VALUES for Poll Merino rams at the Avoca sale took an upward turn to post a $556 average and a $900 top price.
The result was particularly pleasing for studmasters Geoff Willmott and David Gossage, as many clients were based in severely drought-affected areas.
Adding to seasonal difficulties was the fact that three long-term buyers from the Dumbleyung based stud had sold their properties in the past year.
However, remaining clients demonstrated their loyalty paying the top price three times.
Julie Booth, Wagin, buying on behalf of her husband Trevor, had a three-ram shopping list but was successful only on the team leader for $900.
The ram had exceptionally lustrous medium wool and an autumn test of 17.3 microns with a 99.2 percent comfort factor.
It was one of the first progeny that carried a Wallaloo Park influence and the sire's SRS stamp was evident.
Other buyers to pay to top money were Scott and Jason Richter, Newdegate.
The brothers were more subdued than usual in their buying saying the season held little promise for them.
They bought 13 rams and paid some of the higher prices including sheep for $850 and $750 (4).
Peter Holme, Wagin, also paid $900 for a ram from the proven and successful McKenna family and took home six rams.
Peter was pleased to report to the Willmott family he had just sold all but 20 of his 450-wether lamb drop for $45 to a Cranbrook grazier.
The unshorn April May drop lambs had been weaned only three weeks and local Elders representative Paul Keppel estimated they averaged 38 kilograms.
Also delighted with Avoca bloodlines was new client Robert and Brad Nalder, Wagin.
They bought their first Avoca ram last year and apart from preferring the Poll's ease of management the lambs were strikingly bigger and had more bone.
This year they bought six rams and paid up to $800.
On the selling rail was Elders Midland-based auctioneer Jeff Lynn whose efforts cleared 45 of the 60 rams on offer.
But by the end of the day the sale of a further eight rams was negotiated privately.
The $556 under the hammer average was up $39 on last year.
Among the buyers was neighbour Brad Ward who bought three rams looking for free-growing wools on long bodied sheep and paid up to $750 (2); Laurie Pearce, Moulyinning, left a buying order for five rams and paid up to $500; Bob and David Burbridge, Lake Grace, bought five rams for up to $450; and Russell Hall, Dumbleyung, a client of more than 10 years selected three rams for up to $700 and summed up by saying the Avoca quality was excellent value for money.