A GREAT line-up of Merino and Poll Merino rams suited to both Wheatbelt and high rainfall conditions were certainly appreciated by buyers when they went under the hammer at the Mullan family's Eastville Park and Quailerup West on-property ram sale at Wickepin on Monday.
With the stud's clients experiencing much better seasonal conditions and water supplies no longer an issue they showed supreme confidence in their bidding right through the sale pushing price to an $8000 high and the average up $491 on last year.
When the final ram was sold by the Nutrien Livestock auctioneering team led by auctioneer Michael Altus and the figures were crunched, the Mullan family had sold 218 from 220 rams offered to 39 different buyers at an average of $1963 - a record for the sale.
In comparison, in last year's sale when the season was in complete contrast and water supplies were an issue for the stud's clients, the Mullans sold 238 from 260 rams under the hammer for an average of $1472.
In the breakdown the Mullans offered 161 Poll Merinos and sold 160 for an average of $2014 (up $505 on last year), while in the Merino side of the catalogue they cleared 58 rams from 59 offered at an average of $1823 (up $444 on last year).
Mr Altus said it was an outstanding sale for the Mullan family in terms of both prices and clearance.
"It followed the positive trend of other sales already held this season and up on presale expectations," Mr Altus.
"The rams presented very well and showed good nourished wools on large frames.
"There were rams suited to both high rainfall and Wheatbelt conditions in the line-up.
"With such an even line-up of rams, there was strong competition right through the offering from repeat buyers and a handful of new ones.
"The Mullans have been investing strongly in genetics and today they were rewarded for their effort."
Speaking on behalf of the Mullan family, stud co-principal Grantly Mullan said it was an unbelievable result and very unexpected given the previous dry years which had forced clients either to reduce their numbers or get out of sheep.
"We are grateful for the support we received from our clients who have stuck with sheep over the dry seasons and the faith they have shown in our genetics," Mr Mullan said.
"We certainly appreciate that our clients recognise the effort and time we put into our breeding program.
"Not only in terms of the prices paid but also many commented on the quality of the line-up."
A top run of 41 March shorn rams kicked off the sale in a strong way averaging $2901 and it was among these pens the $8000 top-priced ram was found.
And it was found early when Mr Altus stood over the ram in pen two and took an opening bid of $5000.
From there the bids flew in thick and fast from two interested parties which were both keen to secure the upstanding Quailerup West Merino sire.
In the end it was second year buyer Brendan Maher, Rockdale Farming Co, Muntadgin, who struck the final blow at $8000 and was written in the clerking sheets as the buyer of the ram.
Mr Maher said he really liked the length of body the ram displayed and its wool quality.
"Structurally we couldn't fault him, he is an upstanding sire," Mr Maher said.
"He also has a nice long-stapled, broad crimping wool with the nourishment we require for our conditions."
Along with its visual appeal the deep barreled, well-grown 112.5 kilogram ram by an Eastville Park 4 son had the figures to match, with current wool tests of 20.5 micron, 2.9 SD, 99.7 per cent comfort factor (CF), while it had an eye muscle depth (EMD) of 28.4mm.
Mr Maher didn't just go home with this ram, he also purchased the $4250 top-priced Eastville Park ram sold, a Poll Merino that stood in pen one.
The 114.5kg ram was sired by a Collinsville Price son and had wool figures of 19.6 micron, 3.1 SD and 99.6pc CF to go with an EMD of 39mm.
Mr Maher said the ram was a perfect Poll for the operation due to its length of body, structure and wool nourishment.
"We were also chasing his Prince bloodline as we bought rams last year of the same bloodline and they have worked really well," Mr Maher said.
"We picked both these top two rams out at the Rabobank WA Sheep Expo & Ram Sale at Katanning."
By the end of the sale Mr Maher had secured another five Eastville Park sires (three Polls and two horns) and two Quailerup West rams (one Poll and one horn) to finish with a team of nine rams at an average of $3722.
Mr Maher said after buying from the stud for the first time last year they were certainly keen to secure more rams this year.
"We are very happy with the lambs from last year's rams," Mr Maher said.
"They have been very quick growing and we have already sold some wether lambs as suckers."
The operation sold its first line of wether lambs straight off their mothers two weeks ago on AuctionsPlus for $176 onfarm.
The line of 780 lambs, which were dropped in April and weaned for two weeks, averaged 48kg liveweight.
The operation will sell another line of wether lambs on AuctionsPlus next week.
Mr Maher, likes running sheep as they provide an added side to the business in terms of income, said this year he would join 4500 ewes to Merinos and another 1000 Merino ewes to White Suffolk rams.
