Familiar faces made a welcome return to the Bungulla ram sale shed near Manilla on Friday with plenty of confidence in the air.
Fresh off the back of a highly successful Longreach ram sale debut, the Capel family were again met with strong support for their genetics, especially from loyal clients who were welcomed back after battling years of drought.
At least 100 of the 108 rams sold under the hammer with horned rams slightly dearer and averaging $1743 to top at $6500 while the Poll Merinos evened out at $1670 and topped at $3250.
Many of the unsold lots were quickly snapped up by the woolgrowers afterwards who were chasing quality white wools to handle the summer rainfall with plenty of bulk, length of staple and good bodies.
Attendees of the sale almost didn't recognise stud principal Peter Capel without his lucky yellow shirt that had been a key feature of the auction for around 17 years.
Thankfully his new attire didn't have any bad omens and he was all smiles after the "terrific sale" that featured a solid top end and and good value buying towards the final lots.
"A lot of people are back that haven't been back for a year or two because of the drought and a lot of our western clients are still pretty wounded," he said.
"They are down on ewe numbers, ewes are expensive to buy and they are still only just out of that part of the world so they are not really confident to go and restock with all these expensive sheep at the moment but there was a good turn up old faces today and a couple of new ones."
After missing just his second sale in 37 years last year, Brian Brazier of Wombang at Euchareena wasted no time in building up an order of six rams when he started buying from the first lot of the day.
Drought had kept him from restocking his sire battery last year but the property was now enjoying one of its best seasons since 2016.
As a result he handed over the highest bid of the day at $6500 for a 19.5 micron ram weighing 97 kilograms with a 2.9 standard deviation, 15.1 coefficient variation and 99.8 per cent comfort factor.
The ram was one of a handful of Mr Capel's favourites who he had contemplated retaining.
Mr Brazier was chasing heavy cutting rams between 19 and 20 micron with good, bright wool.
"I'm down on numbers at present and I've only got about 1500 on but you have got to have confidence in something so we are building up again," he said.
"We shear in May. The weaners topped Sydney sales again for MacDonald Woolbrokers, which they have done two out of four years."
The top price poll ram, a 20.3 micron sire weighing 102.5 kilograms with an eye muscle depth of 36, was secured by Rohan Clark, Appledore Pastoral, Barraba for $3250.
It was his only purchase for the day, opting to buy quality over quantity due to reduced numbers.
The daughter stud to Bungulla will join 950 ewes, back from a typical 1800 to 2000.
"The bonus that we get with him is he has got a fairly natural bare breach," he said.
"We don't normally single sire anything but being that he is a natural bare breach ram we might select some 60 odd ewes to try and breed that through him."
He commended the Capels on the draft of rams.
"If you came to the sale and didn't go home with a ram, I think you are pretty hard to please," he said.
"If you wanted a ram and you had good solid ewes and you weren't chasing anything in particular you could have taken any rams home. Nothing there is going to do you any harm."
Local buyers had to get in quick for a bid against Elders agent Scott Thrift who secured 17 rams for Wyralla Grazing, Wyralla, Dirranbandi, Queensland.
Pilliga-based Epping Pastoral Company was successful with nine purchases while Tannabah Pty Ltd, Coonabarabran, along with Durndrax and Hemswell, Willow Tree, with six each.
Darouble Partnership, Purlewaugh and Glenys McDonald, Woodland, Manilla, both took home five each.
A total of 28 buyers were successful on the day with Mr Capel congratulating guest auctioneer Paul Dooley for his hard work, wrapping up the catalogue in under an hour.
The sale was run by Elders Tamworth.
Read the full report in The Land next week.