A strong run of predominantly Poll Merinos helped Darriwell Merino and Poll Merino stud enjoy a solid 38th annual ram sale today, hitting a top price of $10,000.
This figure eclipsed the Trundle stud's top from last year by $3200.
Held on-farm at Trundle, the sale offered 98 rams with 90 purchased for a clearance rate of 92 per cent, at an average of $2444, slightly down on last year's $2922, with repeat buyers leading the competition.
However, it was a first-time buyer who purchased the top priced lot.
After the sale got off to a cracking start with the opening lot sold for $7500, it was lot 5 which took top honours at $10,000, sold to John Lenehan, Arajoel, Galore.
The polled ram weighed 112 kilograms, while measuring 19.4-micron wool with a 2.7-micron standard deviation, 15.3 per cent coefficient of variation and 99.4pc comfort factor.
Part of the rams appeal was his strong carcase under fleece, measuring 6.5mm fat depth and 41.5mm eye muscle depth.
Mr Lenehan runs a 2000-ewe operation on 1200 hectares between Wagga and Narrandera and said he hasn't bought from Darriwell before.
"I haven't bought any rams from here before but I've been looking at Darriwell sheep for a number of years now and always thought they were pretty good sheep," he said.
"Standout features of the ram I bought today were the wool quality. he has nice, soft, bright white handling wool.
"The body underneath is very correct. he has a great backline and four square feet on a great carcase."
Mr Lenehan said he is going to use the ram as a stud sire.
"I have 300 stud ewes and breed my own flock rams," he said.
"So I'll use him as a stud sire and put him over some of the ewes at home."
Second top price of $7500 was paid for lot 1, one of only two horned rams in the sale, and was purchased by K and C Wardius, Rand.
Weighing 112 kilograms, the ram measured 18.7-micron wool with a 3.3-micron standard deviation, 16.4 per cent coefficient of variation and 99.5pc comfort factor.
He also presented with a good carcase, measuring 5.0mm fat depth and 39mm eye muscle depth.
Two other rams sold for $5500 and $5250 respectively.
By far the volume buyer of the sale was Peter and Odette Morley, Boomey Park, Larras Lee, who through farm manager Angus Shannon took home more than a quarter of the rams offered, purchasing 25 rams at an average of $2954 per head.
Mr Shannon said expansion from the Morleys had the operation needing to purchase a large number of rams to cover the increased number in ewes.
"We've been coming to Darriwell for probably 12 years now and are very happy with how it's going going," he said.
"We increased our land by 40pc last year when the Morley family bought another 4000 acres.
"At the moment we're carrying about 7800 ewes, so we've already got their numbers up and we just need the rams to service them."
Darriwell studmaster Russell Jones was happy with the sale result.
"Considering the seasonal conditions and stock prices, I think we've got to be very pleased with that average," he said.
"We're only running back, I think probably 18pc from last year, and that's a pretty good result.
"We had two good top price rams which is very pleasing. The buyers got good sheep and good sheep always sell.
"Throughout the sale, all the top rams had a lot of good competition.
"And I think there was good buying at the end of the sale for people whose budgets have been tight this year."
The sale was conducted by Schute Bell Badgery Lumby with Jason Hartin and Adam Chudleigh, McCarron Cullinane Chudleigh, Forbes, sharing auctioneering duties.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.