SOUTH African originated dual purpose breeds performed admirably this ram selling season, despite results being slightly down across all indicators.
With reduced ewe numbers pressured by the ordinary start to the season in large parts of the State and a softened wool market during the selling season, like other breeds they faced their share of challenges.
But buoyed by strong lamb and sheep meat markets, producers preferring the dual purpose breeds continued to invest strongly in their breeding programs.
This year, a total of 1352 Dohne and Prime SAMM rams were offered at auctions throughout WA with 1069 rams selling under the hammer at a clearance rate of 79 per cent.
Ram numbers offered were down 217 head and down 226 head for rams sold.
The two breeds returned a gross of $1,396,700 to average $1307 overall.
Last year's combined results saw 1569 rams offered and 1295 rams sold (83pc) to gross $1,737,000 and average $1341.
With fewer ram numbers offered and sold, this year's gross returns dropped $340,300 while the overall average was back $34, showing buyers were still prepared to pay for their rams of choice.
Given the challenges faced this season, the State's Dohne breeders posted strong overall results, particularly when compared to the previous decade.
While rams sold were down to the second lowest in the past 10 years, breeders recorded the second highest average and third highest gross for this period.
In 2019, 10 Dohne breeders collectively offered 913 rams at auction, mostly at standalone stud sales and a couple of multi-vendor sales.
At the end of selling, 744 rams were sold under the hammer at a clearance rate of 81pc.
Rams sold to an average of $1397, which was back by $34 on last year's result after the breed had gradually grown their average annually over the past decade.
Last year, the highest amount of Dohne rams were offered in the past 10 years with 881 of the 1048 rams (84pc) offered selling at auction to average $1431.
Individual sale results showed a majority of fixtures were back on average compared to last year.
But a few sales bucked this trend and none more so than the Chirniminup stud, Nyabing, boosting its average by $425.
Other studs to improve their average was the Harold Park stud, Carnamah, by $142, C-View stud at the Esperance Breeders sale by $82 and the Denvale stud, Mt Barker, by $38.
In addition to Chirniminup's average of $2013, another stud to post an average more than the overall breed average was the Kintail Park stud, Jerramungup, at $1411.
These were the two highest stud averages for the year with the Far Valley stud, Arthur River, at $1325 and the Mollerin Rock stud, Cadoux, under its new owners at $1275, the next highest averages.
Chirniminup also recorded the biggest sale of the year with a 100pc clearance of 177 rams seeing a gross of $356,300 followed by Kintail Park that sold 98 of 138 rams to gross $138,300 with the Koobelup stud, Katanning and Mollerin Rock sales grossing more than $100,000 from 100 rams or more offered.
Four other sales notched up clearance rates more than 80pc.
This season's top Dohne ram price was sold at the Far Valley sale for $4500.
The ram was purchased by Cameron White, Woodlands Grazing Co, Mukinbudin - and had ASBVs of 1.1 MWWT, 5.0 WWT, 6.4 PWWT, 8.2 YWT, 0.7 YFAT, 1.1 YEMD, -0.6 YFD, 0.2 YFDCV, 11.2 YCFW, NLW% 13pc and 182.3 Dohne index.
The next highest price of $4000 was bid at two sales.
The Kintail Park stud was first up selling its ram to Justin Edwards, RM & TF Edwards, Ravensthorpe.
The ram had wool figure ASBVs of -0.7 for FD, 12.5 for YCFW and -0.1 for YCV and for carcase measurements the essential growth figures were 4.1 for WWT, 5.8 for YWT, 1.6 for MWWT and 0.2 for YFAT.
The $4000 top price at the Glenlea sale was purchased by Glenlea client Simon and Danny Chitty, SM & NL Chitty, Goomalling.
This ram had ASBV figures of 4.25 WWT, 5.37 PWWT, 1.69 YEMD, 17.55 YCFW, 0.50 YFD and 174.54 for Index.
Unfortunately the Prime SAMM breed has felt the heaviest impact of producers' swing in preferences with ram numbers offered in the State on a steady decline from the heights of 2010 when more than 2000 rams were offered.
But like their Dohne counterparts, buyers are still prepared to pay for their new sires recording the breed's third highest average this year since 2009.
Overall 439 Prime SAMM rams were offered by seven studs this year with 325 rams sold under the hammer at a 74pc clearance rate with all bar one, at on-property fixtures.
Breeders grossed a combined $357,500 under the hammer at an average of $1100, down on last year's result by $51.
Last year saw 414 of 521 rams sold at auction (79pc) to gross $476,550 and average $1151.
Individually, a number of sales achieved improved averages to help firm the breed's overall figure.
Posting the biggest increase was the Kerin family's Ashbourne stud, Katanning, by $174 while the Tiarra/Uralla stud, Lake Grace and the Glenelg stud, Borden, also lifted their sale average by $96 and $72 respectively.
The Tiarra/Uralla stud led the average stakes recording $1308 followed by the Ashbourne stud at $1145, the Royston stud, Napier, at $1123 and the Shirlee Downs stud, Quairading, at $1078 which were also the studs to achieve figures above the breed average.
The biggest sale of the season was the Tiarra/Uralla stud with an offering of 106 rams with 102 rams selling at auction to gross $133,400.
The Sandown stud, Badgingarra and the Royston stud offered the next biggest teams of rams with catalogues of 80 and 78 rams respectively and while Tiarri/Uralla also led the clearance rates, the Sandown and Ashbourne studs recorded clearance rates of more than 80pc.
This year's $3300 top-priced Prime SAMM ram honours was shared by the Ashbourne and Sandown studs.
The Ashbourne ram was purchased by Allan Guthrie, Busselton, who has been running Prime SAMMs for 30 years.
The ram had above average figures including a bodyweight of 104kg, 44.4mm eye muscle, 8.3mm fat, 19.7 micron and 99.6pc comfort factor.
The top-priced Sandown ram was snapped up by Primaries of WA Badgingarra agent, Greg Wootton, on behalf of CJ Squiers and Sons, Shirlee Downs stud, Quairading.
The big ram exhibited ASBVs of 9.3 YWT, 2.49 EMD, 1.03 FAT, 22.3 micron, 99.5pc comfort factor and a W/grade of 10.