BUYERS were treated to a top quality line-up of Merino and prime lamb sires at last week's 27th Williams Breeders' Ram Sale and they responded accordingly.
With better seasonal conditions, strong sheep prices and a wool market which is stronger than the same time last year buyers bid with intent right through the catalogue, pushing prices to a high of $8000 for a Poll Merino ram and $2500 for a White Suffolk sire.
With support from an extensive list of 49 registered local buyers and others from further afield, who know the quality genetics in the Williams area, bidding was solid throughout, ensuring a positive result for the six local studs involved.
Combined, the studs offered 184 Merino and Poll Merino rams and 80 prime lamb sires, making it one of the biggest multi-vendor, multi-breed sales in the State this year and they sold them at a clearance rate of 87 per cent, which was up 6pc on last year.
Overall the sale averaged $1365 for the 230 rams sold, which was up $73 on last year's average of $1292.
The overall sale average of $1365 ranks third best ever recorded in the sale's history.
Both Nutrien Livestock, Williams agent Ben Kealy and Elders, Williams agent Graeme Alexander agreed that it was a solid sale.
Mr Kealy said it was a top line-up of rams from all vendors and the quality of the rams on offer was very even throughout.
"The quality presented by the studs improves every year and is a credit to all involved," Mr Kealy said.
"Buyers were solid in their bidding through both the Merino and prime lamb sires which resulted in both the clearance and prices overall being up on last year.
"Overall I think the final result was on par with presale expectations given what has happened at other sales this year."
Mr Alexander said all the rams presented very well and showed the benefits of the great season being experienced in the Williams area.
"Given the amount of rain we had through July and August the wools on the Merinos have come through really well, which is a credit to the vendors," Mr Alexander said.
"Right through the sale there was good repeat buyer support from regular buyers, who know the sheep and know how they perform.
"I think the Merinos overall finished stronger than what we thought they would presale while the prime lamb sires were on par."
The sale started on the Merino and Poll Merino offering and it was solid throughout with both the clearance and prices overall up on last year.
When the Elders and Nutrien Livestock auctioneering teams finished on the last Merino, 166 out of the 184 rams offered had sold for an average of $1528, which was up $140 on last year.
In comparison, in last year's sale 160 Merino and Poll Merinos sold from 215 offered at an average of $1388.
In the breakdown 134 out of 184 Poll Merinos sold at an average of $1478, up $115 on 2020, while the Merino side of the catalogue saw 32 rams sold from 38 offered at an average of $1738, up $270.
The Hogg family's Navanvale stud topped this section, when a square, deep-bodied Poll Merino sire from its offering was knocked down for $8000.
After auctioneer Nathan King took an opening bid of $3000 on the upstanding ram, which was from a Seymour Park syndicate mating and out of a Sunny Valley blood ewe, a bidding war broke out as a number of bidders threw in bids chasing the quality ram.
In the end it was Elders stud stock representative Kevin Broad, who had the final bid at $8000, and then revealed he purchased the ram for the Lavender family, Lavender Farm Co, Williams.
Mr Broad said he and the Lavenders selected the ram for its wool quality.
"He is a good bodied ram with a good quality, stylish wool," Mr Broad said.
"He is a similar breeding to what they already have in terms of bloodlines and he will go with another Seymour Park ram in a syndicate mating."
The stylish, bright, white woolled 114 kilogram, March shorn ram had current wool figures of 21.6 micron, 3.0 SD and 99.3pc comfort factor (CF) to go with late May scans of 29.1mm eye muscle depth (EMD) and 6.3mm fat.
The $4100 top-priced Merino ram for the sale was also found in the Navanvale run, when an upstanding, stylish, white woolled, March shorn ram was knocked down to return buyer CA & DA Tilbrook, Tammin.
The 128kg ram, which is by Westray 913, has wool figures of 20.3 micron, 2.4 SD and 99.6pc CF, along with scans of 32.9mm EMD and 4.5mm fat.
Along with the top-priced Merino ram, the Tilbrooks also headed back to Tammin with another Merino at $2000 and a Poll Merino at the sale's $4500 second top price, to finish with a team of three at a $3533 average.
