WHAT a difference a good season makes.
The Wiringa Park sale soared this year buoyed by good sheep and wool sales and the promise of a great grain harvest.
Values at the Nyabing sale reached $3700 but it was high clearance rate and the $717 jump in average prices that spoke volumes about farmers' optimism.
Everyone and especially studmaster Allan Hobley, recalled last year when sale day temperatures hit 40 degrees and clients, short of pasture and water, were selling off stock.
This year was the complete opposite and Mr Hobley was supremely confident the sale would bounce back to normal and it did.
The stud attracted a 28-strong buying register and the names revealed some intensely passionate wool producers.
Among them was near neighbour and Mr Hobley's uncle Neil Hobley, Compass Ag, who shares his relatives's passion for exquisite wool quality and has been investing in Wiringa Park genetics even before the on-property sale was established.
He bought three Merino rams to use in a 300 head elite ewe flock from which he breeds his own sires and said all were similar wool type sheep but his $3700 choice was the best of them.
"He has the body and wool style - and it is packed on - and you have to pay what you have to pay," Mr Hobley said.
He further justified his investment saying "I won't be farming forever so it is important to do what you like doing."
The 18.9 micron ram weighed 101 kilograms, had a 99.3 per cent comfort factor and was part of Wiringa Park's specially prepared field day exhibition group that led the sale.
The little bit of extra pampering for the first 20 got the sale off to a blistering start.
The $3100 top Poll ram price was set by pen five and was bought by sheepclasser Philip Russell bidding on behalf of DS & SL Hobbs, Edenhope, Victoria, who bought a Wiringa Park ram privately about four years ago which had bred successfully.
The return of the Hobbs family and several other buyers who had trialled Wiringa Park was a highlight for the Hobley family with Allan Hobley saying while he was pleased to see four first time buyers he was even more pleased to see the number of clients returning after trying their rams in recent years.
"Some relatively new people have tried our sheep and have come back because they are getting the results," he said.
"They are high impact sheep that are breeding on commercially.
"I think people will be happy because these are July-drop rams.
"Most have their lamb's teeth and they still have a lot of growing to do."
Early prices leaped to $3100 again when PS Climie & Co, Cranbrook, bought one of four Merino rams then added to it with others bought for $2800, $2600 and $2200.
With 140 rams on offer few buyers realised the early high prices would be sustained at such a level right to the very end.
Mark Sullivan, Bellakin Grazing, Katanning, was no exception.
He came seeking 25 rams with the intention of buying some better, more expensive rams to use in the top end of a judiciously classed ewe flock and topping up with cheaper rams later in the sale.
He was unbeatable in his quest for top Poll sheep paying $2800 for the sale leader and getting many others in the $2000-$2500 price range.
It was Mr Sullivan's third year at the sale and with a plan to increase numbers in his 3000-head ewe flock he needed extra sires that had size, early maturity and plain bodies but still with good wool cutting ability.
With a budget to keep intact it was a far more difficult task than last year and it took until the final ram in pen 140 bought for $1000 before he filled his quota.
The overall sale resulted in 138 of the 140 rams selling under Landmark auctioneer Mark Warren's hammer for a $1732 average, compared to last year when 119 out of the 150-head offering sold for a $1015 average.
While the 85 big stretchy free-growing Polls out numbered 55 Merino rams it was the Merinos that came out on top in the prices with the Merinos averaging $1775 ahead of the Polls $1702 average.
Some of the other high price payers were the highly competitive Dualling Partners, Nyabing, which bought 13 rams for up to $2400 (three times); TM & BM Zadow, Kojonup, paid up to $2500; ST & KN Garard, Pingaring, paid up to $2500 (twice); PJ & EA Pittard, Kulin, paid up to $2600; Girrawheen Investments Pty Ltd, Katanning, paid up to $2900; and DJ Tapscott & Co, Pingrup, paid up to $2400 (twice) for the best of nine rams.