HIGH quality wool was the strength of the day at the Rock-Bank and Rockbank South's annual ram sales, held in Victoria Valley on Monday.
Despite the current cheap sheep market, buyers were willing to pay five-figure sums for Merinos that showed good micron and high comfort factors in their breeding values, with buyers chasing good genetics
While there were many passed in lots, Rock-Bank stud surpassed expectations with the best average they have recorded.
The stud sold 39 of 47 rams with an average of $3378, with the top-price of $10,000 achieved twice on Lot 3 Tag 21 and Lot 8 Tag 734.
Lot 3 Tag 21 had a 16 micron fleece, a standard deviation of 3, a coefficient variant of 18.3 and a comfort factor of 99.8 per cent.
Many passed in rams were sold after the sale concluded.
That ram was bought by an undisclosed bidder from New England, NSW, who was represented by John Croake of AWN, Tamworth.
Mr Croake said he was impressed by the ram's structure and high quality wool was a definitive factor.
"He's very very correct, and his wool is just magnificent," he said.
"From tip to toe, he has beautiful nourishment and finish to him and I was really looking for an ultra fine finish to an animal."
Lot 8 Tag 734 had a 16.8 micron fleece, a SD of 2.2, a CV 12.7 and CF of 99.9pc.
It was bought by local Phil Hartwich of Mt Challicum Merino stud, Ballyrogan.
Mr Hatwich said he had his eyes on "good quality skin" but, like many others at the sale, was looking for high wool quality.
"[This ram is] well covered, structurally correct and the nice, lovely wool is something we aim for," he said.
"We'll use him over our ultrafine ewes as soon as we can."
Rock-Bank stud co-principal John Crawford said he was pleased with the sale.
He highlighted the good average, the $10,000 rams, plus eight lots which passed $5000 were an indication the wool market stayed robust.
"This is the best lot of rams we've presented... but the demand has exceeded expectations," he said.
John Crawford said his rams were more suited to dry conditions, and it was a great achievement to get them to a good standard, considering they were "walking in mud up to a month ago" due to a wet June.
"They've really had a tough time to get to the stage where they are now which shows they will stand up to this environment we are showing into,"
"Having stood up to the mud and the rain the wool came through quite perfect."
"While the state of the market was the back of the mind... we have over the last ten or so years really focused on producing superfine and ultra fine sheep," he said.
"Meat prices had been really dear so we did focus on carcase, but we've kept the high quality wool on, with low micron now that the meat market has come off the boil a bit."
Bayindeen Park, Tatyoon, was a significant volume buyer of the day, buying 11 lots for an average of $2227.
Stud principals Sam and Chloe Crawford also sold under their stud prefix Rockbank South and sold 13 of 18 rams with an average price of $1888, with a top price of $4500 for Lot 51 220551, bought by David Moyle, Randall Park, Caramut.
Sam Crawford said it was "a strong result" for him, with an extra four rams sold after the sale.
"Considering we ended up selling 17 out of 18 rams, I'd say it was a really good day," he said.
"It's our third year selling rams, so it's still very early days for us, and we've put a few more up this year, so it was still a big improvement on last year.
"For a small business, it was good to see rams being sold back to paddocks."