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  • Ella Matta Pastoral

Ella Matta’s Stunning Reward for Effort

In what must go down as one of the national standout sheep sales of the year, Andrew, Tracie and Jamie Heinrich set new high standards at their three breed, record producing ram sale last Friday (14 th October).

Their offering of 371 White Suffolk, Maternal Composite and Poll Merino rams was fully appreciatedby the 73 registered bidders at their Parndana, KI property, plus 14 active on-line bidders, resulting in a 95% clearance with the 348 sold selling to a $20,000 top and averaging $2684.

The four-hour marathon of quality upon quality was jointly auctioneered magnificently by Nutrien’sGordon Wood and Elders’ Tony Wetherall, having little time to draw breath due to strong andconsistent bidding on most lots.

In welcoming everyone to the sale, senior principal Andrew Heinrich said how proud the family was to be able to put together one of the largest offerings of rams in this state, if not the country. “We’ve done that right here on Kangaroo Island because of the fantastic support our loyal clients have given us for such a long time. That growth is down to you, and we can’t thank you enough,” he said.

He had more to thank them for after the sale as that support was stronger than ever. It has grown through the results clients are getting from their purchases in their paddocks. New stud record highs were set for their Poll Merinos ($20,000) and Maternal Composites ($5600), while White Suffolks topped at $18,000.

The catalogues were covered in colour, indicating industry high performance levels across all three breeds, the result of over two decades of accumulated data collation for independent assessment, then utilising some of those highest performers in their breeding programs.

In summing up the sale, Nutrien’s Gordon Wood said, “It was an absolutely amazing sale; being a good reflection of the huge effort put in by the Heinrich family in data collection and assessment, producing not only industry leading figures but also top sheep for phenotype that are very commercially relevant.”

The highlight of the day came in the last draft offered, the Poll Merinos. It was the first ram offered in their impressive draft, EM83, sired by Wallaloo Park 172032 that reset the Ella Matta sales record book in a big way. This well balanced and powerful ram had performance

figures to impress any breeders, highlighted by +36.9 for clean fleece weight, +7.7 for yearly staple length, yearling weight of +11.1 and converting to indices of 170.8 (FP+), 196.2 (MP+) and 203.5 (DP+). Hansi Graetz, Pepper Well stud, Keyneton, SA travelled to the sale specifically to purchase him,having initially been attracted to him from his performance figures, and then tracked his progress since. However, Hansi had very strong competition for Chris Prime, Nantoura stud, Wharminda who operated via Auctions Plus. It quickly became a two person war until Hansi placed the winning $20,000 bid. A delighted Andrew Heinrich said post sale, “We knew he was a good ram and to be honest we hoped he might make ten thousand, but this has exceeded our dreams.”

Pictured with the $20,000 sale topping Poll Merino ram, EM83 are Dusty Cross, Nutrien KI,

Andrew and Jamie Heinrich, Ella Matta, Elders auctioneer Tony Wetherall and purchaser

Hansi Graetz, Pepperwell stud, Keyneton, SA.

It wasn’t the only highlight in the draft as lot 8, EM170 by the same sire, and also with a list of

impressive performance data to back its phenotype, including +31.9 for YCFW and +18.1 for YSL, sold for $10,200. The purchaser was Jono Hicks, Hannaton stud, Kaniva, bidding on Auctions Plus.

Beyond these two top stud buyers, there were 11 successful local KI bidders, plus one other from mainland SA and one Tasmanian buyer. Sillwood Pastoral, Carrick, Tasmania purchased two high quality rams at $4800 and $2200, but it was four local buyers who provided most of the bidding competition, collectively taking 29 of the 46 rams that cleared in the main auction.

Brett Gregor, Gregor Farming, Parndana East was the strongest, picking up 10 rams to $5200 and at a $3400 average. Pushing him hard was Mike Smith, Kingscote who also went to $5200 twice while purchasing eight at a $4075 average. Simon Kelly, Mine Creek has supported Ella Matta since the beginning of their Poll Merino stud and he chipped in to purchase another six at a $1533 average, while Tom Wurst operated through Auctions Plus from Stokes Bay to purchase five at a $2680 average. The 46 rams sold in this draft averaged $3232. A further seven sold from a mini auction selection, with Richard and Zac Tretheway taking five of them at $800 each, adding to one in the main auction at $2000.

