WESFARMERS Landmark Katanning June special sheep sale produced an inspiring $78 top price to give farmers a badly needed tonic needed to down a rapidly deteriorating season.
The pessimism of another disappointing season was overshadowed by a yarding that featured many high prices and offered graziers one of their biggest opportunities to acquire genuine bloodlines from vendors reluctantly quitting sheep due to the season.
For the two agents involved the $1 million plus sale gross surged to more than double last year's effort and emphasise the general lack of sheep state wide.
The $78 top was gained by locals Dorothy, Brant and Craig Dennis, Eticup Grazing, Broomehill, whose 613 October shorn Willemenup blood 2yo wethers were a late inclusion.
The line had been twice classed by sheepclasser Philip Russell in the preparation for sale and sold to export buyer Rocco DeBellis of Emanuals.
Another piece of eye candy for those with an appreciation of quality sheep was the 451 October shorn Lewisdale-Corrigin blood black tag wethers sent from Phil Ivey's property at Bodallin.
The sheep were one of the recognised lines usually offered at June sales in the Wheatbelt.
The line almost had been sold privately a few weeks ago but the sale was cancelled at the last minute due to the season and Phil decided his best marketing option was to sell closest to where there was feed. .
They fetched $76.50 and were bought by Ian Johnston, York, who is no stranger to buying top price Merino wethers.
He planned to keep them to get four wool clips before selling them.
The sale also set a benchmark $65 for a top line of 237 September shorn East Mundalla blood black tag ewes offered by Allan and Kaye Holmes, Holmes Holding, Pingaring.
They were bought by private livestock buyer Neil Williamson on behalf of AE Patterson & Co, Badgebup.
Another outstanding opportunity to buy an entire ewe drop was presented by the Jensen family at Pingaring when they offered 347 February shorn Nepowie blood 1yo ewes.
The $50.50 they received from W Pickles & Son, Mt Barker, topped the autumn shorn ewe category and a second draft of 422 of the same ewes made $45.50 and sold to Elders Northam on behalf of a prime lamb buyer.
The powerful result was a fitting swan song for auctioneer Wayne Hams who was selling at his last June special sale before transferring to Busselton.
He had the satisfaction of achieving the best sale result since the heady wool days in 1988 and said considering the season values were excellent.
"It was buoyant and all the good sheep areas were buying," he said.
The Wesfarmers Landmark yarding contained an extended offering of full wool wethers and export buyers ensured the better finished sheep were destined for the boat.
Graziers found their best opportunities came among the lighter lines and paid consistently in the $40-$50 range.
The sale opened with $69 paid by RJ Williams, Pingelly, for 193 August shorn Jaloran blood 3yo wethers account HJ & J Smith, Dumbleyung.
Next was $71 paid by Emanuals for 206 August shorn Willemenup and Pallinup blood 2yo wethers bred by MT Lamont, Gnowangerup.
Horrie and Graeme Murdock, Pingrup, put up a big line of September shorn 1yo wethers and received $65 for 430 and $52 for the second draft from Al Mukarish.
AE Patterson & Co, Woolkabin, Katanning, sold 224 spring shorn black taggers to FS McLean, Northam.
Al Mukarish kept the market elevated above the $60 level for another four lines of black tag wether giving PA & LN Hislop, Jerramungup, $65 for 301 October shorn Boonoke blood wethers; IC& C Faulkner, Kukerin, $63 for 384 October shorn Lewisdale blood wethers; Nairn Farming, Gairdner, $63 for 369 September shorn Canowie Fields blood wethers: and TJ & RD Grahame & Son, Ravensthorpe, $62 for 390 September shorn Lewisdale-Corrigin blood wethers.
The only other line to make this sort of money was offered by RP Kowald & Son, Katanning, who received $61.50 from HC Toll & Co, Wagin, for 356 September shorn Craigmore blood wethers.
Local farmers NP & VJ Garlick, topped the autumn shorn wether category with $49.50 for 340 March shorn Nepowie blood black tags bought by Emanuals.
Video did trick for Pingaring producers
THREE weeks before the Katanning June special sheep sale agents were battling to rustle up 10,000 head but a season that turned for the worst changed that.
A total of 21,290 sheep was yarded and Pingaring farmers Allan and Kaye Holmes were one of the late entries.
Their line of 237 woolly maiden ewes they sold for the $65 top ewe price not only represented an entire ewe drop, but also served to advertise a further two lines of breeding ewes with lambs at foot that they decided to sell at the 11th hour.
Rather than transport ewes and lambs to Katanning Wesfarmers Landmark Lake Grace agent Gary Prater filmed the sheep and screened a video of the ewes and lambs before the auction started.
Both lines comprising 350 ewes with 85 percent lambs at foot and 220 2yo ewes with 70pc lambs sold to Peter Storch from Elders Esperance for $48.50 and $45.
They were the final lines of their breeding flock dispersed after 15 years of East Mundalla breeding.
Allan said he had sold 1050 of his breeding ewes a few weeks ago and with little rain to kick off the season he decided to quit all his sheep for the time being.
His decision to sell the sheep will preserve enough grain to put in next year's crop. So far this year his lupins and oats sown in early May largely have failed to come up and the only hope he has for a crop is if 325 hectares of wheat sown dry this month with knife points and press wheels emerges after a rain.