KANANGRA Hills' reputation as a source of top quality Poll Dorsets received a boost at the stud's on-property ram sale east of Manjimup.
In the four years it has been selling rams at auction it has been strongly supported by locals, but this year the secret was out with two eastern Wheatbelt buyers among the crowd seeking big, long, heavy, well-structured rams.
At last week's sale prices topped at $1900 three times when another first time buyer - this time from the South West - Sam and Carolyn Mallett, Boyup Brook, outbid established clients to get all three at the top price as well as another for $1300 to use in their commercial prime lamb flock.
Ms Mallett said they were planning to join about 1000 ewes to Poll Dorsets and decided to buy at Kanangra Hills after their previous ram source Pine Avenue was dispersed.
The flock came highly recommended by their local Landmark representative Adam Becker and after looking at the figures on the rams they came to the sale to see if they measured up in the flesh.
"They were very impressive rams in terms of length and width," Ms Mallett said.
Each of their rams created strong competition because of their exceptionally big eye muscle measurements - a trend that was noticeable throughout the sale.
Three of the Malletts' group of rams had the highest Stockscan eye muscle area measurements in the catalogue ranging from 41.2mm2 to 41.6mm2.
However, the heaviest ram in the offering, weighing in at a massive 137 kilograms, was not among them.
This giant sold for $1700 and was one of five $1700 rams among the 14 bought by repeat buyer Helen Robertson and son Wayde, Boyup Brook, for a $1379 average.
In previous years the sale has hinged on the massive buying support from David and Anthony Hallett, Boyup Brook, who run 10,000 breeding ewes in their prime lamb enterprise.
The men have required up to 70 rams annually which are mainly sourced from Kanangra Hills.
This year they bought 30 at auction, fewer than usual but five new buyers filled the void.
They paid up to $1700 (3) with Anthony Hallett saying there were benefits in buying the better quality rams.
With such a big annual requirement he said they had considered breeding their own sires but managing the extra work was a challenge especially at this time of year, when they were constantly busy weighing and drafting their commercial lambs for consignment.
The other buyer to extend to $1700 was RL & HM Tuckett, Tone Bridge, who bid to $1700 four times as they put together a nine-ram team that included many selected for their large eye muscle measurements.
Clayton Simcock, Manjimup, struck early to get five rams all at $1600 and was another prominent buyer.
Primaries auctioneer Neil Foale said he'd been to a few ram sales this year and he was in no doubt the Kanangra Hills line-up was the best he'd seen, saying their strength was in their length.
It was clear he enjoyed selling an upbeat sale for vendors who were enthusiastic about an "absolutely Hollywood" line-up.
The phrase was coined by stud principal Lyndsay Phillips who said the drier than usual season had benefited the rams which were on average 10kg heavier than last year.
"We are calling it our ripper sale and hopefully we can breed more like it next year," Ms Phillips said.
Much of the offering was by Shirlee Downs, Dongadilling and Willow Park sires over a ewe flock with a background of Pine Avenue and Hillcroft Farms.
With a further investment in new genetics this year, the stud was aiming to continue the impetus of recent years while also increasing breeding ewe numbers.
This year 108 rams were offered including eight March 2015 drop ram lambs of which 104 sold under the hammer and two sold privately after the auction.
The rams averaged $1150, up $246 on last year.
The second half of the sale gave buyers an opportunity to buy at more affordable levels and noticeable in this area was first time buyer Blackwood Grazing, Karridale, which bought eight.
The ram lamb offering, trialled for the first time last year, found good support with one ram lamb selling to a $1000 high to Ian Bayles, Glen Meadow stud, Boyup Brook.
Mr Bayles said for a March-drop ram lamb it was extremely well grown with good length and smoothness through the shoulders.
Although he had ticked off a couple of early rams he wanted the younger, smaller sheep to use over a small line of 35 maiden ewes.
Landmark sale co-ordinator Adam Becker said it was another outstanding line-up of rams and a credit to the Phillips family.
"The five new buyers helped to increase the average and it was a good result and a credit to the family who are prepared to spend good money to buy good genetics," Mr Becker said.