PRICES climbed to a $28.80 high at the Wesfarmers Dalgety Narrogin Wickepin special ewe sale last week. The sale was billed as the state's premier ewe sale and the crowd in attendance was testimony to the spectacle it has created in the past. The top price was generated for a genuine line of 308 March shorn Rutherglen blood 1.5-2.5 ewes offered by Mark Giles, Corrigin, who was leaving the land. It was paid by former Elders man Neil Williamson, who did not disclose the buyer. The flock dispersal also set the $24.60 second top price for 345 of their 3yo sisters, also paid by Mr Williamson. Ted Gillett, Williams, wanting ewes to join to both Merino and Poll Dorset sires, bid to $21 on the Giles' 316 4.5yo girls. But, with prime lamb buyers budget-conscious, slow bidding made a hard day's work for auctioneer Preston Clarke. At Wickepin, where agent Mike Curnick was roundly congratulated on the quality of his yarding, he summed up by saying he was "a bit disappointed but next week I might think it was a great sale". Here benchmark lines gave the comparison with last year's sale, when annual vendors Ron and Ern Dunwell's 489 August shorn maiden ewes sold for $18.80. Last year, a similar line fetched $30.20 and sold to the same vendor, Colin Page, Pingelly. The Dunwell brothers have made a habit of topping the older 4.5yo spring shorn ewe category but the $19 paid by Roger Newman, Linton Park, Cuballing, who has bought the line almost every year for the past 15 years, was beaten by Ralph Elson, Wickepin, when losing bidder on the Dunwell's ewes, Neville Thorn, Kojonup, bid to $21.60 for his 367 August shorn Rutherglen blood ewes. Rutherglen breeding consistently paid a noticeable premium during the day. Other notable prices at Wickepin included $18.40 for 410 August shorn Eastville blood 1.5yo ewes offered by Jefan Pty Ltd, Kulin, and bought by Linton Park. Ron and Di Miller, Wickepin, received $18 for 326 August shorn Trehaven blood 1.5yo ewes, paid by Walton Holdings, Yealering. David Kirby, East Wickepin, presented 371 Lewisdale blood 5.5yo ewes with a March jacket and received $18.60 from local farmer JC Bennier & Son. Also at Wickepin, spring shorn 5.5yo ewes reached $16.60 when 227 September shorn ewes account TP & V Ledwith, Dudinin, went to J & K Dawson, Mukinbudin. Back at Narrogin, where the yarding was more mixed in quality, prices for maiden ewes fluctuated erratically as buyers sought and were prepared to pay for well-grown, good quality young ewes. In turn, vendors not expecting such a discriminating audience passed in several lines. One of the star pens was a genuine draft of 340 August shorn Kylie blood 2.5yo ewes trucked in by JR & SE Woods and sold for $20.20 to Williamson Brothers, Beverley. The annual turn-off of Chuckem ewes normally offered on-property by Bob Wiese at Highbury, were yarded at Narrogin and attracted a $17.20 top for the circuit for bare shorn 5.5yo ewes. These 388 ewes sold to Elders Southern Cross. A second draft of 388 of the same sheep were knocked down for $15 to return buyer WG & JE Warren, Highbury. Mr Wiese had decided to switch from the usual annual sale of wether lambs to supplying Merino ram lamb contracts, prompting him to offer his surplus ewes at the Narrogin venue. While there was plenty of competition on the well recognised bloodline, prices were lower and more on a par with the mainstream offering. Agents yarded about 17,230 at both centres. At Narrogin, there were 9100 and Mr Wiese offered 1800 1.5yo and 5.5yo ewes. His top line of 252 maidens, with an August shearing, sold for $15.40 to Wesfarmers Dalgety Lake Grace agent Gary Prater, who bought on behalf of RW & PM Taylor. The Lake Grace agent was one of the biggest supporters, with Elders Williams agent Ian White also buying for numerous clients. At Narrogin, KW & RE Thompson, Tincurrin, achieved the top price for spring shorn maiden ewes when 258 September shorn Nepowie/Peepingee bloods sold for $16.60 to RM & MD Cowcher, Williams.The same buyer also took 258 August shorn 4.5yo ewes offered by Mike Brown, Jindalee stud, Yilliminning, for $17.80.