Hundreds of Merino sheep, internationally known for the quality of their wool and raised by the University of Nevada, Reno, will be sold as part of an annual event that attracts farmers and ranchers from around the country.
The Rafter 7 Merino Ram and Ewe Sale takes place at 1 p.m., Sept. 9, at the Eureka County Fairgrounds. Animals will be available for inspection there beginning at 8 a.m., and there will be a welcome luncheon at noon.
Proceeds from the sale help fund the Great Basin Research & Extension Center in Eureka, where the sheep are raised as part of the University’s Experiment Station, which is a unit of the University’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources. The Center is on a 644-acre ranch, where researchers address sustainable grazing management of rangelands, livestock production, water-limited crop production, and alternative irrigation strategies, among other projects.
Gary McCuin, director of the Center and Extension educator in Eureka County, said there will be about 200 purebred Merino and Merino/Rambouillet rams from the Center at the sale, each about 2 or 3 years old. There are also a few Australian rams, as well as 20 purebred Merino ewes.
The animals in the sale are part of the Center’s Rafter 7 project to raise about 1,800 sheep with an emphasis on quality wool production, lambing rates, hardiness, longevity and herding instinct. Their wool is also used to make Rafter 7 products that are available for sale at the Nevada Wolf Shop on campus and at Jimmy Beans Wool, a business based in Reno.
Rafter 7 Merino sheep were initially developed about 30 years ago by the Experiment Station, under the direction of Hudson Glimp, professor emeritus, and Tom Filbin, herd manager from which the original Rambouillet seed stock was purchased. The sheep have adapted well over time to rangeland production and to producing fine wool in spite of the harsh Nevada climate.
McCuin said the sale of these special sheep always draws quite a crowd, and not just from Nevada and California.
“We have people from all the Western states, and from states as far as Michigan and Pennsylvania,” he said. “We’ve even had some international inquiries about the sale."
Catalogs with the latest information on the animals for sale will be available in late August. For more information, contact McCuin at 775-237-6124, or call Rick Powers Consulting at 843-693-2461.
Persons in need of special accommodations or assistance should contact Paul Lessick, civil rights and compliance coordinator, at 702-257-5577 at least five days prior to the scheduled event with their needs or for more information.