The traditional open auction of the Gippsland Merino Breeders annual sale has been replaced this year by the AuctionsPlus system.
The sale will run online on September 1, with 184? Head registered for sale, however, studs will still host inspection days on August 24 and 25, with Pendarra and Round Hill at Benambra and Omeo, pencilled in for the first day, and Stockton at Hillside, The Fringe at Briagolong, and Bindawarra at Giffard West, on the second day.
The sixth usual vendor, Nicholson River, has been dealing with the clean up after the local bushfires and has rams for sale on-property as well.
Gippsland Merino Breeders president, Allan Stewart, said the current COVID-19 situation meant members had deemed the usual sale a bit risky for many people.
“I’d encourage people to contact their studs of choice and make a time for an inspection so that we can spread people out over the day,” Mr Stewart said.
“If those inspection dates don’t suit, organise something that does.”
Each ram will be photographed for the online sale and any figures also included.
Elders district wool manager, Mal Nicholls, said during the inspection people were encouraged to pick out and mark their rams as they usually would ready for sale day.
“I’ve inspected all the rams and they are really looking in terrific order and I can recommend them to anyone who wishes to purchase,” Mr Nicholls said.
“We still need to get rams from the studs to the flocks for the breeding season.”
Mr Stewart said there was definitely more of a push towards the carcase side of things for Merinos
“People are leaning towards better doing sheep that will get to a weight more quickly than the old type of Merinos,” he said.
“It’s all to do with carcase traits.”
While the price of wool leaves a lot to be desired, Mr Stewart said it was a “godsend” not to have to feed sheep after good rainfall in the area.
“Most people had had a lot better lambing, Merinos have been well over 100 per cent at marking whereas last year you’d be lucky to get 50 to 60 per cent.”
Mr Nicholls said buyers needed to register on AuctionsPlus for bidding and advised doing so at least 48 hours before the sale.
“We will assist people on the day, for example we will have a couple of computers at the Omeo Recreation Reserve and people to help,” he said.
“It’s important to consider registering or contacting your agent before the event.”