WOOLLY wethers made a resounding $87.50 to make the Wesfarmers Landmark Katanning June special sheep sale the best in years.
In a quick spate of bidding, it was a commercial wool producer that won out over live export buyers to demonstrate that confidence, at least in some areas, was returning to the wool industry.
The 310 September shorn white tag wethers offered by Chris and Eric Patterson, Woolkabin stud, Katanning, were everything a sheepman could wish for.
They had the presentation, scale and wool cut to tempt a premium from Young and Connell farm manager Geoff Reed, Williams.
The property runs a flock of 2700 wethers with replacements bought in annually from the Katanning sale.
They bought the line because they were big frame sheep with good wool cutting ability.
"Hopefully the price of shippers will stay at this level and we will be in front when we sell them in four years time," Geoff said.
The line was offered third and was a turning point for values, that saw graziers dig deep to show their appreciation of well bred quality wool cutters by outbidding exporters on nearly all the highest price lines.
Among them was the $82 second top price draft of 629 from Peter and Kay Potter, Dunbar Farms, Katanning, paid by retired Wallinar stud principal Mervyn Hardie for his Boddington property.
The sheep had an October shearing and were bred on Wallinar lines. Mervyn said he was having a good season and needed the numbers to adequately stock the farm.
It was an great result for the Potter family and by the end of the day, $80-plus proved to be a benchmark price.
Wesfarmers Landmark auctioneer Mark Warren was delighted to see graziers prepared to pay premiums and said annual vendors who had renowned wool sheep were rewarded.
The agent presented 14,940 sheep - including 1685 ewes - and the sale gross just failed to reach the $1 million milestone. The overall tally was $975,370. Wesfarmers Landmark achieved an overall average of $65.29, with ewes averaging $58.75 and wethers $66.27.
The equal third top price in the Wesfarmers Landmark offering was $78.50 paid by Kevin Lavender, Moojatting Springs, Williams, for 378 September shorn Craigmore blood white tag wethers from Eric Kowald, Katanning.
Horrie and Graeme Murdock, Pingrup, experiencing a seriously dry season, also sold at $78.50, with their 653 September shorn Woolkabin blood wethers goling to Al Mukarish.
A highly rated line of 474 September shorn Lewisdale Corrigin blood wethers from Phil Ivey, Bodallin, sold for $74 to Al Mukarish.
In the Autumn shorn category, NC Flugge & Co, Katanning, sold 641 January shorn St Quentin blood wethers to a top of $68.50. The draft split between Alan Berry Contractors, Katanning, and the underbidder H Wolfe & Co, Albany, who paid $68.
Another class line among the autumn shorn sheep was offered by AD & SE Duncan, Ravensthorpe, who put up 658 February shorn Cranmore blood wethers that sold for $67.50 to George Church, Kojonup.
Also noteworthy were Jenson Holdings' 448 March shorn Nepowie blood wethers from Pingaring that sold for $66 to Emanuel Exports.
The ewe yarding included two genuine lines with 234 September shorn Boonoke blood white tag ewes from Kerry and Allan Shaddick, Needilup, topping the sale at $75.
They were bought by Heggarton Family Trust, Kojonup - a prolific ewe buyer throughout the year.
Craig Heggarton, who also runs Genstock breeding centre, said the season had allowed him to buy and he was keen to keep the sheep as a replacement line for his own breeding program.
He paid the $68 second top price for 104 September shorn Eastville Park blood ewes trucked from Kulin by CJ & EJ Robertson.
The complete drop of Ball Farming's 409 March shorn Sunnyview blood ewes from Katanning made $58 and went to Pingrup farmer Trevor Badger.
The best of the autumn shorn lines fetched $67.50 and were bought by PA Carter, Williams, from CR & JA Hemley, Wickepin.
They had a February jacket and Rondalea breeding.