THE past 12 months have been extremely good for breeders of British and Australasian breed rams, with lamb prices at levels many had only dreamed about.
Since January lamb prices have been close to 100c/kg up on last year; and when the selling season began at the beginning of September the price for lambs in the yards was 480c/kg and they stayed above the 400c/kg mark through until nearly the close of the selling season.
But it wasn't these booming September prices which gave producers a jab in the arm and the confidence in the industry, but rather the record high prices in July when prices peaked at 555c/kg.
Also providing buyers with confidence was the export market that has also been very strong, with exporters paying top dollars throughout the year to ensure they can fill their ships.
These prices are certainly something WA producers will see a lot more of in the future as demand for lamb outstrips supply due to the reduced breeding flock.
Even on the back of declining ewe numbers, the terminal sire breeds held their own this year, selling more rams than last year at improved averages.
So far this year 4159 rams have been offered at auction with 3657 selling under the hammer to a top of $6750, a gross of $2,922,775 and an average of $799.
Compared to 2008 there were 133 more rams offered, 720 more rams sold, an increase in gross of $942,710 and an increase in average of $125.
The percentage of rams offered to rams sold was 88 per cent, which is an excellent clearance over that many rams and was up by 15pc on last year's clearance of 73pc.
Going back over the years to 2000, it is evident how the prime lamb sire selling scene has changed.
In that year 3597 rams were offered and 2352 sold under the hammer to a top of $4000, a gross of $813,011 and an average of just $346.
The clearance rate under the hammer in 2000 was a measly 65pc, a difference of 23pc on this year's clearance rate.
The biggest year for the breeders since that time was 2005 when 5115 rams were offered, with 4652 selling for a gross of $4,067,245 and an average of $884.