Loyal clients were out in force at the Nepowie Poll Merino stud on-property ram sale at Nomans Lake last week to help the White family achieve an almost total clearance.
Of the 236 rams offered for sale, 227 - or 96 per cent - were sold under the hammer of Elders auctioneer Graeme Curry to 33 of the 35 registered buyers at an average price of $1940.
Bidding was strong throughout the entire catalogue, with competition from at least two buyers on most rams.
It was the ram harnessed on the rail at lot 3 that attracted the most attention - with the top bid of $6000 paid by Blechynden Farming Enterprises, Aldersyde.
Shane, Luke and Sam Blechynden had their sights firmly set on what would be their only purchase for the afternoon, and were pleased to be the successful bidders.
The 88.5 kilogram ram had Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBV) including 7.97 post weaning weight (PWT), 9.87 yearling weaning weight (YWT), -0.49 yearling eye muscle depth (YEMD), -1.76 yearling fat (YFAT), -0.96 yearling fibre diameter (YFD), 30.86 yearling clean fleece weight, a 181.34 Merino Plus index (MP+) and a 178.12 Dual Purpose index (DP+).
Scan raw data for the ram measured at 2.1 millimetres fat and 24.2mm EMD, while wool testing figures revealed a 19.3-micron fleece with 2.9 standard deviation (SD), 15 coefficient of variation of fibre diameter (CV) and 99.9 per cent comfort factor (CF).
Luke Blechynden said the ram was structurally correct, as well as having good long white wool with a bold crimp, which was what they were looking for.
"The CV and SD are low, and the growth figures are pretty good too," Mr Blechynden said.
He said they had started buying rams from the stud after buying their first line of Merino ewes, which were from a Nepowie bloodline.
They breed their own rams and buy at least one from the stud each year to continue putting the Nepowie genetics into their mated ewe flock, which sits at about 4000-head between Mr Blechynden and father Shane's properties.
Prior to starting the auction, Mr Curry complimented the White family on the quality line-up of big body, easy care rams, and buyers clearly agreed, with 29 of them taking home three or more rams.
One of those taking home three rams were the second-top buyers Dare Farming, Dumbleyung, with Jamie and Matt Dare paying $5000 for lot 10, and an average price of $2567 across the three.
Volume buyer of the day was SK & TR Angwin, Narrogin, with father-and-son duo Steve and Wade Angwin buying right throughout the catalogue to finish with 28 rams at an average price of $1775.
This included paying to a top of $2500 for the 95kg ram in lot 68, which had raw fleece data of 19.2-micron, 3.4 SD, 17.7 CV and 99.9pc CF.
Neighbours to the White family, Steve Angwin said his family was one of the most long-term commercial clients of the stud, with his father having bought rams at their first ever Poll Merino sale in about 1956.
They had come to this year's sale looking for big, free growing, open faced rams with good wool to complement their 19-micron flock average wool fibre diameter.
Having recently leased more land, Mr Angwin said the rams would be mated to about 6000 head of Merino ewes.
"We're in it for the long haul, we're as optimistic as you can be," he said.
Also putting together a substantial team throughout the sale was Elders Mingenew representative Ross Tyndale-Powell, who was bidding on behalf of VR & BJ Elsegood & Son, Mingenew.
Although Gavin Elsegood and daughter Chloe attended the sale, they left it to Mr Tyndale-Powell to secure their 22 rams at an average price of $2282.
This included paying to a top price of $4100 for the sire in lot 61.
The big 106kg syndicate-sired ram had ASBVs including 8.81 PWT, 11.6 YWT, 0.65 YEMD, -1.23 YFAT, 1.11 YFD, 13.06 YCFW, 132.42 MP+ and 151 DP+, along with scan results of 2.4mm fat and 27.2mm EMD, and wool figures of 22.2-micron, 4.1 SD, 18.5 CV and 98.4pc CF.
Buyers for more than 20 years, Mr Elsegood said they were looking for better sized rams with wool that could handle heavy country.
They also needed the bigger haul of 22 rams, compared to 15 last year, as they had to top up their ram numbers that would be mated to their 3200-head ewe flock.
Taking home 13 rams was W & G Wilson, Narrogin, at an average price of $1415 and to a top price of $1900 (three times), while Carlton Springs, Narrogin bought 12 rams at an average price of $1492 and also to a top price of $1900 (three times), and LD Kilpatrick & Co, Narrogin bought 12 at an average price of $1317 and to a top price of $1700 (three times).
Another four growers bought 10 rams each, including Terrica Valley, Karlgarin, at an average price of $1220 and to a top of $1400; Murray James, Jesmond Farms, Karlgarin, at an average price of $2030 and to a top price of $2500; and McDougall Bros, Tincurrin, at an average price of $920 and to a top price of $1000.
The fourth grower was Stockdale Enterprises, Hyden, which bought 10 rams at an average price of $2740 and to a top price of $4000 (twice).
Of the rams they selected, Chris, Cheryl and Trent James from Stockdale Enterprises, bought nine rams from the first row.
Chris James said it was a few more rams than they would normally buy from the stud, which they had been clients of for more than 40 years, because they were increasing their mated ewe numbers by about 150 head to about 1350 head.
"They are good big robust rams that perform well in our environment," Mr James said.
"We look at their body, as well as looking for nice white crimpy wool and good growth figures."
Mr James said, while there was strong bidding for many of the rams they successfully bought, they were prepared to spend good money on rams that suited their flock profile.
Also busy in the first row was Nalya Farming Co, which snapped up a majority of their nine rams early to take back to Brookton at an average of $2611, including paying to a top of $3900 for lot 43.
Alfranco Farms, Newdegate, bought eight rams at an average price of $1200 and to a top price of $1700, as did AN & RA Baker & Son, Pingaring, who paid an average price of $1900 and to a top price of $2400 for their eight.
Buying six rams were Scotsman Farms, Beacon, at an average price of $1400 and to a top price of $1700, and PT & IM Jensen & Sons, Pingaring, at an average price of $2050 and twice to a top of $2300.
Craig Jensen said his family connection to Nepowie had spanned more than 50 years - as that was when his grandfather started buying there, and that he continued to select his sires from the stud because of their big frame, and nice plain easy-care body.
Taking home five rams were RB & B Lay, Lake Grace, paying an average price of $2020 and to a top price of $2400; Harold Beagley & Co, Beacon, paying an average price of $1020 and to a top of $1200; and BC Hardie & Co, Wandering at an average price of $3000 and to a top price of $4000.
Meanwhile, a further six growers bought four rams each - Erinbrook Estate, Wickepin, at an average price of $1475; HRD Pastoral, Dudinin, at an average price of $3150; GS Bolt & Son at an average of $2200; TW Flavel & Co, Highbury, at an average price of $1025; Boyagin Valley Farm, Brookton at an average price of $3400; and Dumbitt Hills Pastoral Co, Wandering, at an average price of $1975.
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