The second top price in the sale was $6500 and again this time it was a March shorn Quailerup West Merino ram which attracted all the attention before being knocked down to James Scanlon, who revealed he was bidding for MR & WJ Dearlove & Son, Dundinin.
The well-covered stylish woolled 119.5kg ram had wool figures of 19.6 micron, 3.5 SD and 99.5pc CF to go with an EMD of 35.1mm.
It was sired by Mianelup Lustre.
Return buyer Justin Matthews, JG & RJ Matthews, Brookton, had a major influence in terms of the top prices and in the volume buyers stakes.
Mr Matthews secured the two top-priced Poll rams at $5750 and $5250 which were both from the Quailerup West offering.
He paid $5750 for a 94.5kg March shorn ram carrying Banavie Rifle bloodlines.
It had wool figures of 17.2 micron, 2.7 SD and 99.8pc CF to go with an EMD of 35.4mm.
When it came to his $5250 purchase, Mr Matthews selected a March shorn ram by Coromandel 193 (son of Nerstane 22).
On the figures front it measured 18.4 micron, 2.5 SD and 99.8pc CF in the wool, while its EMD was 38.3mm.
To go with these two rams Mr Matthews purchased another nine Quailerup West Polls and four Quailerup West Merinos, finishing with a team of 15 at an average of $2653.
A third Quailerup West Poll ram hit the $5000 mark when it was sold to returning buyer Daniel King, King Farming, Calingiri.
The well-grown, soft woolled Nerstane 22 son measured 20.0 micron, 2.6 SD and 99.7pc CF in wool while on the carcase front it had an EMD of 35.9mm and a bodyweight of 114.5kg.
Also heading on Mr King's ute to Calingiri were another two Polls and one Merino from the Quailerup West team to give him a total of four at an average of $2925.
Mr King said his family had been buying from the Quailerup West stud for close to 30 years and it was their soft, white wools on good frames which kept them coming back.
There were a couple of buyers which operated strongly just on the Eastville Park Poll rams and the strongest of these was client of five years Jason Sugg, AT & RJ Sugg & Sons, Lake King.
Mr Sugg wasn't afraid to go strong on the rams he really wanted and finished the sale with a team of eight rams at an average of $2913 and to a top of $3500.
Mr Sugg said it was the large frames and the quick growth rates of the Eastville Park rams he liked the best.
"Since introducing the Eastville Park bloodline to our flock we have been able to sell our wethers at nine months," Mr Sugg said.
"Previously we used to carry them through to hoggets.
"We sold last year's April drop wether lambs to WAMMCO in February and they averaged 24 to 32kg dressed."
Going nearly as strong was fellow repeat buyer George Rock Farming, Kulin, collecting a team of eight Eastville Park Polls to a top of $3100 and an average of $2200.
Other buyers to buy numbers and show a preference to just Polls were locals SS & P Martin, Wickepin, which averaged $2167 over a team of nine Polls (two Quailerup West and seven Eastville Park), while CW & OM Draper, Popanyinning, purchased three Quailerup West and nine Eastville Park Polls at an average of $1867 and Kechualing Farming Trust, Wagin, went home with seven Eastville Park and three Quailerup West Polls at an average of $1475.
Like on the Poll side there were a couple of buyers who put together bigger teams of just Merinos and they were RW & BM Bahr, Kukerin, who averaged $1475 across eight Quailerup West Merinos, while Illabunda Farming, Wickepin, purchased five Eastville Park Merinos and three Quailerup West Merinos at an average of $1275.
When it came to numbers no one got close to returning buyers, the Wittwer family, NT Wittwer & Co, Cuballing.
The Wittwers purchased 22 rams, made up of nine Quailerup West rams (seven Merinos and two Polls and 13 Eastville Park sires (nine Polls and four Merinos) at an average of $1518 and to a top of $2100.
Also buying double figure teams was long-term client Jay Robertson, CJ & EJ Robertson & Son, Kulin, who purchased 11 rams (four Merinos and seven Polls) from both teams at average of $1891 and to a top of $2500 on three occasions.
Mr Robertson said he continued to return and buy from the Mullans as he really liked the size and the wool quality of their genetics.
"They are also good doers," Mr Robertson said.
The Robertsons flock averages 20 micron and an eight kilogram cut.
Buying one ram less than Mr Robertson was Chad Hawksley, RM Hawksley & Co, Narrogin, who averaged $1590 across a team of 10 rams (one Merino and nine Polls) from both studs.