A STEADY pace and some big orders revived the Avoca Poll Merino ram sale after the season had instilled doubts for stud principals Geoff Willmott and Eric Gossage.
The two key players Scott Richter, Newdegate, and Kevin Penny, Lake King, were enjoying a kind season and made short work of the 45-ram catalogue.
Scott leapt to prominence by taking the $950 top price ram, $850 second top and $700 equal third top price rams and bought 16 rams while Tony Carew-Reid, Wesfarmers Landmark, Dumbleyung, bidding on behalf of KP Penny, was more budget conscious and collected 15 rams for close to the sale's $517 average.
The average represented a $185 increase on last year.
Scott said he was buying normal sire replacements for his 4500-ewe breeding flock while Mr Willmott said his Lake King client had cut back on sires for the past couple of years and the time had come to restock with workers.
The sale presented a reduced yarding of 45 rams and clients were unhesitating in their buying, clearing all but one ram under the hammer. The last one was sold before Elders auctioneer Roger Fris stepped from the rail to reverse the 2000 trend of low prices and clearance.
Mr Gossage was pleased with the result, especially as a number of their clients were in the heart of severely drought-affected country and could only expect average crops at best.
However, with cast-for-age ewes making $40 a head they were much more cofident than he had expected.
Among them was Laurie Pearce, Moulyinning, who bought five rams for between $400 and $500; Brad Ward, Dumbleyung, bought three rams for similar values; Trevor Booth Wagin, bought the $700 equal third top price ram and two other sheep for $450; and Peter Holme, Wagin, bough two rams for $600 and $500.
First time buyer Robert Nalder, Wagin, bought a single ram for $450.