NO ONE wanted to miss out at this year's Riverbend on-property ram and ewe sale.
A busload of friends and family, some of which had travelled to Eneabba all the way from Melbourne, chose a good year to attend as the Patmore family had a cracker of a sale.
Even the flies couldn't stay away, with one getting a little too close to Elders auctioneer Don Morgan causing him to briefly pause the auction, but it had no effect on the excellent prices achieved by the stud for both their first cross ewes and Poll Dorset rams.
The Border Leicester rams didn't reach a similar level of demand, but nevertheless the sale got off to a thumping start when 400 F1 one-year-old Border Leicester-Merino ewes were knocked down for the ewe top price of $120.
It was like watching a tennis match between two keen bidders standing at opposite ends of the pens, with the price starting at $95 and steadily climbing dollar by dollar to reach the $120 mark.
Eventually the winning stroke was landed by Landmark Busselton agent Wayne Hams, paying $120 on behalf of long-time Riverbend buyers AN Rose & Son, Busselton.
The Roses have been buying both ewes and Poll Dorset rams from the stud for eight years and Mr Hams said he was willing to go the extra mile to secure the top-priced ewes.
"Quality first cross ewes are very hard to find and we always get them from here," Mr Hams said.
"They suit our Busselton climate and are very good producers of crossbred lambs with great lambing percentages."
In addition to the ewes, Mr Hams also purchased 10 Poll Dorset rams bound for the Rose property for an average of $765, which will be used over the females to produce well-muscled lambs.
The entire 1350 F1 ewes found strong competition and stayed in the three-figure territory to average $116 and gross $156,275.
Benalong Grazing travelled from Gingin to secure two lines of young ewes, paying $106 for 300 and quickly followed by another 400 for the second top of $119.
Wayne Hams stepped back into the game and paid $116 for 125 ewes on behalf of Willyabrup Farm, before the Marriott Family, GT & JA Marriott, Corrigin, purchased the last 125 ewes on offer for $115.
The sale didn't miss a beat and Mr Morgan moved on to sell all of the 60 Poll Dorset rams to gross $44,750 and average $746.
Over 20 registered buyers who made the most of their trip to Eneabba, with all of them purchasing three rams or more.
It was new client Glenn Tapscott, GJ & TA Tapscott, Morawa, who liked what he saw and paid the sale top price of $1300 for the standout ram with a well-rounded back end.
Mr Tapscott was looking for a solid ram that had a long body and good conformation, finding it in the 14th ram offered.
Attending the sale to top up his sire battery, Mr Tapscott purchased another five rams for an average of $800.
The Poll Dorset rams will be used over older ewes in the Tapscott's Dohne flock, a breed combination which Mr Tapscott said has proven to produce a very handy lamb suited to the commercial market.
Paying the second top price of the sale was Springhill Farms, Narrogin, for a ram described as a meat pack on legs for $1200, topping up for three more for $800 each.
One of the buyers who put together a team of 10 rams was Elders Mingenew livestock agent Ross Tyndale-Powell, who paid a top of $800 twice and averaged $665 on behalf of JR & JM Browne, Warradarge.
Gathering a team of six rams was the White family, Barara, Eneabba, who purchased all of them one pen after the other for an average of $783.
Five sires went to buyer number five, Benalong Grazing, Gingin, for an average of $640, while Uvee Four Farms, Mingenew, took home the same amount for $600 each.
When it came to the Border Leicester rams, there weren't many buyers in the market and of the 20 offered, the two that sold were knocked down to Arena Farming Co, Mingenew, for $500 each.
At the conclusion of the sale, Mr Morgan said the ewes were heavier in condition compared to previous years, with the rams also presenting well.
"It's good to see there is still a bit of confidence in the prime lamb market," he said.