LONG-TIME commercial Kintail Park clients, father and son duo Ray and Justin Edwards, RM & TF Edwards, Ravensthorpe, demonstrated just how deeply their loyalty to the Jerramungup-based Dohne stud runs by paying $6800 for a ram last Thursday.
The sale-topping price more than doubled last year's top price of $3300 when all 115 rams were snapped up for an average of $1693.
This year stud co-principal Rhys Parsons and his family took a slightly different approach by increasing their offering to 139 head in a bid to make sure all interested parties walked away with their desired lots.
The change in tactic saw 127 rams sold for an average of $1663 and gross of $211,150.
The Edwards family is no stranger to having its top price photo taken at Kintail Park's annual sale, having snapped up last year's top-priced ram as well.
This year Ray and Justin had their eyes set on five young rams in the first 11 pens and were prepared to pay top dollar for them.
The lot 11 top-priced sire attracted plenty of attention before, during and after the sale with Glenlea Dohne stud principal Alex Leach, Katanning, putting up a strong fight when it came to the bidding.
In the end the Edwards family secured their five chosen lots for an average of $3270.
The top-priced, April drop, twin, grade R sire was the result of a natural mating and displayed an index of 131.
It had ASBVs of 0.4 MWWT, 3.3 WWT. 4.9 YWT, -0.8 YEMD, -0.2 YFat, 11.8 YCFW, -0.7 YFD and -0.1 YCV.
A promising season for sheep at Ravensthorpe has seen Ray and Justin retain a few more than their usual 1200 F1 to F4 Dohne ewes (with the first of the farm's purebred Dohne progeny born last year).
Last year the Edwards family marked 117 per cent lambs and in order to achieve outstanding lamb quality they look to purchase big, solid and square rams from Kintail Park each year.
The family's keen eye for wool production also means it selects rams with promising wool characteristics.
The top-priced ram will be mated to 70-80 of the Edwards family's better nucleus ewes.
"We wanted those five rams and were prepared to pay for them," Ray said.
"We got lucky and under paid for a couple of the others so still had money in the budget to push hard for lot 11."
The sale's $3300 second top-priced ram was bought by Greg Dorrell, Dorrell Enterprises, Narrikup, who was on the phone to his father during the bidding.
The lot eight April drop ram was also a twin and the result of a natural mating.
It measured an R final grade, with ASBVs of 2.0 MWWT, 4.4 WWT, 5.4 YWT, 3.4 YEMD, 1.0 YFat, 10.5 YCFW, 0.0 YFD, -1.9 YCV and 190 index.
It was the Dorrell family's only purchase for the day and will also be used over a selection of the farm's better nucleus ewes.
By the end of the first run Landmark auctioneer Mark Bradbury, had amassed $79,000 for the Parsons family and the average price of a ram was $2135.
Volume buyers included plenty of familiar faces and long-time Kintail Park clients like Marg Lester and her son Mark, RE & ML Lester and Sons, Jerramungup.
The pair secured themselves a team of 10 rams from the top end of the catalogue for an average of $1815, while brothers David and Tim Pyle, Jeff Pyle & Co, Manypeaks and MA & MF Plunkett, Albany, purchased in the middle and latter stages of the sale.
They bought 12 and 11 rams each for an average of $1279 and $932 respectively.
Long-time client RL Cake & Co, Gairdner, also took home an outstanding team of eight for an average of $1387.
As usual AW Rout & Co, Albany, secured themselves a solid team of seven for an average of $1843, while CJ South & Co, Wagin and JM Leenhouwers, Bremer Bay, purchased six apiece.
BR O'Neill, Ongerup, RW & JM Ditchburn, Kukerin and AJ & LC Evans, Kalgan, loaded up their utes with five apiece while Falom Pty Ltd, Esperance, MM & MJ Johnston & Son, Boyup Brook, NWE & LWG Harding, Boyup Brook, RW & CI Crombie, Corrigin, Marshall Hood & Co, Kojaneerup, Yuelup Farms, Tenterden, I & C McCallum, Esperance, GC & SM Mitchell, Esperance and Bridger Pty Ltd, Ravensthorpe, bought four head each.
Six other buyers went home with one or two rams on their utes.
This year Kintail Park also offered KP143138 - a structurally very sound stud sire with well-nourished, long-stapled and stylish wool.
KP143138 is the son of KP111216 which is currently ranked number four on the Dohne sire list.
Its half-brother KP132345 is ranked second.
The Parsons family decided to offer the rising three-year-old stud sire for sale because it was at the point of having to be put back over its daughters within the breeding cycle at Kintail Park.
Of the ram Dohne breed pioneer Cameron McMaster said it was a perfect example of the Dohne breed.
"He exhibits the ideal to which Dohne breeders aspire with an outstanding balance between wool and carcase qualities," he said.
Mr Bradbury kicked off the bidding at $15,000 but the ram was passed in for its reserve of $8000.
After the sale Kintail Park co-principal Rhys Parsons couldn't thank the stud's clients enough and said he was happy to have rams passed in if it meant all buyers went home with their desired lots.
"That was the plan when we decided to put more rams up for auction this year," he said.
"All the rams have stood up well to the weather and it has showed in the buying support.
"To have a top price of $6800 paid by a commercial client is very rewarding - it reassures us that we are taking our sheep in the right direction when it comes to our breeding aims."
Auctioneer Mark Bradbury said the extremely even nature of this year's line-up was reflected in the sale's solid result.
"It was a red hot sale and fantastic that $6800 was paid for a single ram by a commercial breeder," he said.
"With that said, it was a very good ram with extremely good wool characteristics - it was the one standout ram in the line-up.
"All in all the sale result was a reflection of how Dohnes are performing in the WA livestock business."