ANY regular attendee on the stud stock circuit each spring will tell you that a quality yarding of rams always draws a crowd, a truth proven once again at the annual Coromandel Poll Merino on-property sale down at Gairdner.
Prices reached a peak of $3700 for a stretchy Poll with stylish wool, marking the high point of a sale where 69 of 79 sires were sold under the hammer, achieving a gross of $91,100 and an average of $1320.
Compared to the 2019 sale results prices had dipped, but it came as no surprise in a season impacted by water shortages and reduced ewe numbers.
Last year prices reached a top of $4200 and an average price of $1518 was paid across the sale of 73 of the 79 offered rams, meaning this year's sale average was down by $198, but it wasn't a reflection on the quality offered judging from the buyers' comments.
The first among many to have good things to say about the Coromandel Poll Merinos was Kojonup farmer Clayton Simcock, who attended the sale with his sister Katie Daw and came away at the day's end with the $3700 top-priced ram.
Mr Simcock, who was a returning buyer, said their selection would be used to breed rams from a nucleus flock at home in Kojonup.
"We were looking for a big, heavy cutting sheep with stylish wool so I think this ram will fit right in for us," Mr Simcock said.
"We need to be conscious of wool type for our higher rainfall area and we know from experience the Coromandel sheep do well in our environment - we've been very happy so far."
The top-priced ram had a bodyweight of 112kg and wool test results including 18.8 micron.
While Mr Simcock only had eyes for one ram at the top end of the catalogue, another returning client snagged two rams at the second and third top prices respectively when EM Peacock & Co, Gairdner, paid $3300 for lot two and $3000 for lot nine.
Lot two was a finer woolled ram with a micron of 16.7 and yield of 69.2, complemented by a bodyweight of 105.5kg, and lot nine was similar with wool test results of 16.7 micron and 66.7 per cent yield, weighing 105.5kg.
The volume buyer on the day was long-term client Rohan Murdoch, Boxwood Hill, who said wool type was the key for his selections on the day.
"These guys have beautiful bright, white wool which is well-nourished and that's exactly what we need being right on the coast with the higher rainfall," Mr Murdoch said.
"Over the years we haven't had issues with colour and staining.
"We finished shearing recently and we were really happy with the results, so that's why we're back at the sale again."
The Murdoch account tallied up a team of 12 Coromandel sires at an average of $808.
Another of the volume buyers on the day was Clare Webster, Beech Banks Farms, Tenterden, who returned for the sixth year to buy a team of Coromandel sires, rounding out the day with six at an average of $1183, including a top of $1600 paid twice.
It was the combination of size and wool quality on offer which keeps them coming back to find sires for the mob of 3500 mating ewes at Tenterden.
"I really like the dual purpose traits available here," Ms Webster said.
Other volume buyers on the day included Bott Livestock Trust, Esperance, who travelled to Gairdner to secure a team of nine Coromandel Polls for an average of $1567.
Included among the Bott Livestock selections were two rams which cost $2500 each, those in lots eight and 77.
Lot eight weighed in at 95kg and had wool test figures of 18 micron, while lot 77 was heavier at 103kg and had wool test results of 20.1 micron and 71.2pc yield.
Rocky Gully-based East Gully Farms bought a team of seven to average $1443 and Warreco Farm, Lake Grace, bought five for an average of $1280 including a top of $2300.
Local operation JA Labianca & Son bought four at an average of $1225 and Lake Grace-based David B Burbridge also came away with four at an average of $725, while Kemboy Pastoral, West Fitzgerald, bought three at an average of $1333.
Elders stud stock auctioneer Nathan King said he was pleased with the results of the sale given the season.
"We've had a lot of positive comments and I certainly agree," Mr King said.
"I think the quality at Coromandel is more even and more to type each year which is a testament to the effort the team here are putting in.
"These white wools can handle a range of rainfall environments which is evident in the list of loyal clients who return to this sale regularly."
Coromandel stud principal Michael Campbell was also pleased with the result.
"It was as expected and we were pleased to see both new and repeat buyers here today," Mr Campbell said.
"I'd like to thank Nathan King for his efforts, we were really happy with the quality we were able to offer this year and we appreciate all the support we've received."