THE stars aligned for a blockbuster result at the Button family's 11th annual Manunda Poll Merino ram sale at Tammin last week.
Buoyed by favourable seasonal conditions and strong wool and sheep commodity markets, the strong commercial contingent of regular and new buyers (with some stud interest on the top end) bid accordingly on their selections through to the 270th and final lot.
Over the years, the Button family has steadily increased its sale numbers to meet its strengthening following and give clients a wider selection to choose from, and this year was no exception.
The family offered an outstanding catalogue of 270 quality Poll Merino rams, up from 250 rams last year.
At the end of the three-and-a -half hour marathon auction, the Landmark team, led by young auctioneer Michael Altus, had recorded a total clearance for a mighty average of $1602 and further cemented the Manunda sale as among the country's premier Poll Merino ram sales.
The average jumped $105 compared to last year's strong result where 250 rams sold to average $1497.
With the top-end rams selling to a modest top of $6950, the sale average truly reflected the strength of the sale and highlighted the evenness and depth of quality through the catalogue.
Numerous rams did sell between the $600 and $1000 price toward the back of the sale to give buyers of all budgets an opportunity to access Manunda sires.
The sale returned a gross of more than $430,000 in a deserving result for the Button family who have continued to invest heavily in new genetics for their breeding program including the purchase of Banavie 333 for $60,000 last year and its first crop of sons were well received at this year's sale.
The result caps off an outstanding sale year for the stud following its success at the Rabobank Stud Merino Ram Sale at Katanning last month where it sold 2 rams for $21,000 to the St Quentin stud and South Australian studs Mulloorie and Moorundie Park and $9500 to the Wililoo stud.
Manunda stud principal Wayne Button said it was a positive time in the Merino industry for everyone.
"It was a pretty exciting day for us," Mr Button said.
"We feel humbled by the support we continue to receive from our clients and have done so for a long time.
"This encourages us to do something we really enjoy doing in breeding rams and their support allows us to do that.
"Last year was outstanding and I didn't think we could top that sale but our clients can rest assured that a lot of the money will be reinvested back into our breeding program through ET, AI and sire purchases."
The sale kicked off with a run of 24 regulation March shorn prepared rams selling to a $2923 average and the sale's $6950 top price for the powerful sire penned in lot four.
The ram was an AI son of Banavie 333 with August wool test figures of 19.9 micron, 4.1 SD, 20.6 CV, 98.5 per cent comfort factor and 119pc greasy fleece weight (GFW) with 119pc bodyweight (BW) and +4 eye muscle depth (EMD) against the average of the top 500 ram lambs tested.
The ram was knocked down to regular Manunda buyer Peter Hewlett, Martindale Pty Ltd manager, New Norcia, and will be used over the operation's nucleus ewes to breed their own flock rams.
Mr Hewlett topped up their account with another three rams from $600 to $1800.
Fellow nucleus sire buyer Brian McCreery, TB & SM McCreery, Kalannie, paid $5000 for the sale's opening lot containing a another big ram by AI sire Coromandel Sir Thomas 02.
The ram recorded a 125pc BW and +4 EMD with wool tests of 20.6 micron, 3.3 SD, 16 CV, 99.9pc CF and 112pc GFW.
Mr McCreery said the new sire would join the 100 nucleus ewes to produce working rams for the family's 1900 commercial Merino ewes which are also joined to Prime SAMMs.
He said he liked ram for its size but also placed strong emphasis on its free growing open wool.
The McCreerys have been breeding their own rams for 12 years and this was their second year sourcing sires at Manunda.
They switched to a March shearing earlier this year and have body weighed and micron tested their ewe hoggets for 15 years with a flock average of 20.5 micron.
Other high prices paid at the sale included return Manunda buyer Schorer Nominees, West Pingelly, who collected two rams for $4500 and $2600.
Their top price was paid for a March shorn ram in lot two containing a son of popular WA AI sire Rhamily Benny that tested 21.4 micron, 3.8 SD, 17.8 CV, 99.3pc CF and 112pc GFW and raw data of +132 BW and +4 EMD.
Seven Oaks North stud, Burracoppin, paid the sale's $4400 top price in the non-regulation April shorn team for the first ram offered.
The quality body and wool ram was another Benny son that tested 110pc BW, +1 EMD, 21.1 micron, 3.6 SD, 17.1 CV, 99.1pc CF and 98pc GFW.
The ram in the following pen drew a $4100 bid from 20-year plus clients Innes & Co, Kellerberrin, who went on to build a team of 11 rams.
Their top price was paid for a son of Moorundie Geoffrey that displayed test results of +113 BW, -1 EMD, 22.1 micron, 3.9 SD, 17.6 CV, 97.9pc CF and 109pc CF.
There were a number of buyers that replenished their sire batteries with large teams.
Regular volume ram buyers OV & NK Cail, Kalannie, finished the sale with 19 rams paying from $600 to $1600 and Burra Nominees, Burracoppin, significantly boosted their numbers from last year to 16 rams paying to $2100 twice and from $600.
KJ & RP Siegert, Wongan Hills, returned this year to successfully bid on 15 rams paying from $700 to $2100 and R & K Day, Burracoppin, secured 12 rams paying to $2000 twice.
MM & HE Granich, Moorine Rock, paid among the stronger values for their 12 rams including six from $2000 to $2400 while MA & BJ Szczecinski, Corrigin, KL Tippet & Co, Shackleton, Jonlorrie Farms, York and K & L Clarke, Goomalling, each secured 10 rams.