THE Patmore family celebrated the 20th anniversary of their annual Riverbend Poll Dorset and Border Leicester studs' on-property ram and ewe sale at Eneabba with a memorable result.
What is believed to be a new WA record top price for first-cross ewes, a complete sale clearance and improved averages across both breeds provided a fitting end to the milestone occasion.
A big crowd attended the sale and the stud's loyal followers and some new faces enjoyed filling their requirements with a top line-up of commercially presented, well-grown rams and ewes and were prepared to bid up on their selections.
And at the end of selling, there wasn't an animal left unsold with the Elders team, led by auctioneer Dean Hubbard, Elders State livestock and wool manager, notching up a total clearance of the 1400 first cross Border Leicester ewes and 83 Poll Dorset and Border Leicester-Merino rams.
With first cross Border Leicester ewes a rare commodity these days and quality breeding ewes attracting premiums nation-wide, it was anyone's guess what heights the run of the gate drafts of well-bred ewes could sell to.
And they didn't disappoint.
Fuelled with strong competition on AuctionsPlus and local bidders at the sale, the 14 to 15-month-old September shorn ewes averaging 46kg liveweight crushed last year's record prices, selling to a top of $290 and averaging a mighty $276 (equivalent to 600c/kg liveweight average).
Last year 1310 of the 1420 first cross ewes sold to $206 and averaged $192.
Operating on AuctionsPlus, Wayne Hams, Nutrien Livestock Busselton, representing 16-year Riverbend buyer AN Rose & Co, Busselton, bid to the sale's $290 top price for the third line of 300 ewes and followed up with a $272 bid on the next pen of 200 ewes.
The remaining three lines of ewes totalling 976 head all sold online to an Elders account in Young, New South Wales, at prices of $286 for 300 ewes, $276 for 200 ewes and $260 for the opening draft of 400 ewes.
The online platform received 1219 catalogue views with 25 registered bidders logging in from Victoria, NSW, South Australia, Tasmania and WA, resulting in 208 online bids.
Attention swung onto the line-up of rams, the second sale in Riverbend's new selling complex, where stud principal Chris Patmore paid tribute to the studs' clients and his family for their efforts.
"The Patmore family has been breeding sheep for 70 years and I believe it's the first time we have had four generations of the family in the one set of sheep yards," Mr Patmore said.
"We appreciate the support from all our clients and I don't like to single anyone out, but special thanks to Brian and Tessa White who have supported the sale for all 20 years."
The complete clearance of 83 Poll Dorset and Border Leicester rams offered under the 'two-hammer' system, sold for a combined average of $1030, up $202 compared to last year's sale where 56 of 70 rams (80 per cent) sold at auction to average $828.
The team of 50 Poll Dorset rams recorded an average of $921, improving on last year's sale by $19 where 42 of 46 rams (88pc) found new homes under the hammer to average $902.
But it was the team of 33 Border Leicester rams that were the sale's biggest improvers in both clearance and values.
The line-up sold strongly to average $1194, marking a $590 jump in average compared to last year's sale where 14 of 24 rams (58pc) sold at auction to average $604.
Poll Dorsets got the ram section of the sale underway with regular buyer Neill Reed, H & UD Reed & Son, Arrin Park Merino stud, Three Springs, paying the sale's $1400 equal top price for two of his three Poll Dorset rams purchased at the sale.
Mark Errington, M & B Errington, Jurien Bay, was again the sale's dominant buyer after collecting 12 Poll Dorset rams, operating at all values between $700 and $1300 for his selections.
Original stud client and consistent buyer at the top end of the market Brian White, Whites (Barara) Pty Ltd, South Eneabba, went to script with four rams for $1300 each, while Grant Lupton, Nutrien Livestock Wongan Hills, representing an order for AN Rose & Co, bought eight rams spending from $700 to $1050.
Elders Mingenew agent Ross Tyndale-Powell kept himself busy filling four Poll Dorset ram orders to finish with five rams for Spencer Farming Co, Mingenew and four rams each for Les Browne, Gidgegannup, Uvee Four Farms, Mingenew and Glenoral Farms, Mullewa.
New buyers at the sale Graeme and Debbie Pyle, Pyle Brothers, South Stirlings, led the Border Leicester's resurgence with a team of 12 rams costing from $1050 to the sale's equal $1400 top price.
Debbie Pyle said the dispersal of the Anro Border Leicester stud saw them look further north to Riverbend to fill their requirements and she was pleased with their selections.
The Border Leicester rams will be joined to part of the operation's Mallibee blood Merino ewe flock to breed first cross ewes which are retained and crossed with a Poll Dorset ram for prime lamb production.
All April-drop lambs are weaned at shearing in August with the first draft of lambs normally sold from mid to late September on-farm at 22 to 23kg dressed weight.
But due to seasonal conditions this year, the lambs will be sold in November.
Ms Pyle described the Poll Dorset sired lambs out of the first cross ewes as super lambs which leave a very minimal tail when drafted.
With the prospect of a tough summer, she said they have begun selecting hard on their breeding base and offloading any dry ewes and cows.
RHG & BS Alp, Gingin, bid from $1000 to the sale's $1350 second top price for a team of five Border Leicester rams as did Mr Tyndale-Powell with two rams at $1350 each for PA & AJ Negus, Dandaragan.
JG & WV Fordham, Dandaragan, KR & PD Haeusler, Wannamal and Mr Lupton representing Wagoona Pty Ltd, Moora, collected three Border Leicester rams each.