Bindawarra Merino Stud hosted its first on-property sale on Friday, September 1, with buyers from across Victoria and interstate vying for their top pick of Steve and Lisa Harrison’s Merino rams.

The Giffard West Merino stud earned a top price of $7100 for their Lot 2 sire purchased by Russell, Marg and Sam Bennett from Everton Upper.

Lot 2 was highly contended for from the outset.

Bindawarra Merino Stud’s second top-price ram, Lot 1, was purchased by Woodside’s Peter Young for $4300.

Woodside’s Peter Young (right) stands with Lisa and Steve Harrison after purchasing Bindawarra Merino Stud’s second top-price ram, Lot 1, for $4300. Photos: Zoe Askew

A total of 70 rams, 39 pols and 31 horned, aged between 14 and 16 months, were on sale at the Giffard West Merino stud last Friday, with 52 rams sold to buyers from Tasmania, Flinders Island, Central Victoria, North East Victoria and Gippsland at an average of $2340.

One lot, Lot 3, was withdrawn prior to the on-property sale.

“We are still part of the Gippsland Stud Merino Group, but we had increased numbers and decided to try our own sale,” Lisa said.

“In the last few years, we’ve sold 64 of 66. We did have 71 for this sale, but we had to withdraw one.

“Hosting our own sale is more buyer friendly, benefits us logistically and also supports better welfare for the rams – they don’t have to travel, they’re in their home shed, they’re comfortable in this environment.”

Steve and Lisa Harrison purchased the Bindawarra Merino Stud from Murray and Janet Toland in 2011, becoming a registered pol stud in 2019.

“This is the first time we’ve had more pols than horns, which has been one of our breeding objectives over the past several years, to improve consistency of poll wool,” Lisa said.

Bindawarra Merino Stud’s top price ram, Lot 2, was sold at $4300.

Bindawarra Merino Stud on property sale was set for 40 minutes, with final bidding extending the sale length to almost two hours. About 20 buyers attended in person, with online bidding a popular option.

As those in the agricultural sector embark on a challenging market climate fuelled by dry conditions, lower commodity prices and high interest rates affecting farmers of all codes, Bindawarra Merino Stud principals were apprehensive ahead of last week’s sale.

Steve Harrison, recently elected president of peak wool group WoolProducers Australia, admitted to nerves at the beginning of the sale, pressure to host a successful first on-property sale adding to the list of anxieties; however, tensions eased as the sale’s conclusion edged closer.

“I was very nervous at the start of the sale but became less nervous as the sale progressed,” Steve said.

“Given the dry conditions in Gippsland and the challenging commodity prices, we are very happy with these results.”

Steve and Lisa Harrison with Bindawarra Merino Stud’s top price ram, Lot 2, purchased by Russell, Marg and Sam Bennett from Everton Upper.

James Kirkpatrick Senior and James Kirkpatrick Junior from Stockyard Hill in Western Victoria, who have been buying rams from Bindawarra Merino Stud for the past decade, purchased nine rams, three non-mulesed, at a top price of 3500.

New client Paul Trowbridge bought 10 rams at Bindawarra Merino Stud’s first on-property sale in its 60-year history, while Jarrod Demarco from Nutrien Victoria purchased ten rams for various clients.