BUYERS let an opportunity to purchase quality woolled ram slip through their fingers at the Rintoul family's Dongiemon and Tilba Tilba on-property ram sale at Williams.
The line-up of 166 medium wool Dongiemon Merino rams and fine and superfine wool Tilba Tilba Poll Merino and Merino sires presented in excellent paddock condition and ready to work.
There was again good buying support from regular sale attendees who have used the bloodlines for many years and these buyers pushed prices to a high of $3100 for a Tilba Tillba Poll ram.
Buying support came from a range of environments, including the Great Southern, South West, northern Wheatbelt and the coastal plain as well as New South Wales, highlighting the versatility, adaptability and performance of the Rintouls' sheep in a range of environments.
However while there was good support from return buyers, the sale did lack a couple of buyers which affected the clearance rate.
When the Elders and Nutrien Livestock selling teams led by Elders auctioneer Preston Clake stepped off the rail at the end of the sale they had cleared 106 (64 per cent) of the 166 Dongiemon and Tilba Tilba rams under the hammer for an average of $1308, which was back just $1 on last year's overall sale average where 132 rams sold from 159 offered at an average of $1309.
The Rintouls sold 69 from 80 Dongiemon rams under the hammer to a top of $2500 and an average of $1377, back $40 compared to last year's average of $1417 for 84 rams sold from 94 offered.
In the Tilba Tilba line-up, 31 from 51 Poll Merinos sold to a $3100 top price and for an average of $1232, which was up $87 on last year's sale where 29 rams sold from 32 at an average of $1145.
In the run of Tilba Tilba Merinos. the auctioneering team had a challenging time and sold only six from the 35 rams offered at an average of $917, which was back $164.
Last year, 19 from 33 Tilba Tilba Merino rams sold at an average of $1084.
Mr Clarke said it was a very good line-up of rams across the shed in ideal condition to take home and put straight out to work.
"The Dongiemon line-up of rams, which I think was probably the best ever presented by the stud, saw a good roll up of regular clients competing consistently against each other, but they were like past years, selective in their purchases," Mr Clarke said.
"They were looking for good framed rams with good wools.
"When it came to the Tilba Tilba offering it was a good presentation of rams carrying true fine wools but unfortunately we just lacked a couple of buyers which reduced the competition across this section of the catalogue."
While the clearance of the Tilba Tilba rams was a little disappointing for the Rintoul family, they were happy to see one of their Tilba Tilba Polls sell for the day's $3100 top price.
Achieving the $3100 price tag was the fifth Tilba Tilba Poll offered when it was knocked down to first-time buyer Shane Edwards, Stockhill Grazing Co, Quairading.
Mr Edwards said he was at the sale with the aim of buying a Polled ram with a Merryville base.
"I think this ram will suit our environment well with his well-nourished, white wool," Mr Edwards said.
"He appears to be a heavy cutter which was something I was chasing as well.
"I was impressed by all of the progeny by this ram's sire, they were all very even and it was another reason we wanted to buy this ram."
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The upstanding, long-bodied sire carried Alfoxton bloodlines and had current wool figures of 16.9 micron, 3.2 SD, 18.9 CV and 99.9 per cent comfort factor (CF).
It had MerinoSelect indexes of 142.24 for MP+, 134.04 for FP+ and 141.29 for DP+.
Mr Edwards said he would use the ram in a nucleus flock of ewes with the aim of breeding Poll rams for his sheep enterprise.
The next best price in the Tilba Tilba Poll offering was $2700 paid by PJ & LJ Foster, Busselton, for a ram with wool figures of 16.9 micron, 3.6 SD, 21.3 CV and 100pc CF.
Also buying at the top end of the Tilba Tilba Poll run was return buyer Anne Kennedy, EK & L Kennedy, who purchased four sires to a top of $2000 twice and an average of $1500.
Their two $2000 rams had wool figures of 17.3 micron, 2.4 SD and 99.8pc CF and 17.4 micron, 3.1 SD and 99.9pc CF.
Like last year return buyers of four years the Mead family, GR & SL Mead, Chowerup, again took the volume buyer title in the Tilba Tilba offering, securing nine Polls to a top of $1000 three times and an average of $889.
The Meads will join 2000 ewes to Merino rams this year and another 3000 Merino ewes to Poll Dorset and White Suffolk sires.
Glenn Mead said the reason they have returned to buy from stud over the past four years was because they were chasing the stud's good, fine, white wools.
Just one ram behind the Meads and going home with eight on the ute at an average of $975 and to a top of $1900 was Toby Lavender, Redneval Grazing Co, Williams.
When it came to the six Tilba Tilba Merino rams sold they went to two buyers.
New South Wales buyer Rowen Matchett, Trunkey, purchased three at an average of $1033 and to a top of $1100 twice.
The other three Tilba Tilba Merinos to sell were purchased by SM King, Darkan, at an average of $800.
Leading the charge in the Dongiemon portion of the catalogue was the ninth ram offered when it was knocked down to return buyers Doug and Mark Fowler, DCS & JA Fowler & Co, Williams, who have been buying from the stud since the early 1990s.
The stylish crimped, white wool ram had wool figures of 20.8 micron, 3.9 SD, 18.8 CV and 98.9pc CF.
Mark Fowler said they were looking for rams with white, waxy, soft, free-growing wools and a plainer body and this ram ticked all those boxes.
"He has a bright, white wool, good staple length and a good frame," Mr Fowler said.
"We look for rams that are low maintenance and dual-purpose as we want an easy care sheep as our operation is 90pc cropping.
"While we are bigger croppers, sheep still play an important role in our program."
Not only were the Fowlers the top-priced buyer in the Dongiemon offering, they were the equal volume buyers.
Along with the top-priced ram the Fowlers purchased another 10 rams between $1100 and $2400 which was the run's equal second top price, to finish with a team of 11 at an average of $1773.
Their $2400 purchase had wool figures of 19.3 micron, 3.8 SD, 19.7 CV and 99.7pc CF.
Matching the Fowlers in the volume buyer stakes were return buyers of seven years Bruce and Lachlan Dowsett, Norrine Farms, Wandering.
The Dowsett's team of 11 rams topped at $1600 and averaged $927.
This year the Dowsetts will join 5000 ewes to Merino sires and 500 Merino ewes to Poll Dorset sires for a June lambing.
Long-time buyer Kevin Winspear, NH Winspear & Co, Broomehill, who has been buying from the stud for more than 25 years, was also active in the top end of the market purchasing eight rams at an average of $1813 and to the run's equal $2400 second top price.
Mr Winspear's $2400 ram had wool figures of 18.8 micron, 3.3 Sd, 17.6 CV and 99.8pc CF.
Another buyer to secure numbers at the top end was return buyer of 15 years Gary Abbott, GRT Abbott, Darkan, who purchased nine rams to a top of $2200 twice and an average of $1667.
Mr Abbott said he was chasing rams with well-nourished wools and a good surface to keep the dust out.
Also buying nine rams from the Dongiemon catalogue was John Batt and daughter Susie, AJ Batt & Co, Williams, who have been buying from the stud for 10 years.
The Batts paid a top of $1900 and an average of $1244 for their team which will join their Merino sire battery that will be joined to 2000 ewes this season for a May lambing.