ABSENT volume buyers made all the difference to the result of the second annual Mollerin Rock Dohne ram sale held at Cadoux recently.
Long-time operators Ian and Steph Longmuir, Koorda, sold the stud last year to father and son team Anthony and Mitchell Applegate for Mitchell to run after he became interested in sheep while attending the WA College of Agriculture, Cunderdin.
The Applegate's first on-property ram sale at Cadoux last year was well supported, but while there were four new buyers among the 15 who purchased rams at last Friday's sale, the 18 who registered to bid was two down on last year.
"Unfortunately for young Mitchell, we had a couple of volume buyers not turn up," said Elders auctioneer Graeme Curry.
"But to his credit as a young stud breeder, he's met the market, taken it on the chin and he'll be back next year bigger and better.
"The rams were well presented but the buyers were very discerning - good sheep, good people, but we didn't have the buyers on the day.
"You send over a million ewes to the east and it is going to impact our sire sales.
"We've seen that throughout the catalogues and we'll continue to see it.
"But the good thing is the Eastern States still want our ewes, so it bodes well for the future."
Buying for an undisclosed Wheatbelt client, former stud principal Ian Longmuir, Kirp Nominees, Koorda, out bid another potential buyer, paying $2500 for the top-priced ram - down $600 on last year's top price.
The 98 kilogram ram, tag number MR190171, had Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVS) Dohne trait indices of 4kg weaner weight (WWT), 5.9kg post weaner weight (PWT) and 7.9kg yearling weight (YWT).
It had index values of 0.6 eye muscle depth (EMD), 14.1 yearling clean fleece weight (YCFW), 0.0 fibre diameter (YFD), 0.5 coefficient of variation (YCV) and an overall Dohne index value of 155.1.
It was the only ram Mr Longmuir purchased and he said he bought it for a client because of its breeding.
"It was the best ram in the yards," Mr Longmuir said.
"It was a different breeding, it was from a Macquarie (New South Wales) ram and there's none of that breeding over here yet.
"It'll suit our client extremely well.
"We bought the sire of this one from Macquarie a couple of years ago."
Regular repeat buyer Andrew Tunstill, AN & E Tunstill, Burakin, claimed the second top-priced ram in the three he took home.
The 105kg ram had ASBV Dohne trait indices of 4.4kg WWT, 5.9kg PWT, 5.8kg YWT, 0.6 EMD, 15.5 YCFW, -0.9 YFD, -0.4 YCV and a Dohne index of 160.9.
"We've been buying Dohnes for a long time and we make sure we buy sheep with good stylish wools, heavy cutting and good bodies and we know these (Mollerin Rock) are good sheep," Mr Tunstill said.
"It's a local sale for us.
"This is probably our 10th year buying them - we bought with Ian and Steph before Anthony and Mitchell."
Quality buyers were WS & ML Metcalf, Dowerin, who took two at $1800 and one at $1500 in their four rams, while Tomalockin Farms, Cunderdin, also bought four rams, with a top of $2000.
Volumes buyers included TA & D Boyne & Sons, Koorda, who took seven rams to a top of $1200.
M & M O'Driscoll, Grass Valley, bought six rams to a top of $1400 and NW Greaves & Sons, Koorda, also bought six, with a top of $1200.
The Applegates offered 100 rams and sold 57 on the day, compared to last year's sale when they cleared 83 out of 100.
A sale average of $1016 was down $259 on last year's sale average.
The Applegates also offered 90 18-month-old ewe hoggets for sale but they were passed in at $110 each.
Anthony Applegate was philosophical about the sale result.
"We think our rams presented pretty well," Mr Applegate said.
"They're early April-May (2019) drop, big framed - we're just trying to follow what Ian did.
"We put a lot of effort in, but we'll be back next year."