They paid $4500 for a March shorn sire which had wool figures of 18.5 micron, 2.6 SD and 99.8pc CF as well as scans of 30mm EMD and 3.6mm fat.
There were a couple of other regular Navanvale buyers to purchase small teams at the top end of the market and they included DB Medlen & Co, Williams, which averaged $3167 across three Merino sires that topped at $3300, while BG & MA Hardie, Wandering, finished with three Polls at an average of $2733 and a top of $3100.
Return buyers Glenorchy Grazing, Williams, and the Petchell family,WG & EM Petchell, Williams, were the volume buyers in the Navanvale offering both going home with nine rams.
Glenorchy Grazing, buying through Nutrien Livestock Breeding representative Mitchell Crosby, averaged $1756 across six Polls and three Merinos, while the Petchell family averaged $1633 over a team of nine Merinos which topped at $2900.
Mr Crosby said he was chasing well structured rams with long-stapled, bold crimping wools for Glenorchy, which has been buying from the stud for 10 years.
The next biggest buyer in the Navanvale run was Frank Carter, FJ Carter, Woodanilling, who has been buying from Navanvale since they purchased the Sunny Valley stud from the Lavender family.
Mr Carter, who likes the Navanvale sheep for their good free growing wools and body size, finished the sale with a team of eight Polls at an average of $1425 and to a top of $2000.
The Carters will join 2200 ewes, which average 19 to 20 micron, to Merino sires for a July lambing.
By the end of its run, the Navanvale stud had cleared 20 of its 22 Merino sires at an average of $1955 (up $267) and 36 of its 38 Polls for an average of $1842 (up $146) to finish with an overall average of $1882 over the 56 rams sold to 12 buyers from 60 offered, which was up $190 on last year.
The Higham family's Culbin Park stud was the next to present and at the end of the offering it was announced it would be the stud's last sale at Williams.
In the sale the stud offered a team of 34 rams but with reduced buying support compared to years gone by, due to clients getting out of farming and leasing their farms, its clearance and average was back.
When the final Culbin Park ram was sold the figures showed the stud had sold 25 of its 34 rams offered to five buyers under the hammer to a top of $2000 and an average of $1028, which meant its average was back $335 on last year and it had sold seven less rams.
Taking top price honours in the Culbin Park team at $2000 was a well-grown, long-bodied ram when it was knocked down to return buyer WB & N Harrison, Kojonup.
The ram had current wool tests of 19.8 micron, 3.0 SD, 15.2 CV and 99.7pc CF.
Along with taking home the stud's top-priced ram, the Harrisons also purchased another two Culbin Park sires to finish with a team of three at a $1500 average.
The volume buyer in the Culbin Park run was Hawthornden Farm, Toodyay, which collected nine rams at an average of $889 and to a top of $1200 paid for a ram which measured 20.5 micron and 99.3pc CF in the wool.
Also supporting the last Culbin Park sale strongly were clients of more than 60 years Brian and Janette Liddelow, RF & O Liddelow, Williams.
The Liddelows purchased five rams for an average of $1080 and to a top of $1500 paid for a 19.4 micron, 99.9pc CF ram.
Mr Liddelow said the family had continued to buy from the Highams for such a long period as their rams had always been very consistent over the years.
"Their wool type also still suits what we want and they are good sheep bred in our area for our conditions," Mr Liddelow said.
This year the Liddelows are looking at joining 1200 ewes to Poll Merino sires for a June lambing and another 600 Merino ewes to prime lamb sires for a May lambing.
Colby Grazing Co, purchased at the top end of the Culbin Park catalogue taking three rams at a $1267 average.
The Haddrick family's Toorackie stud was next up with an offering of 55 Poll Merino rams and by the end of its run it had cleared them all under the hammer to seven buyers to a $4000 high and an average of $1462, which was up $197 on last year.
The $4000 top-priced Toorackie ram was purchased by Daniel Zadow, WR & PC Zadow, Kojonup, who has been buying from Toorackie since the Hyfield stud dispersed.
Mr Zadow said his top selection showed both top wool and carcase traits.
"He is a nice, big, well-structured ram with a quality wool which has a nice, defined crimp about it," Mr Zadow said.
