DESPITE softening on last year's bumper sale result, the Jones family can still 'hang their hat' on the strong results recorded at their Ejanding stud on-property ram sale at Dowerin.
The Ejanding team penned another top catalogue of 180 extensively measured Poll Merino and Merino rams displaying the carcase and wool qualities clients return for every year.
With the stud's loyal band of clients and a couple of new faces, the buyer register listed 40 trading names from the central Wheatbelt to the coastal and northern agricultural regions.
Controlled by the Landmark and Elders selling teams, the sale got off to a flyer with the opening run of 60 Poll Merino rams and the first half of Merinos drawing plenty of spirited competition.
But the absence of some buyers and reduced buying orders from last year on the back of a late start to the season and a dry finish, saw competition weaken toward the back end of the sale, allowing producers of all budgets to fill their requirements while 15 rams were overlooked at auction.
Following the 180th and final lot, the Ejanding team had sold a total of 165 rams (92 per cent) under the hammer and recorded a solid overall average of $1748.
This was back $223 on last year's sale average where 171 of 180 rams (95pc) sold at auction to average $1971.
Broken down the bigger numbers of Poll Merinos reclaimed the average stakes from their horned stable mates with 120 of 125 rams (96pc) selling at auction to average $1828.
This was marginally back by $94 from last year where 122 of 125 (98pc) poll rams sold to average $1922.
The line-up of 55 Merino rams felt the biggest pinch with 45 of 55 rams (82pc) selling for an average of $1536, down $556 on last year's sale where 49 of 55 rams (89pc) sold to average $2092.
Values reached only modest top prices of $3600 for the Poll Merinos and $2800 which augers well for an average price reflective of the consistent solid sale result.
When the original top ram catalogued in lot six couldn't be considered for sale, Brett Jones decided to release a stud reserve as its replacement.
This came as a pleasant surprise to repeat stud buyers David and Mason Millsteed, Mocardy stud, Wongan Hills, who happily bid to the sale's $3600 top price for the top class Poll Merino ram.
The 107kg regulation February shorn son of Ejanding Felix 16-7089 displayed August wool tests of 20 micron, 3.8 SD, 19 CV, 61.2pc yield and 99.3pc comfort factor (CF) and scanned 37.5mm EMD and 3.4mm fat.
It also recorded ASBVs that ranked in the top 10pc of Australia for YCFW, YWT, DP and MP indexes.
David said they intended to be spectators at this year's sale but were fortunate to be given the opportunity to purchase an Ejanding stud reserve he described as a 'good all-rounder.'
"Long stapled wool and is a quicker maturing sheep which is unusual for that sought of wool," he said.
"Excellent growth rate as a one-year-old, top 10pc for wool cut and had the second highest ASBV for staple length in the sale team."
The sale's $2800 top-priced Merino occurred from the outset with long-time Ejanding supporter Ian Kerr and family, IA & CA Kerr, Coorow, nodding to the top bid for the team leader.
The big 124kg ram was by Ejanding Kenny 16-7085 with wool tests of 20.5 micron, 3.5 SD, 17.1 CV, 73.4pc yield and 99.3pc CF and scanned 36.5mm EMD and 4.6mm fat.
It also ranked in the top 10pc for YWT ASBV and DP index.
The Kerr family finished the sale with a total of five Merino rams and two Poll Merino rams, costing $3000 and $2800.
Ian, who farms with wife Christine and son Aaron and partner Holly Bride and their children Isabella and Regan, said his father first started buying rams at Ejanding believed to be more than 60 years ago.
The family joins 2300 September shorn Merino ewes to Merino rams with the majority of the 6000 current total sheep numbers run at their Badgingarra property with their orange tag ewes on agistment at Gingin.
Ian said they selected for bigger frames and freer growing white wool and with their sheep run from Coorow to the high rainfall area of Gingin, is testimony to the type of sheep and its wools produced at Ejanding.
Consistent buyer at the top-end of the Ejanding market Adam Metcalfe, John Metcalfe & Son, Dowerin, paid to $2900 and averaged a healthy $2483 for six Poll Merino rams.
Adam said he had increasingly utilised ASBVs as a selection tool with a focus on fleece weight, yearling weight and overall dual purpose index.
He took up Ejanding stud's free service of being provided with an average of their current sire group and was pleased his selection focus was demonstrated in the results.
The Metcalfe family's Ejanding sire battery purchased from 2014 to 2018 had average ASBVs of 20.2 YCFW, 7.4 YWT and 142 DP index compared to this year's sale team average of 16.5 YCFW, 7 YWT and 140 DP.
Adam said he planned to DNA test his ewe hoggets this year to "see where we are at nationwide".
Other higher prices paid at the sale include Bov Saeda paying to $3300 for one of two Poll rams.
Penned in lot 14, the 107kg son of Ejanding 16-7085 displayed tests of 21.6 micron, 3.9 SD, 18.1 CV, 99.1pc CF and 73.6pc yield while scanning 3.7mm fat and 38mm EMD with ASBVs in the top 10pc for YEMD and DP index.
Consistent buyers the Sparkman family, Shannandale Pty Ltd, Perenjori, didn't require the high volume of rams seen at previous sales, but still paid strong values for their four Poll rams, topping at $3200 early on for lot nine.
The 105kg ram was another 16-7085 son with ASBVs in the top 10pc for YWT and both MP and DP indexes.
It tested 21.6 micron, 3.3 SD, 15.3 CV, 99.7pc CF and 71.7pc yield and scanned 3.2mm fat and 39mm EMD.
Volume contributors at this year's sale were Livestock & Land's Aaron Caldwell, Landmark Kellerberrin/Cunderdin, representing regular buyer of numbers W Emmott & Sons, Moonijin, tallying an account with 13 Poll rams costing from $700 to $1600.
Elders Wongan Hills agent Jeff Brennan, buying for another consistent volume buyer J & AJ Brennan, Wongan Hills, secured 12 Poll rams paying from $700 to $1600 for their selections.
Mr Brennan also filled an order of eight Poll rams for Mardening Pty Ltd, bidding to $1500.
RE & WK Jones, Dowerin, paid a healthy average of $1814 and to $2200 for seven Merino rams, B & E King, Latham, operated at value for their nine Merino rams, paying from $700 to $1400, while IT Leeson & Co, Goomalling, added two Poll rams to a team of six Merino rams bidding to $2400 for their selections.