THE Hyfield ram sale at Kojonup continued to flourish with leaps in both average and clearance under the Helmsman auction system.
It was declared by John Wirth from Wesfarmers Landmark as the most successful and boisterous Helmsman sale he had ever commentated with a $2050 top price and an overall $487 average for 146 rams sold.
For the second successive year local farmer Geoff Gale and Peter and Pauline Bunker, Kendenup, set their sights on the same sheep and from start to finish the clerks continually rewrote the price.
The ram's figures were 20.5 microns with a 2.9 standard deviation, 14.2 CV and a 99.65 comfort factor from an OFDA2000 September 3 test and Geoff cited wool quality as the main reason for buying.
He also bought last year's top seller for $1725 which had done well and the new ram will be worked in tandem in his ram-breeding nucleus flock.
In their third year of buying at Hyfield, the Bunker family settled for three rams bought for $1100 (2) and $425.
The $1450 second top price and the $1250 top price for a Poll went to South Australian sheep classer Stephen Reynolds from Murray Town.
Buying on behalf of seven clients, he bid on 45 rams altogether and finished with 23.
This year he was joined by three other South Australians including Brendan Reynolds who bought 31 rams including 11 Polls; Norm Joppich from Naracoorte, five Polls; and first time buyers Darren and John Smith, Carrieton, who bought 15 rams including two Polls.
Group spokesman Stephen Reynolds said the soft white Hyfield wool type fitted processors' requirements and held up regardless of age. He said some of the rams were run in hard country but they had the quality, constitution and bone required for the job.
He said the sheep flock in South Australia was in transition from the traditional strong wool type to finer, better quality wool and they were seeking sheep with a strong genetic background to change more rapidly.
Hyfield stud master Kevin Keatley reaffirmed his support for the Helmsman system saying the initial idea had been to sell more rams and it had worked.
He had anticipated the increased interest this year and was especially pleased with the high clearance of the Poll sheep.
"It is something we will stick with - it works, you can control averages and clients like it," he said.
Mr Wirth also was delighted with the result saying the Helmsman auction could be a bit boring but this one had produced some absorbing tussles between buyers.
The sale offered 190 rams and had a 77pc clearance rate compared with a 58pc clearance of 182 rams last year.
The average for the 146 rams sold was $487 up from $419 last year and this year 14 rams exceeded the $1000-mark compared with two last year.
Local buyers also made their mark on the result with neighbour Eric Wright buying 17 Polls for up to $425.
Other main buyers were Mark Johnson, Oglivie, who bought three rams for $1200, $1100 and $1050 and Frank Mitchell, Wagin, bought five rams for $1100, $1075, $1000, $775 and $500.
Paying lesser values but still with significant influence was Dan Radford, Kojonup, seven rams; and RC & D Kowald and GH & M Kowald, both from Kojonup who bought six rams each.
An offering of 450 commercial ewe hoggets also exceeded expectation at $62.50 and was bought by Morgan Brothers, Cranbrook, for a likely joining to terminal sires.
Five pens of cast-for-age stud ewes cleared by the end of the day but only one pen of 10 Poll ewes sold at auction for $56 a head to Dan Hansbury, Kojonup. He later bought a second pen of 10 Polls privately. The three other pens of Merino ewes were negotiated privately by Dennis Haddrick, Toorackie stud, Williams, for an undisclosed price.