WIRRULLA'S Pimbena stud offered 79 Poll Merino rams and sold 69 at its 22nd annual auction on Thursday last week, despite the absence of two regular major buyers.
Stud principal Les Hamence catalogued his largest offering of performance-tested Poll Merino rams which averaged $1095 compared with $1171 in 2014.
The usual large crowd of local and interstate buyers started the bidding off strongly on a line-up featuring dual-purpose, fast-growing large-framed rams with white, soft-handling wool.
The top price of $3200 was paid by Di Thomas and John Duncan, Wallala. At 97 kilograms, the ram carried a 19.1-micron fleece with 14.3 coefficient variation and 99.6 per cent comfort factor. They also bought a further six rams.
Mr Hamence said he was pleased with the large turnout and with selling a few more rams than last year.
"It was such a great turnout of buyers - more then the last few years, to be honest," he said.
"A few new faces were in the crowd this year too - that's always a positive sign."
Volume buyers were Bill Walker, Classings Limited, Murray Bridge, taking three rams on behalf of Treveena Park, while MP&KM Tomney took home the same number.
Among the standout rams were first sons of new stud sire G395, bought for $51,000 at the 2013 Classings Classic sale.
Landmark Ceduna's Bruce Woods said Mr Hamence's rams featured a tremendous carcase and positive fat and eye muscle - testament to his top breeding program.
"Leslie is known for his knowledge of the Merino breed, in particular ASBVs and Sheep Genetics data, and his sheep presented well in a hard feed year,'' he said. ''These sheep are bred for local conditions and have proven performance.