California Ram Sale a SuccessA trio of speck-face composite rams consigned by Dr. Nancy East commanded the top bid at the 97th annual California Ram Sale hosted by the California Wool Growers Association on Saturday, April 8, in Porterville, Calif.
The pen brought $6,750, spurring a significantly better sale average than last year. A total of 447 range rams were offered at the auction, up slightly from last year’s 423 head. All rams averaged $832 a head compared to $668 in 2016. The 275 head of Suffolk rams averaged $875 per head. The 146 crossbred rams averaged $747 a head. The 16 Hampshire rams sold at an average of $778 and the 26 whiteface rams averaged $569, which was down from the previous two years.
Ryan Indart, CWGA president, cited better lamb prices and much improved feed conditions as drivers for CWGA’s successful sale.
All sales were subject to a sifting team of University of California-Davis veterinarians and a committee of sheep producers to ensure that only the highest quality rams were available to buyers at the sale.
For the second straight year, all rams were ultrasounded for loin eye and backfat. With weight factored in, they were given a range ram index number to indicate genetic merit. Highest indexing ram of the sale was a whiteface ram consigned by Mike Cox of Fairview, Utah. The ram had an index of 110.84. One of the composite rams sold by East had the second highest sale index at 106.22.
Longtime ram sale consignors John and Anita Phillips of Paul, Idaho, were honored with the Best Overall Consignment Award.
Joe Olsen of Spanish Fork, Utah, also a longtime sale consigner, received an award for the Top Suffolk Pen Consignment. Sale consignors bringing rams with the largest loin eye measurements were Larry and Linda Pauly of Delta, Utah; East; David and Nash Hansen of Fairview, Utah; and Jim Neumiller of Healdsburg, Calif.
Prior to this year’s sale, there were demonstrations of a labor-saving sheep handling and sorting equipment plus trade displays. New Zealand equipment manufacturer Farmquip’s Crutch and Weigh Combo Sheep Handler chute system featured remote control gates, scale, tilt table and three-way sorting.
Contributions and the proceeds from the California Ram Sale support CWGA in its continued efforts to deliver lasting value to support and grow all segments of the California sheep industry.