The well-covered, upstanding ram had current wool figures of 20.3 micron, 3.4 SD, 99.3pc and a greasy fleece weight percentage (GWF) of 86pc to go with a weaning weight percentage (WWT) of 126pc and a yearling weight percentage (YWT) of 102pc
Along with the top-priced ram Mr Zadow purchased another three Toorackie rams to finish with a team of four at $2200.
The top-priced ram will be used in the family's nucleus flock of 200 ewes to breed rams for the family's sheep enterprise which mates 5500 ewes to Merinos and 3000 Merino ewes to White Suffolk sires.
The second best price in the Toorackie run was $3800 paid by repeat Toorackie buyer the Batt family, Matlock Farms Pty Ltd, Boddington, which finished the day with four rams from the stud at an average of $2375.
The well-nourished, stylish woolled ram which hit the $3800 price tag had wool figures of 20.4 micron, 3.9 SD, 98.7pc CF and a GFW percentage of 93pc to go with a WWT percentage of 105pc and a YWT percentage of 102pc.
Taking home the volume buyer title in the Toorackie run was Gerard Medlen, GH & JD Medlen, Williams, who finished with a baker's dozen (13 rams) to a top of $1700 twice and a $1223 average.
Mr Medlen said he was chasing rams with good frames and well-nourished, bold crimping wools.
The Medlen family, whose flock averages 20 micron, is aiming to join 2000 ewes to Poll Merino rams for a late June lambing and another 700 to 800 ewes to White Suffolk rams.
Mr Medlen said he hopes to unload this year's wether lambs, which were weaned at the end of September at the beginning of November to either processors or as stores.
Missing out on the title of volume buyers by just one ram was a client of 30 years, the Schulz family, SJ & BJ Schulz, Williams, which averaged $1742 over a team of 12 which topped at $2600.
The rams will join the enterprise's sire battery, which will be mated to 5500 ewes this year.
Along with their Merino ram joining the Schulz family will join another 2500 Merino ewes to White Suffolk sires.
Another stronger supporter of the Toorackie offering was the Bulleid family, Callara Pastoral Co, Williams, which collected seven sires to a top of $1700 and a $1357 average.
The Rintoul family's Auburn Valley stud rounded out the sale's Merino and Poll Merino offering with a team of 16 Merinos and 19 Poll Merinos and had a much improved sale on last year.
It cleared 12 of its Merinos to a top of $2900 and for an average of $1375 (up $282 on 2020) and 18 Polls to a top of $2900 and for an average of $1428 (up $419) to eight buyers to finish with an overall average of $1407, which was up $351, the biggest lift of any Merino stud in the sale.
In comparison, in last year' sale Auburn Valley sold 25 from 40 rams at a $1056 average.
Leading the charge in the stud's Merino offering and selling at $2900 to the Smith family, Wongamine Grazing, Northam, was an upstanding ram with a long-stapled, stylish, crimpy wool.
The 94kg ram, which carried Angenup bloodlines, had current wool figures of 20.2 micron, 3.7 SD, 18.3 CV and 99.3pc CF to go with an EMD of +1.26mm above the group average and a fat of +0.2mm above the group average when scanned in June.
Also supporting the stud's Merino offering strongly was return buyer Colin Cowcher, CS Cowcher, Williams, who purchased four sires at an average of $1300 and to a top of $1900 paid for a 92kg ram which measured 21.5 microns and 98.6pc CF in the wool, while IM Wilkie & Son, Williams, buying through Mr Alexander, secured seven Merinos to a top of $1600 and an average of $1200.
The stud's $2900 top-priced Poll ram was purchased by repeat Wandering buyer Bob Treasure, RE & OM Treasure & Son, as part of a team of seven Polls which averaged $1457.
Mr Treasure's top price purchase was a 107kg ram carrying Westerdale bloodlines.
It had current wool tests of 20.9 micron, 3.3 SD, 15.8 CV and 99.7pc CF to go with an EMD which was +5.26mm above the average and a fat of +0.9mm above the average.
Mr Treasure said his top-priced purchase was a big sheep with a good wool type and plenty of wool on it.
