A SENSE of anticipation pre-empted some exciting prices at the Kojonup ram sale when a big crowd assembled to see fine and superfine rams go under the hammer. With wool prices firmly in favour of the lower micron sheep, the sale had a buoyancy that nearly doubled last year's sale gross and lifted the day's average by $318 for an extra 15 rams sold. The Grange superfine stud, owned Multiplex Constructions, West Swan, drew a respectful silence as Elders auctioneer Tony Wetherall offered the team leader to make the day's $5500 top price. Studmaster Lukis Blake had selected the ram from his group of more than 45 reserves set aside for preparation in 2001 after several people had shown interest in the sheep. Among them was buyer and retired stud breeder Frank McGill, who bought it for Yulgering South, the fine wool stud he and wife Win run in conjunction with their daughter and son-in-law Keith and Paula Taylor on the Taylors' property at Busselton. The stud now numbers 180 breeding ewes and the new sire will be used over daughters of a previous The Grange ram in a bid to move from fine wool production to superfine. The Grange more than doubled last year's $842 average, with outstanding prices of $1600 to JG & RJ Matthews, Brookton; $1200 to JB & MA Griffiths, Gnowangerup; and $1200 to Giovani Leusciatti & Sons, Kojonup. The day's top average belonged to Russell and Heather Meaton, Misty Hills, Kojonup. They followed the previous week's success at Dinninup ram sale with another in the same vein when established Duranillin fine woolgrower Greg Cochrane bought the team leader for $3200. Greg runs 1000 breeding ewes and breeds rams for his own use. Mick Catalano, Boyup Brook, who was a prominent Misty Hills ram buyer at Dinninup, collected a further four paying $2600, $2300, $1900 and $950. Ken and Neil Bilney, Wattledale stud, Kojonup, was the sale's main vendor, offering 99 and selling 81 under the hammer. After an electric start, with the first 25 rams averaging $1158 average, the sale settled to allow at least eight new buyers and established commercial woolgrowers to operate at realistic levels. Three different buyers set Wattledale's $1600 top price. First was Drecall Pty Ltd, Gairdner, who bought the second ram offered; LC Lowe, Esperance, bidding via telephone bought the third ram and new buyer Hawthornden Farms, Toodyay, bought lot 15. Drecal Pty Ltd also bought two other rams for $1300 each while both Laurie Lowe and Hawthornden Farms invested in only a single ram each. The sale unearthed some frustrated Wheatbelt woolgrowers who were impatient with the efforts of their existing ram sources that could not give them the micron they needed to share in the wealthier prices for low micron wool. Already reaping the rewards was established buyers JA & T Hardingham, Kojonup, who bought the $1500 team leader and three other rams for $1100, $600 and $500. RJ & MA McGill, Goomalling, and WFC & MK Vandenberghe, Scadden, also bought four, paying up to $1400 (2) and $1500, respectively. RJ & AI Hull, Esperance, who bought at $1400 and GS & KR Bowron, Pingaring, who bought at $1250, each bought single rams. Volume buyers on the day was newcomer Burke Perry, Mindarabin, who bought eight rams for up to $1150 and repeat buyer L & M Dellagostino, Esperance, who paid up to $1100 and acquired a team of nine for well above the stud's $820 average. Studmaster Neil Bilney was pleased with the $165 jump in average and said people were looking at the commercial aspect of sheep and real figures were having some meaning to them. He said Wattledale aimed to rear its rams on a commercial basis without overfeeding and overpreparing. The only prime lamb sire stud to offer sheep was Jim and Jan Glover's Texel stud from Moodiarrup. They penned eight Texet rams and sold four for $300 to WP Lubcke, Darkan, (3) and E & GA Leusciatti, Kojonup, (1).