A Poll Dorset ram from northern Tasmania has set a record price for the breed, selling for $41,000 to two central west New South Wales stud farms.
‘Lyell’ was bred by Andrew and Caroline McLauchlan on Valma Stud at Whitemore in northern Tasmania.
“It’s a bit of a shock to the system, but a very pleasant one I must admit as we were expecting an auction price in the mid 20s,” Mr McLauchlan said.
“We were inside the shed on the farm while the auction was happening with a few clients and agents … we were watching the action via a TV linked to a computer.”
“The ram has been named Lyell after my grandfather, Lyell Stuart, who was one of the founding members of the Poll Dorset breed,” Mr McLauchlan said.
Lyell Stuart started breeding Poll Dorsets in the 1940s by crossing Dorset Horn with Ryland sheep to make a sheep with no horns.
The 15-month-old ram already has 100 lambs on the ground at the Valma Stud and the McLauchlans are hoping for some junior Lyells to come through.
Australian Sheepbreeders’ Association secretary Margot Falconer said the previous record price for a ram was around the $39,000 mark, and she thinks the price paid this week could be a world record as well.
Off to the mainland
The ram was jointly purchased by two stud farms from New South Wales — Kinellar Stud from Canowindra and Goorama Stud in Galong.
Lachlan Patterson from Kinellar Stud said they had budgeted around $40,000 but were determined to secure this particular ram.
“It was right at the end of our budgeting but we needed to make sure we bought him,” he said.
“Rams with data like this don’t come up very often.”
Mr Patterson said the ram was attractive to them because it was a leading Australian sheep for growth and muscle over 200 days and had “exceptional” eating quality.
“As our product becomes more expensive we’ve got to make sure every consumer has a five-star eating experience,” he said.