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LIVESTOCK | 24 May 2010

Southern Pastures Stud Sheep Dispersal

SOUTHDOWN breeders from four states took the once-only chance to secure some of Australia's best breeding stock when the Southern Pastures stud was dispersed at Simpson last Friday.

The sale attracted breeders keen to incorporate the bloodlines into their own flocks. The sale registered 62 buyers and recorded an average price of $1071 for the 173 joined Southdown ewes, and $518.18 for the 55 unjoined Southdown ewes. Aussie Down ewes sold for up to $1200 and Texel ewes for up to $400. Six stud Southdown sires sold for up to $3750 to average $2167 and seven 2009-drop rams averaged $1571.

Sheep were sold to breeders in Tasmania, Western Australia, New South Wales and Victoria, but many stayed in the Western District.

Ross Cowley paid the top price of $3500 for a 2009-drop ewe lamb and $4000 for a ram lamb. The top-priced ewe and ram were sired by the New Zealand Clifton Downs sire 225.06.

Southdown Australia Inc committee member and stud breeder Graeme Hooper paid up to $1900 for eight ewes and believed the sale might represent the reversal of many years of decline for the breed. "It would be the best Southdown sale that I've ever been to - the average and the clearance was outstanding." The volume buyer at the sale was the Dehnert family, from Ballan, whose Fernhill stud bought 54 head, including paying $2600 each for two 2006-drop ewes and $3750 for a stud sire. Fernhill co-principal Graeme Dehnert said the sale was a once-in-alifetime opportunity to purchase Southern Pastures genetics. "You would never get a chance to do it again. These are probably the best (Southdown) sheep in Australia."

Young Coleambally breeders Brad Harland and Katie Urquhart, from the Craigneuk Southdown stud, bought 15 ewes and two rams.

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