southwestern Victoria and South Australia,” Mrs Trewick said.

“Commercial producers were chasing mainly growth, muscling, some were looking at positive fat, which we have been concentrating on, along with high weaning weight and high growth rate.

“Those targeting the sucker market like to have above average growth and muscle thrown in. We have been concentrating on getting the figures heading in the right direction for eating quality.”

Among the new clients was Matt Reynolds, Mt Hugel, Adelong, NSW, buying five White Suffolk rams to a top of $1900 using the selection criteria of intramuscular fat, eye muscle depth, weaning weight, post weaning weight and positive fat.

Mr Reynolds sells Poll Dorset/Merino cross lambs to Gundagai Meats and intends to join all his Merino ewes to terminal sires this year to finish the progeny on pasture and pellets.

He said using superior genetics for marbling and lean meat yield paid dividends with a premium of up to 80c/kg by meeting the Gundagai Lamb Q5 grade.

Angus McGregor, Skipton, was buying on behalf of new client Thermopylae Enterprises, Bulgandra Corriedale stud, which joins Poll Dorset and White Suffolk rams over Corriedale ewes.

Their crossbred lambs are turned off in November and Bulgandra was after outcross genetics at Pepperton, securing four Poll Dorset rams to a top of $1400.

Repeat client Alister Safstrom, Mount Camel, has a self-replacing Merino flock of 1100 ewes with a portion joined to White Suffolk rams and the crossbred progeny sold over the hooks at Gathercole’s Tatura. Alister selects his rams on muscle and positive fat.

He joins in October, January and March to take advantage of opportunity trading during the year and purchased three Pepperton White Suffolk rams to a top of $1300.

New clients Trudy and Max Treweek, Lauridale White Suffolks, Echuca, averaged $1420 and sold 200 from 213 rams at their recent sale. The couple were after a new sire with a large frame, open face and good hindquarter, and paid to $1500 for two Poll Dorset rams.

Greg Dean, Stawell, and his son Simon Dean, Camperdown, were sourcing rams for their prime lamb enterprise at Landsborough. Long-time clients of Pepperton, they were looking for rams with high growth, muscling, moderate birthweight, and fat above -0.5.

The Deans run 1200 CentrePlus Merino ewes and join to White Suffolk rams to turn off trade lambs at four to six months at 18-24kg carcase weight over the hooks at Thomas Foods International. They bought two White Suffolk rams to a top of $1900.

Simon Dean said the new rams appealed for a combination of solid weaning weight, high growth, eye muscle area and low birthweight.

“The market has come back a fair bit and the prices reflected that, but it was still good value buying here today.

“If we don’t receive rain in the next fortnight, we will be selling our crossbred lambs out of the paddock as we won’t be grain feeding them.”

Among the volume buyers was Elders Bendigo, account Ross Fiscaro, with eight Poll Dorset rams to average $1075, Willera buying six White Suffolk rams to average $1033, B and E Kelly with four Poll Dorsets to average $1275, and F and J Ramsay with four Poll Dorset rams to average $1075.

Marjardah Stud, Glencoe, SA, purchased a Poll Dorset ram for $3000 with LEQ and TCP in the top one per cent of the breed, and had been joined to 2022 ewes at Pepperton.

Selling agents were Ray White GTSM with James Brown auctioneering, and Elders Bendigo.

Pepperton also has rams available for private treaty and visit for more details.