A Western Australian meat sheep has sold for $90,000, smashing the state record as its breeder prepares to blend its shedding variety with a $150,000 ram.

Key points:

  • A SheepMaster ram has set a new state record for a meat sheep sale at $90,000, up from $51,500 set last month
  • Breeders have plans to blend the high-priced breeds with another record-setting shedding varieties
  • The Australian sheep price record of $450,000 is for a merino sold in 1989

Two rams cleared the milestone at the SheepMaster national sale in Elleker last Friday.

The top-seller went to Rainbows Rest in Dongara for $90,000, and the next-highest for $85,000 to a syndicate of SheepMaster studs in WA and New South Wales.

SheepMaster is not the first shedding sheep breed — meaning it does not produce wool or need shearing — to attract record pricing this year.

Last month an UltraWhite ram raised the WA state record to $51,500 and an Australian White sold for a national meat sheep record of $165,000.

Shedding blend on the way

Neil Garnett is the founding breeder for SheepMaster, having developed it over the past 28 years.

“This is a fantastic thing for the shedding sheep industry,” he said.

five people stand around a white sheep

Neil Garnett (second from right) with one of the lots from Friday’s sale.(Supplied: Alison Bannon)

Mr Garnett narrowly missed purchasing the $165,000 Australian record-priced meat sheep this September — an Australian White from the Tattykeel stud in NSW.

However, two weeks later he purchased a different Australian White ram from Tattykeel for $150,000, which he plans to mate with his SheepMaster ewes to make a new “family” of the breed.

“We focus on 100 per cent shedding, walkability, constitution, fertility, and mothering.

“Of course, in genetics it’s quite possible the ram will fail but you just have to take those risks if we want to constantly strive to improve.”

Mr Garnett stressed the importance of genetics but does not report the breeding value data of the sheep he sells.

Phillip Corker was part of a syndicate of studs which were willing to purchase the second-highest priced ram on Friday for $85,000.

“Whilst I wish there was more data on Neil’s rams we were still happy to go ahead with the purchase because I knew the quality I was dealing with,” Mr Corker said.

He plans to introduce reporting for Australian Standard Breeding Values on his stud going forward and to market the ram’s semen for export.

Breeders beware

The $90,000 ram is certainly the most expensive meat sheep sold in WA’s history, but it is far from the record across all breeds.

Mr Garnett bred merinos for decades and holds the Australian sheep price record of $450,000 for a merino he sold in 1989.

But today he is an outspoken advocate for shedding sheep.

Lewisdale stud breeder Ray Lewis recalls selling a merino in WA for $220,000 in the 1990s which he believes is the state record for any sheep breed.

Today he breeds dual-purpose merinos to produce both wool and meat.

“The wool industry is very profitable at the moment,” he said.

“The profitability is driven by lambing percentage and that’s where merino is key.”

Sheep that doesn’t need shearing sells for $90,000, almost doubling WA record price
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