By Janine Elen, Outriders Media
The first progeny of record-breaking Kurralea 140-18 will feature in this year’s Kurralea Poll Dorsets & White Suffolks ram sale as the stud rebounds after prolonged drought.
Stud principal Ben Prentice said the sale on Tuesday September 28 at the farm near Ariah Park in NSW’s Riverina would feature about 350 lots, an increase on recent years.
After three years of the worst drought in memory, Mr Prentice has enjoyed two of the best seasons on record.
“We had a few shocking years of drought – ‘17, 18 and 19 were as bad as it’s ever been,” he said.
“The sheep numbers took a bit of a hit Australia wide, especially in our area, so our sale numbers came back a bit.”
However, despair turned into celebration as the seasons changed.
“It has been remarkable,” Mr Prentice said. “The three bad years were followed by two years that couldn’t be better. Last year was as good a year as we’ve ever had and while there’s a bit of time to play out this season, it has the potential to be just as good if we can get some spring rains.
“It’s amazing how things can turn around.”
The change in fortunes has prompted renewed confidence in the industry.
“We’re back to selling around 350, which is where we were before the drought,” Mr Prentice said.
“There have been a couple of good seasons and commercial sheep numbers are back up to where they should be.”
The 24th annual sale will feature about 170 Poll Dorset and 170 White Suffolk rams plus about 10 Suffolks. The sale will include about 30 stud rams and 320 flock rams.
The first progeny of Kurralea 140-18, which sold for $32,000 in the 2019 Kurralea sale, an Australian Poll Dorset record, will feature in this year’s sale.
“He was sold to Western Australia but we retained semen to use ourselves and we’ve had excellent results,” Mr Prentice said.
Another of the top performing Poll Dorset sires is Kurralea 636-17.
Standout White Suffolk rams on offer are by Anden 101-18 and Kurralea 667-18.
Mr Prentice said farmers had started to buy ewes to build numbers and he expected a flow-on to ram sales. “When ewe numbers are strong, ram sales will be strong,” he said. “Last year was very good and we’d like to think this year will be similar.”
“We pride ourselves on producing large numbers of very structurally correct and functional rams. We have one of the larger offerings of rams in our breeds and they seem to do their job for everyone year-in, year-out.”
Kurralea sells rams across Australia, including many to south-west Victoria, and offers free delivery as an extra incentive.