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Mark and Jo Stevenson, who farm in partnership with Mark’s parents Ian and Trish, paid a whopping $17,500 at an on-farm ram sale at The Gums Partnership farm at Cheviot last week.
The price of $17,500, believed to be a record for a New Zealand-bred Dorset Down ram, was paid for a two-tooth offered by Colin and Liz Smith, of Bankhead Stud at Cust, near Oxford.
The two studs have joined forces for their on-farm ram sale for a number of years.
Ian Stevenson said the ram that was bought represented an investment.
“In order for us to continue to deliver leading terminal sires to our clients, we need to ensure we are delivering a genetic package that positions them to have a profitable lamb production component to their business.
‘‘This ram is a gutsy, meaty ram, backed up by great growth breeding values. It is not often you come across a ram like this fella.”
Mr Stevenson said farmers would be able to make their own assessment, with this ram’s progeny likely to be on offer at The Gums ram sale in 2021.
Mark Stevenson said despite forking out a hefty sum, the family ‘‘ended up on the right side of the ledger’’.
In all 164 rams were sold at an average price of $1503, which was a record average price for The Gums on-farm ram sale.
‘‘There was good support across all the breeds offered by The Gums, with average prices strong across the board.’’
Forty of the 44 quarterbreds sold for an average price of $1905 (top price $5000); 62 of the 77 halfbreds went for an average of $1473 (top $3600); six of the 10 Poll Merinos sold for an average of $1450 (top $2500); 39 of the 42 Dorset Down rams sold for an average of $1217 (top $2000); and 17 of the 22 South Dorset Downs sold for an average of $1135 (top $2000).
“The continued support for the stud’s genetics was great,” Mark Stevenson said.
Buyers came from throughout the South Island and the lower North Island, reflecting the positive outlook in the sheep sector, with long-term fine wool contracts ‘‘offering price stability and underpinning producers’ confidence’’, he said.
“We have relationships with some clients going back over 40 years.’’
-By David Hill