DESPITE it being a quieter sale than last year, Ron and Erica Russell's Pingamup Creek Coolalee ram sale at Jerramungup succeeded in topping last year's top price paid by $100 and the overall average was up by $45.
This time around 48 of the 54 penned rams were sold under the hammer (with the remaining passed in lots sold before the Elders selling team had jumped off the rail) to all 11 registered bidders for a top of $1750 and average of $746.
Renowned for its leanness, rate of gain, ease of lambing, mating effectiveness and hybrid vigour the Russell family's Coolalee flock continues to produce rams for the prime lamb market that are also siring progeny with all the physical attributes to enable commercial producers to turn off sucker lambs very quickly.
And that's exactly what Muntadgin farmers Trevor and Sophie Major do - prompting them to buy six rams including the top-priced ram in pen 26 and the $1650 second top-priced sire in lot five for an average of $1192.
Lot 26's figures uncovered a CarcasePlus index of 150.1 with ASBVs of 91.5 YWT, 8 YFAT and 39.6 YEMD.
Lot five displayed a CarcasePlus index of 148.7 made up of 91 YWT, 6.1 YFAT and 38.6 YEMD.
Mr and Ms Major bought from the catalogue under three trading names (DM & AL Major Farming, TR Major and Sophie Major) on behalf of themselves and son Darren and his family who all farm together at Muntadgin.
At home the family joins Coolalee rams to Prime SAMM ewes every year in a bid to sell early sucker lambs into the market before the bulk of the State's prime lambs begin to come online.
"We sold our Coolalee-Prime SAMM cross lambs before our Prime SAMM lambs straight off their mothers," Mr Major said.
"The Coolalees were sold to Fletchers in the second week of August following a March/April lambing."
John Hunt, who was the losing bidder on the top-priced ram, went on to buy a single sheep on behalf of his friend and neighbour David Corker, Bullco Genetics, Boyup Brook, for $700.
Father and son pair Graham and David Imberti, Emcosh Grazing, Gnowangerup, were the volume buyers with nine for an average of $500, while Elders Jerramungup and Borden branch manager David Halleen, on behalf of Ross Mitchell, RM & D Mitchell, Narrikup, bought eight for an average of $719.
Barry Rick, BD & AM Rick, Newdegate, got seven rams for an average of $786, as did Colin Taylor, EV & I Taylor, Mt Barker, for an average of $693.
Mr Halleen said the catalogue represented some of the best presented rams ever put up by the stud and it continued to improve year on year.
"The Coolalee is certainly an underrated breed considering the young age and weight performance of this year's line-up - many of the rams are only 13 months old and are weighing 90-100 kilograms," he said.
"Clients in this area are turning them off as suckers weeks before other breeds."