THE Ledwith family hosted the first of its two on-property ram sales for the season at Dudinin earlier this month and it was well-supported with buyers pushing prices to a high of $3700 for a Lewisdale-Corrigin Poll Merino sire.
After holding their first combined sale last year for the Eastville and Lewisdale-Corrigin studs, this year rams from those two studs were joined by an offering of rams the Ledwidth family purchased in from the Wanjalonar stud, Narembeen, when the Hooper family dispersed the stud last year.
All up in the fixture 255 rams from the three bloodlines were offered by Elders and Westcoast Wool & Livestock and by the end of the sale 225 had been cleared under the hammer at an average of $1263.
The clearance rate for the sale was further improved post sale with a number of passed-in rams finding new homes.
The $3700 top price for the day was achieved in the Lewisdale-Corrigin offering when Westcoast Wool & Livestock auctioneer Chris Hartley knocked down the fourth ram in the offering to client of 40 years Kim Stephen, KA & CM Stephen, Moorine Rock.
The wide and deep, March shorn sire weighed in at 124 kilograms and had current wool figures of 18.7 micron, 2.5 SD, 13.5 CV and 99.8 per cent comfort factor (CF).
Mr Stephen said the ram was the biggest in the line-up and had a good constitution.
"Along with its impressive size it also had a nice soft wool," Mr Stephen said.
"I like Lewisdale-Corrigin rams because they have a good body size and a good wool type."
Also heading to the Stephen family's Moorine Rock property were another four Lewisdale-Corrigin sires, meaning when he headed out the gate Mr Stephen had five rams on board which were purchased at an average of $2260.
Mr Hooper said this season he achieved a 90pc lambing percentage across his ewe flock which averages 20.5 micron and a cut of eight kilograms for mature ewes.
The sale kicked off with an offering of 108 Merino and Poll Merino rams from the Eastville stud, which the Ledwith family purchased at the end of 2019 from the Doncon family.
By the end of the run Elders auctioneer Preston Clarke had found 14 new homes for 108 rams, selling to a high of $3400 for a Poll ram and average of $1367.
The average was up $6 on last year when the Ledwith family offered Eastville rams for the first time.
Last year the Ledwiths offered 125 Eastville rams and sold 113 under the hammer for an average of $1361.
In the breakdown this year 91 Poll rams were offered and sold for an average of $1424 (down $37 on last year) and 17 Merinos were offered and sold at an average of $1059 (up $51).
Leading the charge in the Eastville offering was an upstanding Poll Merino sire in lot 16 when it was knocked down at $3400 to the stud's previous owners the Doncon family, KE & GM Doncon, Wickepin.
Brett Doncon said the ram had a very good length of body and a soft white wool.
"He is a nice and correct, well-balanced ram," Mr Doncon said.
The 122kg ram had current wool figures of 18.0 micron, 2.7 SD, 14.8 CV and 99.7pc CF.
Along with purchasing the top-priced ram, the Doncons also purchased another three Poll sires from the run to finish with a team of four at an average of $2350.
Mr Doncon said even though they had sold the stud, they still wanted to keep the Eastville bloodline going in their commercial flock
"I think these rams will do that job well," he said.
The Doncons are this year looking at joining 3000 ewes all to Merinos.
The second top price in the Eastville run was $3300 for a Poll Merino purchased by VC Della, Popanyinning, in its only purchase for the day.
The deep, square ram weighed in at 112kg and had wool figures of 19.6 micron, 3.1 SD, 15.6 CV and 99.7pc CF.
Losing out on both top-priced rams was return buyer Mt Sheridan Farms, Varley, which pushed hard all day on the rams it wanted.
The Mt Sheridan Farms name was a regular in the clerking sheets and finished the sale with 16 Poll rams at an average of $2181.
It paid to a top of $3200 for the last ram in the offering which weighed 125kg and had wool figures of 21.8 micron, 3.8 SD, 16.1 CV and 98pc CF.
There were an number of other repeat buyers which bid up strongly on the Poll rams including MA Milne & Co, Borden, taking home eight at an average of $1838 and to a high of $2400, while Kov & Co, Pingelly, averaged $1467 across a team of six and Fleay & Fleay, Wickepin, collected seven at a $1271 average.
There were two other volume buyers behind Mt Sheridan Farms which both secured 15 rams each.
Clients of more than 15 years Adam and Alf Watts, LR Watts & Co, West Pingelly, averaged $1147 across a team of 15 Polls, while client since 1975 Geoffrey Hodgson, Jefan Pty Ltd, Kulin, secured 11 Polls and four Merinos at an average of $973, with both saying it was the bright, white wools of the Eastville rams which kept them coming back for more.
The top Merino price in the run was $1800 bid by Elders stud stock representative Kevin Broad, who was carrying a buying order for Gra-Mel Nominees, Badgingarra.
Taking the $1800 top price tag was a 100kg ram with great make and shape that tested 19.3 micron, 3.6 SD, 18.5 CV and 99.7pc CF in the wool.
