A CONSISTENT and even line-up of Poll Merinos met with good interest from return buyers who pushed prices to a $3000 high at the eighth annual Warralea Poll Merino on-property ram sale at Gairdner.
The quality offering was once again supported by many repeat buyers who know the benefits of the Warralea bloodline and were keen to source fresh genetics to continue to improve their breeding programs.
This year the stud offered a reduced yarding of 96 rams in the sale, down from 119 last year on the back of another tough year in the area and clients requiring less rams due to reduced flock sizes.
When Elders auctioneer Nathan King knocked down the last ram offered, the stud had cleared 77 rams under the hammer for an average of $1045, which was back only marginally by $35 on last year.
The stud's clearance was further improved post sale with another eight rams finding new homes.
In last year's sale the stud cleared 106 rams from 119 offered at an average of $1080.
Mr King said it was a good sale for the relatively young stud and on par with expectations.
"To clear nearly 80 rams under the hammer given what some of the stud's clients have faced season wise is pleasing," Mr King said.
"Like a number of other sales this season the clearance was affected by some clients not needing rams due to seasonal and market conditions.
"It was great to see many repeat buyers operating in the sale and the stud is getting plenty of positive feedback with many saying the genetics are having an immediate impact on their lambs.
"They are reporting their Warralea sired lambs have great shape and are early maturing.
"The Warralea genetics are showing you can have the best of both worlds.
"You can breed a good meaty lamb which can be turned-off early like a crossbred or you can keep the ewe lambs longer and sell them as surplus breeding ewes later as there is going to be demand for breeding ewes for years to come."
The sale started with a run of 14 March shorn sires which sold for an average of $1643 and it was in this section where the sale's top price ram was found.
The $3000 top price came early when Mr King offered lot three and knocked it down to Elders Darkan agent Wayne Peake who purchased the ram on behalf of third-year buyers the Goss family, GH & CP Goss, Darkan.
The big, square 121.5 kilogram ram with great make and shape had September wool tests of 19.4 micron, 3.9 SD, 20.3 CV and 99.4 per cent comfort factor (CF) and August scans of 35.3mm eye muscle depth (EMD) and 5.6mm fat.
Mr King, who classes for the Goss family and helped Mr Peake select the ram on the day, said the family had attended the Warralea field day in September and picked the ram out along with a few others and then he confirmed with them which ram was best on the morning of the sale.
"He has good shape, squareness and a fantastic backend," Mr King said.
"He has the typical backend Warralea sheep are renowned for.
"He also has a good white wool which will suit the Darkan area."
The ram will be used by the Goss family in a small nucleus flock they have set up to breed some of their own rams.
The second top price of the day was $2300 and unlike the top-priced ram that was located early in the sale, this ram was at the end of the catalogue in lot 88.
The ram, which was a replacement in the team, was purchased by the Rangeview stud, Darkan.
The 111.5kg, April shorn ram has wool figures of 21.4 micron, 3.4 SD, 15.8 CV and 99.4pc CF to go with scans of 35mm EMD and 4.3mm fat.
The next best price was $2100 paid by Cranbrook operation Valemarie for a 108kg, long-bodied ram which measured 21 micron, 3.4 SD and 99.7pc CF in the wool and had scans of 36.5mm EMD and 4.7mm fat.
Along with this ram the Cranbrook operation also purchased another five rams to finish with a team of six at an average of $1050.
The title of volume buyer in the sale went to third year client KD Power Pastoral Co, Busselton, which also bid through Mr Peake.
Mr Peake secured 14 rams for the operation at an average of $1107 and to a top of $2000.
He said he was looking for rams with frame that had both wool quality and wool cut.
As the volume buyer Mr Peake also received the Virbac product as a prize for the volume buyer.
The next biggest buyers in the sale were return buyer of five years David Pyle, Jeff Pyle & Co, Manypeaks and first time buyer Noel Keding, Mallee Rise Pty Ltd, Frankland, who both purchased nine rams each at averages of $844 and $867 respectively.
Mr Pyle said he liked the Warralea sheep for their body size, plainness and wool quality.
"They are uncomplicated sheep and we a happy with the progeny they are breeding," Mr Pyle said.
Others to bid up strongly on the line-up were D & S Herbert Family Holdings, Albany, which purchased four rams to a top of $2000 and an average of $1750, while Bremer Bay operation JM Lennhouwers averaged $1267 over a team of three rams and Chillinup Pastoral Co, Wellstead, bought two rams at $1700 and $1500.
Gairdner producers Chris and Diana Cooke, CF & DJ Cooke, who have been buying from Warralea since its inception, were also good supporters of the sale and went home with a ute load of five rams at an average of $1240.
The Cookes, who will join 1000 ewes this year to Merinos back from 3000 head a few years ago due to a run of bad seasons in the area, like the Warralea sheep for their length of body and wool type.