New blood adds to Kurralea spring sale penning

New blood adds to Kurralea spring sale penning

An exciting line-up of 350 rams bred to deliver consistent, predictable, and functional performance go on sale at Kurralea Studs annual spring three-breed sale this September.

While the market has settled back into more normal conditions, sheep breeders will still be looking for quality rams and Kurralea’s 2023 auction is expected be in line with the past few years including a record breaking 2021 sale when the stud recorded a total clearance of 360 rams selling to $10,600 and averaging $2250 across the three breeds.

Breeders looking for robust, structurally excellent, functional, easy-care rams bred for performance and carcase merit are spoilt for choice when looking for a ram to fit their program in the 2023 draft.

The 26th annual sale will feature 175 Poll Dorsets, 175 White Suffolks and 10 Suffolk rams, and is followed two weeks later by the stud’s second annual online sale of 30 UltraWhite rams.

Ben and Lucy Prentice, Ariah Park, NSW, pride themselves on providing large numbers of rams bred to do ‘the job’ for sheep producers across a wide range of conditions and enterprises.

Stud principal Ben Prentice said 15 to 20 years ago the majority of Kurralea rams were sold locally, however with the amalgamation of smaller local farms many rams now sold across four states all with very different environmental conditions to where they were bred.

The studs’ aim was to breed rams that covered all bases including meeting client’s requirements in station country to the north, and west where the country opened-up, as well as the tighter areas to the east and south.

“We’ve always been very strong on the structure of our rams, particularly feet and legs, to be able to handle wide open country and big paddocks,” Ben said.

Ben added the stud had been involved in LambPlan ASBVs for many years but wouldn’t sacrifice structure or visual attributes chasing extreme numbers.

“Our rams have good growth rates and that means the lambs get big quick and are sold early.”

“We are also strong on bare points on both breeds looking for minimal wool on the heads, legs and bellies just to reduce chances of picking up grass seed.”

This year’s Poll Dorset sale will include the first progeny of Shirlee Downs 002-20 whose sire was Kurralea 140-18, purchased by Shirlee Downs, Western Australia, in 2019 for $32,000.

Mr Prentice said this sire offered a selection of “very nice” rams in the sale stud group.

Another new sire with rams at the top-end of the draft is Valma 219-20, a moderate framed ram with high ASBV’s (Australian Sheep Breeding Values) and low birth weight.

Sires of White Suffolk rams offering included Kurralea 312-20, a ram Kurralea used in its breeding program for one year before it was sold to Kattata Well stud, South Australia, for $16,000 in 2021.

The first sons of Kattata Well 497-20 would also be in the line-up.

Mr Prentice said over the years they had been fortunate to have loyal repeat buyers who bought year in, year out.

He said he expected the sale averages to come back a bit compared with recent years due to season uncertainty and market conditions, but clearance rate was the important thing.

rowing conditions on-farm had varied greatly over the past five or six years. He said the 2020 season was a good year with good rain without having too much, while 2021 was borderline on getting too wet and 2022 was the wettest on record.

“I never thought it could get too wet here and this year is back to being a bit on the dry side,” he said.

“Feed has been tight but stock are enjoying the drier conditions after last year’s wet. The sale rams were shorn in the first two weeks of August and had come off the board really well, particularly considering feed had been tight over winter,” Ben added.

Kurralea will also offer around 30 UltraWhite rams in a separate on-line sale through AuctionsPlus on October 6. The rams will also be available for inspection on the day.

Mr Prentice said the shedding breed appealed to producers looking for a breed that required a bit less maintenance, particularly over summer.

Hillcroft Farms 7128-20, the sire of all UltraWhite rams selling this year, was Lot 1 at the Hillcroft Farms 2021 UltraWhite sale purchased for $11,000.

The Annual Three-Breed on-property auction, live streamed with AuctionsPlus, will be held on Tuesday 26 September from 12.30pm. The UltraWhite on-line auction will be held on October 6 with the auction live at 11am.