CHIRNIMINUP'S Dohne ram sale kicked off with a bang on September 13, with lot one starting the run at a top price of $4400.
The on-property Nyabing sale represented 15 years of auctions for the stud and was the largest yet, with an impressive line-up of 205 paddock run rams penned for sale.
Bids came in hard and fast from Nutrien Livestock auctioneer Mark Warren's first call with a mix of return and first-time buyers.
Mr Warren cleared 192 rams from the team offered at an average of $1641, which was slightly more than last year's $1626 average.
Newly-elected Australian Dohne Breeders Association president and Chirniminup Dohnes stud principal Rachel Browne was "super stoked" with the sale's result.
Ms Browne said the sale started ridiculously strong and - as always - went through different stages with a price range for every buyer.
"I put up over 200 rams and I am going to try to continue that moving forward," Ms Browne said.
"In line with our philosophy of the past few years, I am happy to have some rams passed in - I see that as an indication that supply was appropriate.
"Back in 2019, we had a full clearance of 177 rams and our highest average price, which concerned me for the 2020 sale with clients being mindful of their budgets.
"In 2020 we presented 194 and sold 184 with the average price back a few hundred dollars.
"It was a good day for clients, with a lot of choice and not so pricey, there were rams for every budget."
In one of the wetter years on record, Ms Browne was really pleased with how the ram's wool held up to the high rainfall.
"It is a good test for them," she said.
"We have sold rams into the higher rainfall areas since the studs' inception, but it was good to see the entire group come through it well.
"Once again, thank you to our wonderful repeat buyers and it is always great to have some new ones too."
Nutrien Livestock Breeding representative Roy Addis said there was "a tremendous line-up of rams, as would be expected at Chirniminup".
Mr Addis said there was outstanding quality in the team up for sale from lot one right through to the last pen.
"There were great opportunities for people to get their larger orders through the back end of the sale," Mr Addis said.
"The post-weaning rates and Australian Sheep Breeding Values line up with what producers are looking for.
"There certainly have been new buyers and the season probably impacted some buyers that weren't here today, who have reduced sheep numbers.
"And that certainly is on our minds going into every sale.
"So I think today, to be able to offer 205 and get the result we have, was a great achievement by Rachel."
Few needed convincing of Chirniminup's quality with pen one topping the sale at $4400 compared to last year's highest price of $3700.
Bidding the top money was return buyer Braden Johnston, Johnston Plains, Nyabing.
Last year, Mr Johnston selected a bigger than usual team of 11 rams and at the time said it was one of those years when he needed more Dohne rams and fewer White Suffolks.
This year, he purchased a team of three rams including the top seller ($4400) and two others in lot five and lot 23, which both went under the hammer for $2900.
Lot one's breeding values were post weaning eye muscle depth (PEMD) 0.7, post weaning fat (PFAT) 0.1, yearling clean fleece weight (YCFW) 19.6, yearling fibre diameter (YFD) -0.5, yearling yield (YYLD) 3.5 and Dohne Plus Index (+INDEX) 179.1.
Mr Johnston said his operation mated between 4500 and 5000 ewes each year including 1500-1600 Dohnes, about 1000 Prime SAMMs and the remainder White Suffolks.
He said he had been using the Chirniminup Dohnes' bloodline for about five to six years.
"We put Dohnes over the Prime SAMM ewes to freshen the wool up a little bit, keep the constitution and the fertility," Mr Johnston said.
"What appealed to me most about the lot one ram was his early growth, he has great figures and he also has wool, although I don't usually chase that too much.
"Our lambing percentages have been up around 117pc mated numbers, which is about where we normally are.
"July lambing probably wasn't the best, we lost a few lambs with the rain and the cold weather.
"But it still turned out alright."
Johnston Plains' team finished with an average price of $3400.
The second highest price was $4000 in lot 14 sold to Woodlands Grazing Co, Mukinbudin, which also purchased a second ram for $3100 for an overall average of $3550.
Lot 14's breeding values were PEMD 0.2, PFAT -0.1, YCFW 19.6, YFD -0.6, YYLD 1.2, + Index 171.6.
The third highest price on the day was purchased by Coolangatta Trust, Kojonup, in lot 51 for $3800.
It also purchased four other rams for an average of $2475.
Lot 51's breeding values were PEMD 0.7, PFAT 0.3, YCFW 18.2, YFD -0.3, YYLD 1.7, + Index 172.6.
The highest volume buyer on the day was MJ & L Mathwin, Kojonup, who started buying at lot 40 at $1500 and were still bidding successfully at lot 207, as they put together an 18-ram team for an average of $928.
Amuri Creek Fruit P/L, Denbarker, purchased 15 rams, spending up to $2800 and an average of $1973.
Meanwhile, Anbrook Grazing Co, owned by the Wansbrough family, Beverley, bought 11 rams with prices varying from $900 to $1600 for a team average of $1218.
Each buying 10 rams were Nymann Strathaven, Gnowangerup, who paid up to $1400, PR & LR Coles, Wagin (up to $2800), Greenholme Trust, Kukerin (up to $2700) and R & TM Hinchliffe, Quairading (up to $2400).
A milestone of the sale was Greg Brockway and son Wade, Wagin, purchasing seven Chirniminup Dohnes rams to enter the '100 club' (100 rams purchased).
The Brockways run 100pc Dohnes and mate 3500 ewes.
"We have been using Chirniminup Dohnes for about 10 years," Mr Brockway said.
"We like their large frame and the fact they are fast growers.
"These sheep do incredibly well, no matter what the conditions are.
"They are easy care, they will stay fat on practically nothing, they breed well and their lambing percentages are excellent."
Mr Brockway added that all of his operation's wether lambs were sold as prime lambs.
"We have mated them (ewes) to meat breeds in the past," he said.
"But we decided to keep it simple, that way we can get a bigger selection for our replacements."
The highest price the Brockways paid at this year's sale was $2900 for lot two with their team averaging $2443.