Shedding sheep sale

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Have you any wool? . . . Balfour farmer Blair Drysdale wrangles with his new Wiltshire ram, a self-shedding sheep he bought for $700 last Tuesday at the Southern Shedding Sheep First Annual Ram Sale at the Gore Showgrounds. PHOTO: MICHAEL CURREEN

Shearing sheep is more trouble than it is worth for Balfour farmer Blair Drysdale, who spent $1700 at the Southern Shedding Sheep First Annual Ram Sale last Tuesday.

It was the first sale of its kind to take place at the Gore Showgrounds.

Mr Drysdale bought a Wiltshire ram for $700 and an Australian White Wiltshire cross for $1000, both self-shedding breeds of sheep.

He had farmed Wiltshire sheep for about four years, he said.

“Just ease of management. Don’t have to worry about dags or fly strike.”

As an arable farmer, his focus was less on sheep and more on wheat, barley and oats.

“The sheep are just for tidying up. They do a job on the farm rather than being a priority.

“When we’re time-poor and need to be harvesting and that, we don’t want to have to worry about fly strike and having to bring them in for crutching, so they’re good as far as management goes.

“It alleviates a lot of issues for us.”

The sheep typically rubbed up against fences to shed, but there was a way around this, he said.

“I find if we put them under tree-lines .. and just let them rub on the macrocarpas and shed under there, they’re not rubbing on fences.”

Mr Drysdale was happy with his two purchases.

“Its a quick return. You put them out with the ewes in April and hopefully you’re killing some of those lambs in December.

“We’re gonna up our numbers. The plan is to have 250 ewes to the ram this year and then get up to 400 or 500 ewes.”

While only about half the sheep at the sale sold, Mr Drysdale expected more shedding sheep sales in the future.

“It wasn’t a bad sale for the first sale of its type.

“If strong wool doesn’t get back up to a price where its actually got a net-profit for shearing rather than a cost, then these things will become more popular.

“That’s what I think.

“I’d come back again next year, definitely.”

There were 65 rams on offer at the sale, of which 52 were Wiltshires, 12 were Australian White Wiltshire crosses and one was a Pure Australian White.

The top selling ram was a Wiltshire, which sold for $2400.