The Treasure family has been buying from Auburn Valley since the Brookdale stud dispersed and Mr Treasure said they suited their country and were good sheep that produced quality long-stapled wools.
The Treasures are aiming to join 3500 ewes to Merinos and 700 Merino ewes to Poll Dorset sires this season.
Other strong supporters of the Auburn Valley Polls were the Panizza family, HA & SA Panizza & Co, Williams and RA & A Maiolo, Narrogin, which both bought four Polls at averages of $1675 and $1450 respectively.
Prime Lamb Sires
There were 80 sires yarded in the prime lamb sire section from two vendors and unlike the Merino offering where buying support was stronger than last year, support in this section wasn't as strong and as a result both overall average for the section and the numbers of rams sold was back.
By the completion of the offering, 64 of the 80 rams offered had sold at an average of $943, which meant in comparison to last year 15 less rams were sold and the average was back $153.
Last year 79 rams sold from 80 offered at an average of $1096.
The Bingham family's Iveston stud was not only the biggest vendor in the section but the sale overall when it offered 64 White Suffolks and six South Suffolks from its stable.
By the end of its run it had cleared 53 of its 64 White Suffolks offered to 11 buyers for an average of $962, which was down $95 on 2020, while all six South Suffolks sold under the hammer to a $854 average, which was back $486 on last year.
In last year's sale the stud offered 60 White Suffolks and sold 59 for an average of $1057 alongside 10 South Suffolks which all sold to a $1340 average.
The Iveston stud's offering topped at $2500 when an undisclosed Central Midlands White Suffolk stud, had the final bid on a long-bodied, well-muscled sire.
The Iveston 180869 son has Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs) of 0.38 birthweight (BWT), 9.7 weaning weight (WWT), 15.3 post weaning weight (PWWT), 1.3 post weaning fat (PFAT), 2.4 post weaning eye muscle depth (PEMD) and terminal carcase production (TCP) index of 142.9.
The next best price in the Iveston White Suffolk team was $1400 paid by clients of more than 10 years TC & JC Biddulph, Ravensthorpe.
The ram had ASBVs of 0.63 BWT, 12.2 WWT, 18.2 PWWT, -0.4 PFAT, 1.2 PEMD and a TCP index of 143.9.
Along with this ram the Ravensthorpe enterprise picked up another seven White Suffolk sires to finish with a team of eight at an average of $1125, making it the volume buyer in the Iveston run.
Just one White Suffolk ram short of the Biddulphs and taking home seven rams each were return buyers RL & CM Wiese, Narrogin and Tuer Pty Ltd, Williams.
The Narrogin enterprise averaged $957 for its team while the team heading to the Williams paddocks of Tuer Pty Ltd averaged $800.
Also supporting the Iveston White Suffolk offering strongly was the Congeling Park Grazing Co, Williams, which averaged $1033 across a team of six while TR & PT Ettridge, purchased six at an $883 average.
When it came to the Bingham family's South Suffolk offering, the six rams offered and sold went to two different buyers.
The most influential of these was Kim Medlen, KN & LA Medlen, Williams, who purchased five to a top of $925 and an average of $865.
Mr Medlen paid $925 for a 115kg ram which had a weaning weight in August last year of 30kg, while in November last year it weighed 49kg and had scans of 25mm EMD and 2.5mm fat.
Rounding out the prime lamb sire offering and the sale in general was fifth-year vendor Kira Batterbee, Kirrie Suffolk stud.
The Kirrie stud offered 10 Suffolks and sold five under the hammer to a top of $1000 and an average of $840, which was back $240 on last year.
The top price in the Kirrie offering of $1000 was paid by return buyer KM & LD Johnston, Williams, for an upstanding sire which has ASBVs of 0.42 BWT, 7.62 WWT, 12.48 PWWT, 0.47 PEMD, 0.09 PFAT and a TCP index of 118.78.
The Johnstons purchased a second Kirrie ram which had a TCP index of 133.5 for $800.
Also buying two rams from the Kirrie stud was NK & PM Schorer, West Pingelly, which paid $800 for both while the other Kirrie ram to sell was sold at $800 to DA & HM Phelps, Williams.