THERE was a happy surprise at the Rhos Gwyn White Suffolk ram sale at Mt Barker recently when the Bush family saw a near total clearance, passing in just one of a team of 118 paddock run rams.
Following a number of lower sale clearances in the Great Southern so far into the 2020 stud stock ram selling season, Rhos Gwyn stud principals Rob and Stacey Bush could easily be forgiven for expecting to take a few rams back home with them, but buyers were keen right from the get-go, driving the sale to a top of $2100 and an average of $1017 by the time 117 of 118 lots had been knocked down by the Elders selling team.
It was a solid improvement on the 2019 sale which achieved a top price of $1600 and an average of $869 for the sale of 126 from 128 rams.
Once again prices peaked early, with the Pugh family, Narrikup, going all the way to the sale top of $2100 for the White Suffolk in lot three.
The top priced ram was July-born from the Matilda Downs line with yearling scan data including 0.102kg per day weight gain, 39.5mm EMD and 5.6mm CFAT.
It was quickly joined by the second top-priced ram of the day in lot six, also going to the Pugh family for $2000 with yearling scan data including 0.109kg per day weight gain, 38.6mm EMD and 4.0mm CFAT.
Buyer Clare King said the Pugh family had been buying stud quality sires from the sale for the past few years.
"We run a nucleus White Suffolk flock which we breed our own rams from and we've been coming to this sale to top-up with some fresh genetics," Ms King said.
"They've done really well for us in the past, they're naturally fleshed and what you see is what you get.
"We liked these two because they had pretty good eye muscle and fat - we think they'll do well."
While two rams were enough for the top-price buyers on the day, there were many people holding bidding cards who were after bigger teams.
Mt Barker local PR Adams was once again the volume buyer, this year landing a team of 26 sires.
This included a top of $1200 and an overall average of $923 for the team.
Bill and Tracey Morey, Connamara Grazing, Bokerup, returned to support the stud again as another volume buyer.
They finished the day with a team of 13 Rhos Gwyn sires to a top of $1800 and an average of $1285.
"We were looking for lovely long lengths, depth as well and good strong bonage," they said.
"We've been really happy with the results we've seen over the years, they grow really well so we were happy to come back again."
Other volume buyers on the day included Black Wattle Grazing, Mt Barker, who secured a team of 14 Rhos Gwyn sires at an average of $1000 and Westcup Grazing, Tenterden, who landed 15 to a top of $1400 and an average of $1133.
Gnowangerup-based Brenton Hinkley bought nine, averaging $1089, while JH Martin & Co, Toodyay, also bought nine, this time averaging $633 while Choorlij Aboriginal Corporation bought six at an average of $933.
Speaking after the sale, Elders auctioneer Preston Clarke said in the end the Rhos Gwyn team penned just one ram too many.
"It was a fantastic result for Rhos Gwyn," Mr Clarke said.
"To achieve very near a total clearance is a great result and it goes to show there are clients here who know the quality of these paddock run rams.
"Buyers knew what they wanted and they put their hands up - it's as simple as that."
Rhos Gwyn stud principal Rob Bush said it was a very pleasing sale for his family.
"This clearance is brilliant in a season like this," Mr Bush said.
"The loyalty we've experienced is just great, we thought we'd be passing a few in but we had great support.
"It's great to know most of the people who turned up, it means people are coming back and supporting us again and it's also great to see some new clients here as well."