The sale commenced with the terrific White Suffolk draft of 220 high performance and paddock reared rams. The industry leading genotype figures on the Ella Matta rams has attracted more and more stud and ram breeders from around the country each year. This year saw the first 14 White Suffolk rams offered go this way, plus six others later in the draft; most bidding via Auctions Plus or phone connection.

An exception was repeat buyer, Peter Jackson, Coronga stud, Orange, NSW who drove over with his son and successfully bid for three rams, EM82 at $8500, EM224 at $5600 and EM600 at $3000, making their long drive well worthwhile.

It was another repeat on-line bidder in Ryan Smart, Keith who took the top price honours, outlasting all competition to secure the lot 5 ram, EM313, an ET son of Felix 191175 for $18,000. Its impressive structural makeup and breed type was supported by a superb balance of elite Lambplan performance figures. These included +17.9 for PWT, +0.5 for Pfat, 3.7 for EMD, -68.6 for PWEC, +0.2 for IMF, -0.3 for SHRF5 and indices of 168.8 for LEQ and 161.3 for TCP: all of these in the very top percentiles for the industry.

Pictured with EM313, the $18,000 top priced White Suffolk ram are Gordon Wood, Nutrien

auctioneer, Georgie Pinto (nee Heinrich) holding her son Hunter, Jamie and Andrew

Heinrich, Ella Matta and Alistair Keller, Elders stud stock.

Andrew Weidemann, Sunnydale stud, Rupanyup, Vic bid to $8500 on the first ram offered, EM73, another Felix 191175 son, to get the sale off to a good start. He then added EM403 for $7500, another Felix son.

Jono Hicks, Hannaton stud, Kaniva purchased EM369, yet another Felix son for

$9000, later adding his $10,000 Poll Merino, covering his sire needs for both his studs in the one day.

John Hayes, ‘Bullaworrie’, Young, NSW bid to $8500 to pick up another Felix son, EM315, a ram that had the highest Lamb Eating Quality (LEQ) index in the catalogue of 173.2, placing it in the very top echelons of the industry.

Michelle Smart, Strathalbyn also paid $8500 for EM351, this one being a son of Langley Heights 180231. This very stylish and upstanding 16 month old ram already has 61 progeny on the ground at Ella Matta. LJ & ML Price, Kadina linked in via phone through Nutrien’s Dusty Cross to pick up EM106, an upstanding and very long Farrer 190111 son, also paying $8500.

However, it was Leroy and Rohan Hull, Kattata Well stud, Streaky Bay who were prepared to go further than most to secure EM566 for the draft’s second top price of $9500. In particular, they were looking for positive fat and good eye muscle and found it in this Felix son, having figures of +0.5 for Pfat, +0.2 for IMF and 2.9 for EMD, while also having PWT growth figures of 18.0 and a LEQ index of 158.8, putting it in the top 1% nationally. This purchase was on top of the $16,000 they outlaid the day before at Detpa Grove for a son of Ella Matta 190004.

The 20 rams that went to ram breeding flocks averaged $6680. This still left 200 for commercial producers.

Pictured with the $9500 second top priced White Suffolk ram purchased by the Hull family,

Kattata Well stud, Streaky Bay are Dusty Cross, Nutrien KI, Andrew Heinrich, Nutrien

auctioneer Gordon Wood, Jamie Heinrich and Elders stud stock’s Alistair Keller.

Neighbour, and extremely long-term supporter of the Ella Matta White Suffolks, Sam

Mumford got the commercial side going at lot 15, paying what turned out to be a relative cheap $2000. He proved to be the strongest commercial buyer in the sale, picking up 20 rams in total between $2000 and $2800, averaging $2280.

This White Suffolk flock ram catalogue was one of the most even quality drafts offered anywhere, and the sale result reflected that. 44 bidders were successful in purchasing rams in this draft, with the catalogue highlighted with elite performance levels right to the end. Every ram in the catalogue was in the top 5% nationally for LEQ index.