Mr Broad also purchased another two Merino rams in the run for Gra-Mel Nominees at $1400 and $900.
Mr Clarke said the Eastville catalogue was well-supported throughout by return buyers.
"It was a good even line-up of rams which presented very well on the back of better seasonal conditions," Mr Clarke said.
This year the Ledwith family offered 74 rams from its Lewsidale-Corrigin stable in the sale and when the Westcoast Wool & Livestock team finished the run 58 had been sold under the hammer to 11 different buyers to the day's $3700 top and an average of $1245.
In comparison to last year the average was up $191, in 2020 there were 89 Lewisdale-Corrigin rams offered in the sale and 71 sold under the hammer at an average of $1054.
The clearance for the run was improved post sale with five of the passed-in rams selling.
The next best price in the run after the day's $3700 top, was $3000, bid by M & JA Guelfi, Newdegate, for a long-stapled, stylish white woolled ram.
The 111kg ram had wool figures of 19.2 micron, 3.2 SD, 16.6 CV and 99.6pc CF.
The $3000 ram was part of a team of six purchased by the Newdegate operation at an average of $1900.
Having travelled down from Geraldton for the sale, client of 40 years Peter Scott, Scott Grazing Co, wasn't going to go home without the rams he wanted.
He finished the run with six rams at an average of $1467 after paying between $1000 and $1900 for his choices.
Mr Scott, who will join 1900 ewes to Poll Merinos this year, said he liked the Lewisdale-Corrigin rams because they were big framed, free-growing types.
Client of more than five years Anthony Latham, AW & AP Latham, Narembeen, also bid strongly in the run to finish with a team of six that topped at $1700 twice and averaged $1150.
Mr Latham, who will join 2500 ewes all to Merinos this season, said he liked the bloodline because they were robust sheep with bright, white wools.
Other strong supporters in the run were HG Coaker & Co, Morawa, which averaged $1475 across a team of four which topped at $2800, while AR & MK Crooks, Ardath, finished with a team of six to a top of $1000 and Thompson Entities, Pingaring, secured eight to a high of $1000.
Westcoast Wool & Livestock WA sheep manager Lincon Gangell said it was a good presentation of rams and some of the best offered by the Ledwith family since they purchased the stud.
"The line-up was well-supported by regular buyers and a couple of new ones which was pleasing to see," Mr Gangell said.
"I think overall the final result was on par with presale expectations given the much better season compared to last year."
The offering of Wanjalonar rams rounded out the sale and they received good support from buyers, who had purchased from the Hooper family when they operated the stud at Narembeen.
In this section the Elders selling team offered 73 Merino and Poll Merino rams and sold 59 under the hammer to a top of $2800, paid for a Merino ram and an average of $1090, which was up $253 on last year's Wanjalonar on-property sale result.
Last year the Hooper family offered 75 rams in their on-property sale and sold 46 for an average of $837.
In the breakdown there were 46 from 50 Merinos sold for an average of $1172 (up $255 on last year) and 13 Polls sold from 23 offered at an average of $800 (up $67).
Taking top price honours in the Wanjalonar offering was an upstanding Merino sire.
The long-bodied, bulky woolled ram was the first to go under the hammer and it created some strong competition between two buyers before it was knocked down to Mr Broad, who was again buying on behalf of return buyers Gra-Mel Nominees.
Mr Broad said the ram was an upstanding, heavy cutting sire with a great outlook.
The 106kg ram had current wool tests of 20.1 micron, 3.7 SD, 18.2 CV and 99.3pc CF.
Along with purchasing the top-priced ram for Gra-Mel Nominees, Mr Broad also purchased another four Merino sires for the operation to finish with a team of five at an average of $2020.
Pushing Mr Broad all the way on his selections was repeat buyer Wayne Hooper, Deva Farms, Narembeen, who ended up being the volume buyer in the Wanjalonar offering.
Mr Hooper, who will join 1400 ewes to Merino rams, finished the sale with 13 Merino sires at an average of $1438 and a top of $2400.
He paid $2400 for a 96kg ram which had wool figures of 18.8 micron, 3.7 SD, 19.9 CV and 99.7pc CF.
Mr Hooper, who is in process of building his flock numbers, said all the rams he purchased in the sale would be used over his 600 ewe hoggets.
He said he liked purchasing Wanjalonar rams as they had good constitutions and good wools.
Another buyer to secure a double figure team was DE Smoker, Narembeen, purchasing 12 Merino rams at an average of $908 and to a top of $1500.
Mr Broad not only bought for Gra-Mel Nominees in the run, he also carried two other buying orders.
He purchased nine Merinos at an average of $922 for Southern Cross client P Gobetti & Co and two Merino and 10 Poll Merinos at an average of $792 for an undisclosed client.
Return buyer K & S Butler, Narembeen, was the only other buyer alongside Mr Broad to buy Poll rams, purchasing three at an average of $867.
Mr Clarke said the Ledwiths presented a very good team of well-presented, productive rams which carried quality, stylish, white wools in the Wanjalonar offering.
"The offering was supported well by past stud buyers," Mr Clarke said.