SA record turnover 5 times in a row
Konsortium-Merino has, once again, taken the lead. At their February sale, the breeders sold 311 rams at an average price of R5 050.This was the fifth consecutive sale at which they bettered the SA record turnover for a Merino ram sale.
The team bravely offered 373 rams to be auctioned, at a time when farmers were faced with drought, low product prices and high interest rates. By using the Helmsman type auction, which is popular in Australia, they were able to offer this number in one day. Mr Gawie van Heerden, Konsortium breeder, says that their main aim is to make more rams available at more affordable prices.
It is more than 30 years since such a large number of rams were sold on a Merino ram sale in South Africa. Mr Danie Vorster, manager of Merino SA, says that the Konsortium-Merino offering of 373 rams (from 5 breeders) was remarkable. “They have grown from a modest 78 rams in 2001, and the demand is still increasing. They are being very innovative by using this method to sell all the rams on one day.”
On their 16th production sale Konsortium sold 154 rams in the usual manner, in the shed at Dombietersfontien. The highest price was R26 000 and the buyer was Jannie van Wyk of Rooikop-boerdery, Fraserburg. Once the traditional sale had finished, the buyers went outside for the remaining 219 rams, which were sold via the Helmsman style auction.
This is a “silent” auction. The rams are in groups of two, three and five, according to type and quality. Farmers are able to place bids on any of the groups and can improve on any existing bid. The highest bid and the buyer number are visible on a board. The Helmsman auction only takes about an hour. Should two or more buyers be contesting the same group of rams when the sale draws to a close, a dispute is declared and those rams are then auctioned in the traditional way.
Mr van Heerden feels that this experiment was a step in the right direction. Their average price dropped from R7 333 (September 2008) to R5 050. This suited the buyers and Konsortium will definitely be developing their Helmsman auction. The group enter about 800 of their 1 600 ram lambs for every auction. Their aim is to have 400 rams available on every sale. There is a vast selection that ensures good quality animals.