AN improved clearance and average sealed a highly successful result for the Thompson family at the 18th annual Moojepin Merinos on-property ram sale at Katanning.
Strong local and Eastern States' support on AuctionsPlus combined to defy this ram selling season's general downward trends amid the challenging seasonal and market conditions.
Moojepin's loyal following joined some new faces and enjoyed inspecting the even line-up of extensively measured, plain bodied, defined white woolled rams in their new haltered penning format.
And when the 136th and final ram had been sold by the Nutrien Livestock selling team, auctioneer Michael Altus had cleared all bar two rams (99 per cent) under the hammer for an impressive average of $2269.
All sale indicators pointed north from last year's sale after selling an additional 10 rams at auction with the average spiking by $67.
Last year's sale saw 124 of 131 rams (95pc) sell under the hammer to a new sale record top price of $12,500 and an average of $2202.
The sale was interfaced on AuctionsPlus which was influential throughout the sale to set a new WA record for the number of lots sold online in a single interfaced stud sale, but was broken later the same day at another WA ram sale.
All up 52 rams were knocked down to the online platform, costing anywhere from $1000 to the sale's second top price of $5250.
Following 1635 catalogue views, AuctionsPlus recorded 47 registered bidders from New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and the Northern Territory, resulting in 325 online bids placed across 90 lots to see 52 rams sell online for an average of $2197 to buyers from SA, Victoria and NSW.
Moojepin stud co-principal Hamish Thompson said the interest from local and Eastern States' producers has been overwhelming.
"To have such strong Eastern States and local support resonates we are on the right track," Mr Thompson said.
"It hasn't been an easy season locally with feed and water seeing truckloads of WA ewes crossing the border along with the wool market being down.
"To receive such strong local support is hugely positive."
After paying the sale's record top price last year, consistent top-end buyers at Moojepin, Kane Page and family, KJ & RJ Page, Pingelly, returned to claim the sale's $7250 top-priced ram standing in lot eight.
The triplet born, 15 micron son of sire Moojepin 160003 ranked highly with its ASBVs across multiple traits, sitting in the top 10pc of industry for PWT 8.18, YEMD 2.25, YFAT 1.14, YSL 25.08, EBWR -0.8, EBCOV -0.76 and NLW 8pc.
It's the Page family's 21st year buying sires at Moojepin which they use over a nucleus mob of ewes to breed flock rams for their own commercial use.
Mr Page described their top purchase as a sound structured ram with a good spread of high ranking data.
"He is in the top 10pc for post weaning weight, eye muscle and genetic fats, staple length and number of lambs weaned along with a good fleece wool and weight," he said.
The Page family added another ram to their account for $4500, biding their time until lot 121 for a Moojepin 173081 son which ranked in the top 10pc for weight, muscle, fat and staple length.
Also paid deep in the sale catalogue was AuctionsPlus's $5250 bid for lot 89 consisting of a 15.4 micron Moojepin 171095 son that ranked in the top 10pc for PWT 9.11, YEMD 2.57, YFAT 1.23 and YSL 23.33.
The sale's next highest price of $5000 was paid by original Moojepin stud clients, the Anderson family, Slabhut Grazing, Kojonup.
Standing in lot 47, the 17.2 micron ram was another Moojepin 171095 son that also ranked in the top 10pc for PWT, YEMD, YFAT and YSL at 8.59, 2.6, 1.1 and 21.67 respectively.
The Andersons also paid $4500 for an 18 micron ram by Moojepin 171647 with top 10pc ASBVs for the same traits and NLW 12pc.
Kit Anderson who attended the sale with his father Peter, said they have always been able to find the right sheep suited to their operation in more than 20 years buying rams at Moojepin.
"Simple frame, easy care sheep with fertility and good doing ability," Mr Anderson said.
"But one of the major benefits of being on the Moojepin bloodline is the growth rates in the lambs."
Greenwood Farm, Northampton, paid the next highest price of $4750 for one of two rams, another high ranking Moojepin 160003 son in lot 63 with the 15.4 micron ram in the top 10pc for PWT, YEMD, YFAT, YSL, EBWR and EBCOV.
Long-time buyer David Forrester, Glenkeith Grazing Company, Kojonup, collected a team of four rams, paying to a top price of $4250 for lot 16, a 17 micron ram sired by Moojepin 120652 ranking in the top 10pc for raw data, staple length, breach traits and number of lambs weaned.
But Mr Forrester's most notable purchase was $2500 paid for the final ram of the sale with the Thompson family donating all sale proceeds from the ram to FightMND, an organisation which raises funds to help find treatments and a cure for Motor Neurone Disease.
Mr Forrester said FightMND was a worthy cause and one he was proud to support.
There were a number of buyers at the sale that put together significant teams of rams.
Dumbitt Hills Pastoral Company, Dwarda, was the sale's volume buyer again this year with a team of 10 rams costing from $1000 to $2000.
A ram shy with an account of nine rams was Westendale Grazing Company, Wagin, which operated from $1000 to $3500 and averaged $2306 for its selections.
In their 17th year buying Moojepin rams, the Meyer family, Norino Pty Ltd, Broomehill, claimed eight new rams costing from $2000 to $3750 to average a healthy $3031.
Original stud client Eric Crossley, Clifden Farming Company, Woodanilling, managed to operate at value for his team of eight rams while G & RJ Ballard, Narrogin, finished the sale with seven rams paying from $1000 to $4000 to average $2536 and RJ & BR Harris, Cuballing, loaded the ute with six rams costing from $1000 to $3000.