2011 Wyoming State Ram Sale sets new price records
Several price records were shattered Sept. 13 in Douglas, WY, during the 83rd annual Wyoming State Ram Sale (WSRS) according to Wyoming Wool Growers Association (WWGA) Executive Vice President Bryce Reece, noting it was the best sale in his 19 years with the organization.
“Two hundred ninety-four rams from some of the nation’s best seedstock producers set a WSRS record high average price of $884.44 per head,” Reece continued. “Topping the sale was a yearling Rambouillet ram consigned by Forbes and Rabel of Kaycee, WY, who brought $5,250, and replaced the 2008 record sale price of $4,000 for the top-selling ram. He was purchased by Truman Julian of Julian Land and Livestock, of Kemmerer, WY.”
“The Rambouillet division led the sale in numbers and price, with 157 head averaging $1,064.01 per head, which also set a new record high average price for that breed, and any breed division. The Targhee division followed next, with an average price of $981.48 on 27 head. An indication of what a tremendous year this was is that the Targhee average price per head would have surpassed the previous high average price for any division of the WSRS, if not for the amazing prices paid for Rambouillet’s this year,” explained Reece.
He continued, noting the Columbia breed resurged this year after several years of difficult marketing. They set another division record high average price at $890 per head.
“We were also very encouraged and pleased to see the prices for ram lambs that had completed the WWGA/University of Wyoming/Mountain States Lamb Cooperative ‘Ram Sire Test.’ Only the top percentage of rams from that test are eligible for the sale, and we had 20 head that sold this year. They also set a record division price of $740 per head. The top seller in that division was an outstanding Suffolk lamb consigned by Allison Ramsbottom of Kaycee, WY, who brought $1,600 and went to Bob Harlan, also of Kaycee.
“The overall trend of the sale was a tremendously strong whiteface, or maternal, market. Even those breeds that had been chronically down over the last few years, such as the Columbia breed, were up. I think that tells us producers are trying to build back ewe numbers, and they need those rams to produce replacement sheep. Ten years ago the strongest part of the sale were the blackface breeds, because everyone was breeding to sell lambs. They didn’t care about blackface-cross ewe lambs because they meant more lambs to market annually. Now we’ve shifted to what appears to be a number building scenario, which is what we need in the industry,” noted Reece.
“It was the middle 1980s when I started selling at the WSRS, and this year’s sale was really unbelievable. It was the best prices we’ve ever received, and it’s nice to see the sale keep improving over the years,” said Jim Forbes, who had the top selling ram at the sale.
“Over the years we’ve tried to keep a really correct, sound sheep that will keep producing over the years. On the wool side we try to keep it really fine, a Rambouillet is supposed to have fine grade wool, and we select for heavy shearing sheep. We’ve really focused on those areas, and I think it’s paid off.
“The other main thing we do is put a lot of our rams on test. It helps me sell, but it also helps my own herd through telling me how my sheep compare to other producer’s and what I need, and don’t need, to improve on. You get a lot of really good information – some of it you don’t necessarily want to hear, but it’s helped me in the long run, and really shows what a sire is and isn’t doing for me,” said Forbes of his operation, which he runs with his nephews Ian Forbes-McGivney and Matt Rabel.
“Another great thing about this year’s sale is we had some new consignors. We try to accommodate any new consignors that want to try the sale, and in my 19 years we’ve never turned anyone away,” Reece commented.
“There were some new Targhees out of Montana that sold very well, and Carl Nielsen of Hyattville, WY was also a first-time Targhee producer we were happy to see,” added WWGA Vice President Brent Larson.
“If a producer is interested in consigning to the sale, they just need to go on the WWGA Web site and download an entry form. They have to pre-enter, and the sale committee ultimately decides if they will be allowed to sell or not. Their first year they are required to bring five rams, and following that can consign as many as they want,” added Larson of the process for new consignors.
“This year we had consignors from Montana, South Dakota and Colorado in addition to those from Wyoming,” he continued of the seller side of the sale. “In the last few years we’ve also had consignors from Utah and New Mexico. You don’t have to be from Wyoming to sell at the WSRS.
“It was a very pleasing and encouraging sale. There are so many reasons to be happy with these prices. The best part for me is seeing the people that stayed in the business and rode out the rough years being rewarded, and rewarded very well. I’m just very happy for all those people,” Reece stated. F
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