This is a remarkable achievement for any stud, and one Ella Matta is proud of, and clients were appreciative of. Thus, there was no great urgency for any to greatly extend their budget on a particular lot. These 200 flock rams sold to a top of $3000 and averaged $2404. The amazing consistency of the draft and bidding saw 81.5% of them sell within $200 of that average, and only two rams sold below $2000, both at $1800.

Tom Willson, New Country KI, Penneshaw bid the $3000 top for one of four he purchased at a $2800 average. Beyond that, the highlights were in the volume purchased. Besides Sam Mumford, NR & CA Kohlhagen, Maitland purchased 15 rams, as did Simon Kelly, Mine Creek, later adding his Poll Merino purchases.

Brett Gregor, Gregor Farming and Mike Smith, also prominent Poll Merino purchasers, bought 10 and 11 rams to tops of $2600 and $2800 respectively.

Other prominent buyers in this draft included DE & FM Sanders, Keith (eight to $2800), A & CJ Gilfillan, Penneshaw (seven to $2800), P & JC Trevethan Family Trust, Corowa, NSW (nine to $2800 via A+), Spring Hills KI (eight to $2400), Cooper Farming, Parndana (seven to $2400), Veitch Farming Trust, MacGillivray (eight to $2600), Mitch and Ros Willson, Willson River Trading, Penneshaw (six to $2800), Bella Vista, Kingscote (six to $2400) and NG & SJ Murton, Parndana (five to $2600).

Splitting the White Suffolks and Poll Merinos was the impressive and ever improving draft of

Maternal Composite rams. These have developed quite a following on the Island, but that has now also extended beyond to mainland SA and Tasmania.

The main line that was developed from a White Suffolk base saw 67 of the 73 offered sell to $5600, while a further eight of the nine that had a Poll Merino infusion sold to $1400; the 75 clearing at a $2195 average.

The $5600 top priced ram was purchased by Rick Morris, Gosse for EM10, the first ram in this draft. He then added lot 3, EM 321 for $4000, the second top price. Rick has been using these for a few years now and appreciates what they are doing in his family’s flock, but this is the first time he has topped the sale draft. In explaining his selections, he said, “To start with they have massive eye muscle at 3.3, they are balanced structurally with good wool and have the figures to match.”

Pictured with the $5600 top priced Maternal Composite ram, EM10 are purchasers Rick

Morris, Gosse, Jamie Heinrich (holding ram), Rick’s nephew Tate Barrett, and Andrew


The top ram had the highest Maternal Carcase Production Plus Index of 187.9, placing it in the top 1% nationally while the other ram at 181.0 was just outside that elite grouping.

Hillcrest Pastoral, Avenue Range chimed in via phone to purchase four of these composites at a $2850 average to add to two White Suffolks purchased earlier.

Brad Creek, Kongorong averaged $2500 for two and Andrew Archer, Chester Partnership, Tasmania purchased three at a $2533 average to round out the ‘overseas’ buyers.

Locally, repeat buyers dominated the successful purchasers list. Peter Cooper, Cooper Farming, Parndana purchased 11 from $1000 to $3400, adding to his 7 White Suffolks, but the biggest volume buyer was Paul Bott, Bott Farming, with 13 from $1000 to $1800. These included six from the Poll Merino infused line.

Other prominent purchasers included Ben Davis, Karatta (seven to $2600), RJ Hams, Parndana (eight to $2800 - adding to 2 White Suffolks at $6000 and $2600), Steve Childs, Karatta (six to $3800) and Andy Gilfillan, Penneshaw (five to $2400- adding to his 7 White Suffolk purchases).

Elders Auctioneer Tony Wetherall echoed the comments of Gordon Wood in saying, “It was a tremendous sale result but one that has come through dedicated data collection and disciplined attention to detail in making their breeding decisions. The family and their support team should be

thoroughly congratulated.”

Sale Summary





White Suffolk Stud Rams





White Suffolk Flock Rams





Maternal Composites





Poll Merinos (main)





Poll Merinos (mini)










Written by Ian Turner

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