Date change will hopefully give sale a boost
Canterbury's major ram and ewe sale has been brought forward to next Friday to open up more sales to commercial farmers and get away from being the last resort for ram buying.
The sale was previously held in January by the Canterbury A&P Association.
Sales and ram and ewe numbers have been in decline, and the auction has been brought forward to make it more relevant for farmers making breeding decisions.
The lineup includes prize-winning rams from last week's Canterbury A&P Show, and a selection of 280 rams and 13 ewes from 14 breeds.
In the largest breed section are 57 suffolk rams, including the ram which won Mornish Suffolk Stud breeder Guy Abbott, from Dunsandel, the all-breeds ram hogget championship at the show.
Christina Jordan, from Willowhaugh Stud in Blenheim, is also putting up her southdown trio, which won the all breeds food and fibre trifecta including the ram winning the best carcass sheep class.
Sale organisers have included more genetic information from Sheep Improvement Ltd (SIL) records in the catalogue.
Sheep committee vice-chairman Graham Sidey said most commercial farmers had bought their rams by the time the sale used to be held in January.
Stud breeders would keep their best sires for the sale, but if they were unable to sell them, there was a limited commercial market afterwards, and it made more sense to hold the sale in November, he said.
"The January sale had been in slow decline as far as prices went, and a big part of the reason was a lot of people are buying commercial rams in late November to December, and the January sale had no commercial backup.
"That made things difficult and too risky for commercial people, because if they missed out, where do they go?
"There are a lot of on-farm and private ram sales starting a week after the [November] ram sale, and there are more buying opportunities."
Sidey said the best sires would command high prices, but top-end commercial rams could be bought for $800 and sires for at least $2000.
Ram entries are up on last year.