WITH precarious times in the sheep industry, it's unlikely for a stud to both increase sale team numbers wth a near clerance.
But that's exactly what happened at the Strath-Haddon ram sale on Monday.
With more than 20 extra rams up for grabs in the Merino section this year, such was the demand for the big, free-growing, stylish-wooled rams, that not only was there nearly a 100 per cent clearance but a very strong average was maintained which was only a touch back on last year.
The Strath-Park Dohne section of the catalogue also blitzed the averages and while there were not as many rams for sale this year the average was way up.
Overall, 160 out of 164 Merinos sold to an average of $1072 (only $81 below last year's average) and all 34 Dohne rams offered, sold to an average of $1353 which was $289 up from last year's result in the Dohnes.
A cracking sale in anyone's book.
Top price in the Merino section this year was a new face in the large list of buyers registered and that was David, Helen and Hayley Simmons, Westview Grazing, Brookton, who paid the sale top of $3650.
David Simmons said that his father had been a client of Strath-Haddon in the days when the stud was known as Haddon-Rigg and that while his family had a history with the stud it was the first time he had purchased at the sale.
"I was really after a sire to use in a nucleus flock from which I breed my own rams," he said.
"I wanted the best I could get and I thought he was a standout in terms of being a big, sirey-type ram with excellent wool.
"His micron, style of wool and overall composition had him up there in our selections."
The Simmons run 1700 Merino ewes with 1000 ewes going back to Merinos and 700 mated to terminal breeds.
The top ram as well as another purchased at the sale, will go over the nucleus flock which comprises about 120 ewes.
The top sire measured 19 micron, 2.9 SD, 15.4 CV, and had 100 per cent comfort factor.
He was also a heavy ram weighing 100kg which was up there with the top end of the sale team.
In the Strath-Park Dohne team, it was a ram right at the end of the catalogue which brought the top money and it was Kevin Watterson, Yuelup Farms, Tenterden, who paid the top price, which was $2000.
A client of Strath-Park since the Dewar family's introduction of the Dohnes into their sale, Mr Watterson said he was looking for sires which truly demonstrated that true Dohne dual-purpose ability performing both on carcase and with their wool.
"Both the rams I bought today were exemplary of the breed's dual-purpose ability," he said.
"They are big rams so they will inject lambs with their carcase traits and their wool characteristics were also excellent."
Mr Watterson runs a 1500-head commercial Dohne flock which he mates back to Merino rams.
The Dohne rams will be used in a self replacing ewe capacity.
Comments from Landmark auctioneer Mark Warren echoed the general positive feel of the sale.
"In the Merinos, the rams really were an outstanding team and considering there were more than 20 extra for sale this year which nearly all sold, it was truly an indicator as to the regard in which the Strath-Haddon rams are held in the commercial flocks of WA," he said.
"For the Dohne section, I think the 100pc clearance to such a high average is indicative of the effort and care Peter has put in keeping the quality of the Dohnes to the highest possible standard.
"Every year they get better.
"Overall, it was just an excellent result."
The rest of the Merino offering was highlighted by both volume buyers as well as buyers who paid top money.
Ticking both of these boxes was sale regular TF & JF De Landgrafft, Ravensthorpe.
A long drive from Ravensthorpe was made worthwhile for the De Landgraffts with the enterprise successfully bidding on 21 rams for which they paid to a top of $2200 and an average of $821.
Another volume buyer who also took home a decent-sized team was Barbiston Pastoral Co, Cranbrook, which paid a top of $1600 and an impressive average of $1160 for 15 Strath-Haddon sires.
Both taking home 11 rams were JE Kelly & Co, Kojonup, and RJ Blechynden, Boyup Brook, who paid an average of $736 and $722 respectively.
DS, CF & PD Simmonds, Quairading, took home 10 rams at the sale paying to a top of $1650 and average of $1010 for their rams.
Paying top money for a single ram purchase on the day was Budgalong Pastoral Co, Borden, which paid the sale's second top price of $3000 for a ram in the first run, while last year's top price buyers GR & B Parsons, West Pingelly, also paid good money for a single ram at $2000.
Continuing in the Dohne offering, aside from the top price ram, the remainder of the sires attracted strong demand and another highlight in the team was CM & EJ Buller, Darkan, paying the equal sale second top price of $1950.
The Bullers purchased a total of six Dohne rams all up to average $1542.
Also paying a substantial average was Amelup Estate, Amelup, which selected five rams and paid to a top of $1950 (equal second top price in the Dohnes) and average of $1710 for the team.
RA McDonald, Newdegate, took home four rams paying $1550, $1250, $1250 and $1150 and there were two people who took home three rams at top money.
This included GP & CM Coffey, Frankland, who averaged $1117 and Uranbah Estate, Tambellup, which paid an average of $1033.
Snapping up the last of the Dohnes, Burnleigh Park bought two sires at $1600 and $1550 while AH Parker Gnowangerup, also bought two paying $1000 and $700.