WOOLKABIN clients roll up to the stud's annual on-property Merino and Poll Merino ram sale at Woodanilling year-after-year, willing to pay for fresh genetics with the quality wool the stud is known for.
The 2019 sale showed no signs of differing from that standard last Thursday when a full crowd of loyal bidders pushed the sale to another total clearance, a top price of $8000 and a combined average of $1914 across the line-up of 40 Merinos and 173 Poll Merinos.
The average was back from the astounding result posted last year at $2341, but there were no complaints to be heard, with a very firm sale throughout the day a testament to the evenness of rams on offer.
Elders stud stock auctioneer Nathan King said it was another very strong sale for the Patterson family.
"Firstly the clearance was very, very good with 100 per cent sold," Mr King said.
"And though the sale average was down, I'd add that it was largely a result of the first row being back on last year.
"The interest from commercial buyers throughout the sale kept the competition up and as a result the sale was very strong.
"Most of those buyers are also long-term clients of Woolkabin, which speaks volumes on the quality and performance in the paddock of the Woolkabin sheep."
Woolkabin stud co-principal Chris Patterson said after the sale that they weren't surprised by the result.
"We were expecting the sale to be a bit down and we were really happy with how it went," Mr Patterson said.
"The clearance was obviously fantastic and we were glad to again see plenty of returning clients.
"More pleasing than anything really was the rise in the wool price this week which means good things for everyone."
After a few years of Poll Merinos in the spotlight, last week's competition was strongest over a horned Merino in lot 33 which sold to first time Woolkabin buyer, Wongamine Grazing Co, Northam, for the sale top-price of $8000 after the bidding was opened at $3000.
Glenn Smith, who made the trip to Woodanilling to buy one ram on behalf of his family, said he was pleased to have been able to secure the first Merino to be offered on the day.
"This is the first time we've bought from Woolkabin, I guess we're diversifying a little bit," Mr Smith said.
"With that said, the ram we've picked out is of a similar style, size and bloodline to what we have at home."
The Smith family mated 5000 Merino ewes this year, including a nucleus flock from which they breed their own rams.
"This ram will go in with the nucleus ewes," Mr Smith said.
"I liked his nice white, bright wool and he's just a big, proud sire which I think will complement the rams and ewes in our program."
The top-priced ram tipped the scales at 124 kilograms bodyweight with wool test results including 19.4 micron, 2.8 SD, 14.4 CV, 99.7 per cent comfort factor (CF) and a greasy fleeceweight of 7.5 kilograms.
At the top end of the Poll Merino offering, long-time Woolkabin client JA Kowald & O Kowald, Moonyoonooka, returned to the sale to buy the top and second top-priced Polls of the day at $6000 and $5500 respectively.
Woolkabin stud consultant Bruce Cameron said the stud had had a long and close association with the Kowalds who were familiar with the standard of wool breed by the Patterson family.
"They have been having tremendous success with the quality wool they buy from Woolkabin and Jeff (Kowald) is a very proud stockman so he was absolutely delighted to be able to buy quality rams once again," Mr Cameron said.
"He came to buy just two rams today and he said he thought the two he was able to buy were the best two rams in the shed."
The $6000 top-priced Poll had a bodyweight of 124kg and wool test figures including 20.7 micron, 2.8 SD, 13.5 CV, 99.6pc CF and 7.7kg GFW, while the $5500 second top-priced Poll and third top-priced ram overall weighed 102.5kg with wool test results of 19.7 micron, 2.9 SD, 14.7 CV, 99.8pc CF and 6.3kg GFW.
Again the trading name Julstroy Farm, Lake King, was read out several times during the day, including for the very first ram of the sale, as the long-time clients made their way back to the top end of the volume buyers list.
The operation runs 6000 Merino breeding ewes with Woolkabin blood working in the flock for many years.
"We were just chasing big bodied sheep that can cut a lot of wool," Rod Turpin said.
"It's all about filling bales and we've been having success with the Woolkabin rams which is why we come back each year."
Mr Turpin bought a total of 19 sires for the Julstroy Farm account, averaging $2826 which included a top of $5200 paid for the ram in lot 32 with wool test results including 20.1 micron, 3.0 SD, 14.9 CV, 99.5pc CF and 6.5kg GFW.
Westmere Farming, Williams, also returned to buy numbers, with a team of 20 sires heading home with them for an average of $1835 and including a top of $2500 twice.
Hunt Partners, Coorow, was another familiar name being written into the books on several Merino pens throughout the day.
Bruce Cameron held the Hunt bidding card as per usual and finished the day with a team of 10 Merinos to send north for an average of $2360 and a top of $3900.
Mr Cameron said following a few years with Woolkabin blood working within their flock, the Hunts were enjoying positive results.
"They're chasing the true stylish and well nourished wool Woolkabin is known for," he said.
"They've been extremely happy so far with the wool quality and lambing percentages they've been able to achieve which is why they bought again this year."
Buyers came from the north at places like Moonooyooka, Mingenew and Coorow to buy at Woodanilling last week, but they also came up from the South Coast, among them Jeremy and John Walker, Green Range.
Their family has been buying from Woolkabin for 40 years, chasing heaving cutting, white wools for their 5000 breeding ewes.
They finished their day of buying with a team of 11 sires, including Polls and Merinos, to an average of $1955 and a top of $4300 for a Poll bought early in the day.
Koorda-based GW & N Fuchsbichler tallied up 15 Polls and Merinos at $800 apiece, while Howatson Family Trust, Bridgetown, took home 10 to average $2480.
Nullawill Trading landed a team of 15 averaging $1707 while AW & RE Bowring, Brookton, bought nine to average $1000.
Katanning-based MC & HM Harris bought six to average $2717 and Kojonup-based TR & PT Ettridge also bought six and paid an average of $1517.
There were plenty of other buyers who managed to land themselves teams of Woolkabin rams by the end of the day as well, proving the crowd wasn't just eagerly rolling up for the mouth watering selection of salads, cakes and, of course, the glazed Christmas ham which has become almost as famous over the years as the Woolkabin Merinos themselves.