On the back of an improved season, a big crowd gathered at Jesse and Courtney Hull's Minta Poll Merino and Merino ram sale at Mount Cooper last month.
A total of 47 registrations was 11 more than last year and the competition was fierce with 128 of the 136 rams on offer selling to a top of $7000 - which occurred twice - and an average of $2130.
That average was up $403 compared to last year and the top price by $1000, while 20 more rams cleared at auction.
The quality of the line-up of 103 Poll Merinos and 33 Merinos was high, with dual purpose traits evident throughout.
The heat was on from the very start as lot one was sold to Peter and James Russell, Derrington and Russell, at Coomunga for $5500.
Buyer of the top priced ram for the past three years, Clint Rayner of the Millbrae stud at Kimba then used the oldest trick in the book by placing an opening bid of $6000 on a 103-kilogram and 19.7 micron ram which scared off other potential bidders.
However, it was lots three and four that shared the top priced honours this year, the former heading to Derrington Russell and the latter off to Nigel and Debbie May from Elliston.
Both rams had similar wool figures, with lot three having a 20.2 micron and 99.2 per cent comfort factor on a 100kg frame, with lot four offering a 19.7 micron and 99.2 per cent comfort factor but weighing 113kg.
James Russell said they came to Minta for the first time on the advice of their agent and liked what they saw.
"We initially picked out the lot one ram but felt both rams ticked all the dual purpose boxes we are looking for."
He explained they selected a top ram every few years to breed their own flock ram requirements to go over their 3000 ewes.
"As a family, we've been doing that successfully since grandpa did way back in the 1930s," he said.
The May family have traditionally purchased horned rams but have "moved with the times".
"There has been far more genetic advancement in Polls in recent times, so there are now more top progeny available," Mr May said.
"We liked the all-round attributes of the lot four ram - he's just a big balanced, uncomplicated and productive ram."
The Mays did not abandon the horned options altogether as their second purchase of the day was the first Merino offered, for $4500 - the equal high for horned rams.
Elders Streaky Bay-based agent Paul Kilby chimed in on the second Merino, also at $4500 for Les Pearson of Kooran View Pastoral at Wirrulla.
Strong bidders throughout the sale were Geoff, Leroy and Rohan Hull of GV Hull Nominees at Port Kenny.
With 11 rams they were the biggest volume buyers, paying to $5800 and averaging $3164.
Simon Guerin of Courtabie Pastoral at Port Kenny was the only other double figure purchaser, successfully bidding on 10 rams to $1600 and averaging a great value $940.
Each year Minta donates the proceeds of one of its rams to the Royal Flying Doctor Service, this year being lot 77.
It made $2800, going to Las Ranges Enterprises at Minnipa, buying through Landmark Wudinna.
Jesse Hull said he was happy with the sale.
"We were proud of the offering we were able to put up and I think most people today were able to get what they were looking for," he said.
"Naturally, we are very thankful to all the bidders for their support."