LAST year's Strath-Haddon punters were impressed by the size of the Merino stud's 164-strong line-up given the precarious nature of the season.
This year stud principal Peter Dewar and his wife Michelle took things to yet another level by offering 166 large, free-growing winter and spring-drop Strath-Haddon Merino rams and 34 Strath-Park Dohnes at their annual Broomehill on-property sale.
Bidders flocked from as far as Quairading to ensure themselves a piece of the Strath-Haddon and Strath-Park pie.
Despite early scepticism about whether 33 registered bidders would be enough to clear 200 pens, hard and fast bidding competition ensured most of the ram shed was emptied by the end of the day.
Overall 147 of the 166 Merino rams were sold to an average of $1045 (down $28 on last year) while 30 of the 34 Dohnes were sold to an average of $1117 (down $236 on last year).
The top-priced Strath-Haddon Merino ram was eventually secured by Graham Parsons, West Pingelly.
Trading as GR & B Parsons, Mr Parsons snapped up the $3600 July-drop sire after some fierce competition from a number of interested parties.
The 107 kilogram heavy-set, wool-cutter, had a 21.6 micron, 20.1 SP, 3.2 SD, 14.9 CV and 99.4 per cent comfort factor.
Just like Mr Parsons' single $2000 Strath-Haddon sale purchase last year, this year's $3600 animal was the only ram he took home for the day, proving the age-old adage, quality over quantity, still stands up.
Strath-Haddon Merino stud principal Peter Dewar said overall his line-up of Merino sale rams was strong as was the support from the stud's regular buyers, many of whom were original Haddon Rig clientele.
He said just like the top-priced Merino ram, many of the sheep carried a stud class wool type which continued to be gutsy and well-crimped season after season.
He also said the top-priced ram was an obvious stand-out due to its big stud-type size and masculine appearance.
He put this down to Strath-Haddon's operation as a closed stud and the Dewar family's effort to refrain from using a lot of outside genetics in the development of the stud flock.
"Strath-Haddon prides itself on its line breeding which is quite unique in itself these days," Mr Dewar said.
"We continually hear feedback that our wools stay the same from year to year and don't blow out like some commercial flocks."
Mr Dewar said his current breeding aim for Strath-Haddon was to continue to increase the size of the rams without compromising wool quality.
He would continue to do this through stringent selective breeding strategies despite a somewhat difficult lambing season last year.
But if this year's lambing season was anything to go by, Strath-Haddon clients should be excited about next year's sale following a brilliant lambing percentage in the spring.
Despite the significantly smaller Dohne line-up, it too attracted some fairly steady bidding.
It was lot eight of the Strath-Park Dohne stud catalogue which earned itself the top price of $2200.
Father and son duo Alex and Fin Leach, trading as AW Leach & Co, Katanning, were the happy buyers at the final drop of the hammer.
The 101kg ram had a Dohne index of 134.6 and displayed figures of 34 MD, 4 FAT, 19 micron and 21.4 CV and was the buyer's only purchase for the day.
After the bidding Fin Leach said the ram's wool type was what caught his eye while inspecting the line-up earlier in the day.
"Its figures show it's a heavy-cutting ram and its bright, white, well-defined, stylish wool is exactly what we were after," he said.
He was also convinced of the ram's quality after noticing its fat score.
The ram will be placed into the family's Glenlea Dohne stud where it will be mated to a number of the Leach's 450 Dohne breeding ewes.
Landmark sale auctioneer Mark Warren said this year's line-up of Strath-Park Dohne rams carried good bodyweight and size as well as displaying some great wool qualities.
He said loyal and repeat clients demonstrated their belief in the bloodline and purchased some very true and even sheep throughout the day.
Elders Beverley, bidding on behalf of Nukering Pastoral Co, secured the second top-priced Strath-Haddon Merino ram to the tune of $2000.
The 112kg sire displayed figures of 19.1 FD, 18 SP, 3.3 SD, 17.2 CV and 99.8pc CF.
Nukering was also one of the sale's volume Merino buyers after it secured a final total of six rams.
Other bulk buyers from the Strath-Haddon Merino catalogue included JE Kelly, Kojonup, who bought a team of 15; LS Climie & Co, Cranbrook (12): Primaries Katanning, on behalf of John Pickford & Co (11) and RJ Blechynden & Co, Boyup Brook and DC, CF & PD Simmonds, Quairading (10).
Overall 24 of the 33 registered bidders managed to secure themselves rams from the Merino catalogue.
A ram which sold for $2150, eventually secured the second top price in the Dohne portion of the sale.
It displayed a Dohne index of 128.6 and had figures of 35 MD, 4 FAT, 19.4 FD and 16 CV.
Its lucky buyer was Moonies Hill Grazing, Tambellup, and it was the only ram to be purchased by the company throughout the day.
Volume buyers from the Dohne catalogue included CM & EJ Buller, Darkan, who had finalised a team of 13 rams by the end of the sale, Amelup Estate, Amelup (6) and AJ & LC Evans, Kalgan (4).
Eight of the 33 registered bidders helped to clear all but four of the sale Dohnes under the hammer.