Errol Hay, 61, is one proud farmer. Having worked all his life to produce the perfect ram, Mr Hay’s ambition was fulfilled at this year’s Australian Sheep and Wool Show when he got top price for a Victorian-bred poll merino ram.
Mr Hay, from Kamarooka Park Polls, said he was overwhelmed when he saw the price – $7500.
“I play a lot of sport and it was like winning a grand final – probably better than that,” he said.
It was the first time Mr Hay had shown and sold at the prestigious Australian Sheep and Wool Show because he had been waiting until he bred the best ram possible.
The honour of having the best ram in Victoria did not happen overnight. “Merinos have been a passion of mine for 30 years and this result was always my goal,” he said.
Mr Hay said he spent a lot of time at night researching breeds and poring through catalogues.
“It’s important to know your breeds and bloodlines and you also have to be able to identify a good sheep,” he said.
The ram, which sold for $7500, is named KPP Gold 193 and Mr Hay said he was fairly confident he had bred a “goodun”.
“I didn’t enter the show before because I wanted to wait until I had it right,” he said.
“What you look for in a good ram is quality wool and correct conformation. KPP Gold has superb wool and is extremely correct; that combination is hard to get. I knew the ram was good.”
KPP Gold had a sale test of 18.6 micron and a comfort factor of 99.9 per cent.
He was sold to the Lachlan Merino stud in New South Wales. Mr Hay retained 50 per cent semen marketing rights.
He said KPP Gold was now at the artificial insemination centre in Deniliquin and afterwards the owner would be sending him to the Dubbo Ram Sale this month, where he will be on display
The wins kept on coming for Mr Hay at the Australian Sheep and Wool Show. He sold another ram for $3000 to Pendarra stud in East Gippsland and a third ram to a Wangaratta stud for $1500.
“That one was just as good as the others but I had him machine shorn and he didn’t look as good. Hand shearing with a blade leaves a nicer tip on the fleece,” Mr Hay said.
“I only had 10 rams in the shed this time but I’ll have more next year and they’ll all be hand shorn.”
Mr Hay has been a farmer all his life and has always loved it.
“My family settled at Kamarooka in 1878,” he said.
And while he has three daughters he is hoping his grandsons might take over the farm one day.
Apart from wool, Mr Hay grows lucerne on the loamy flats of his property.
He said the lift in grain prices had compensated for the flat prices of wool and mutton.
When asked what his next goal would be Mr Hay said hoped he could improve on this year’s performance and would be entering a pen of five poll rams in the Hamilton Sheepvention.
He said there were three people he wanted to thank who had helped him achieve his lifelong ambition.
“The first person is Ted Talbot who has shorn for the Hay family for 40 years,” he said.
“He was the one who first challenged me to breed a top merino.
“The second person is Norm Hocking who has been shearing for me for the last 20 years. Norm always lets me know how the sheep comb and if the wool is any good or not.
“The third person... is my wife, Jan. She let me live my dream and has always been a tower of strength for me.
“She’s been fantastic. I’m a very lucky man to have her by my side.”