An increase in the top-end and average sale price highlighted a successful 26th annual Pimbena Poll Merino Stud on-property sale near Wirrulla on Wednesday.
Pimbena stud principal Les Hamence had two fewer rams on offer compared to 2018's 56 and the number of rams sold dropped from 49 to 40, however the crowd of mostly repeat buyers helped to raise the average price from last year's offering.
The average climbed considerably from $1016 12 months ago to $1240 this time around, while Wirrulla's Trevor and Sylvia Pittaway paid the top price of $3400 for lot 5 - representing an increase of $400 on 2018's top-priced ram.
The 103-kilogram ram carried an 18.8 micron fleece with 3.0 standard deviation and a 99.9 per cent comfort factor.
The 15-month-old was sired by Pimbena 509 and was the only ram to pass the $3000 mark.
Mr Pittaway, who was also one of the volume buyers with five auction purchases, said it was a good day.
"What I liked about the top ram was he had a good frame and wool," he said.
"Being born and bred from the local area they are used to the local conditions and that is the main reason I buy from Les.
"I tend to buy about the same number each year."
Other volume buyers included Streaky Bay's Myles Tomney with seven purchases and Wirrulla's Daryl Lawrie with six.
Both noted the rams were "good value for money" and were pleased with their purchases.
Mr Tomney's top purchase was for $2700, while Mr Lawrie paid a top price of $800.
Mr Hamence said he was happy with how the sale went.
"It was a fairly good sale and about where I thought it would be," he said.
"I was surprised to see a few new buyers and while there were some regulars who didn't buy, I was happy with the top price.
"Overall, the average selling price, the number sold and the top buy did well."
Mr Hamence said farmers were having a more productive season after enduring two difficult years and he was expecting an even better return next year.
"The season has helped, but a bit of late rain would've been even better," he said.
"I look for growth rates and to increase fleece rates, but if they are not getting feed you struggle to get anything good - however these were the heaviest I've ever had at an average of 101 kilograms from that low feed rate.
"I could just about guarantee next year will be even better."
Mr Hamence said he was focusing on pedigree and noted one family line he dated back to 2000 had produced 300 lambs, with 32 sold through the sale yard in two decades - including two at this year's auction.
Landmark SA auctioneer Gordon Wood said the sale provided a pleasing outcome for Mr Hamence.
"There was a fair lift in the average price and it was predominantly return buyers, which is ideal if the regulars are coming back," he said.
"Given the current season and what we have come out of in the past few years, it was a good result.
"There was a good average price, a good number sold, buyers were happy to bid up on the top rams, and the top sale went for a bit more than what we thought."