IT was the end of one chapter and the start of new one for the Quailerup West Merino stud last week when it was announced it had been sold.
After a tough year in more ways than one for the Scanlon family, Arthur River, they decided the time was right to put the stud on the market last month and it only took one call by Elders stud stock representative Nathan King to find it a new home.
That phone call was to the Mullan family, Eastville Park stud, Wickepin, who had no hesitation in saying yes, signalling their confidence in the Merino industry.
The sale, which was signed off last week, involves the complete Quailerup West Merino and Poll Merino flock and comprised 1900 mature ewes, 50 stud sires, 800 ewe lambs and 500 ram lambs.
The Mullan family's intention is to run the stud as a separate entity to their Eastville Park stud and maintain the same bloodlines and mating principles as the Scanlon family.
The Quailerup West ewes will be run on the family's Dudinin property.
Mr King, who has been classing for Eastville Park for eight years, said the Eastville Park and Quailerup West flocks complemented each other well, with plenty of similarities between the two flocks.
"The Mullans and I had been talking for a while about looking at ways to expand the stud, so we have been looking for an opportunity to buy a stud if something came up, as long as it ticked all the boxes, which Quailerup West certainly did," Mr King said.
"As a result of these discussions they were the first people I called when James said the family wanted to sell and they had no hesitation in saying yes."
While it was not as easy decision for the Scanlon family to make they believe it is the right one for them and the stud.
"We have had to make some tough decisions of late in regards to the running of the property and how to structure things," James Scanlon said.
"In the end we felt that we would no longer be able to run the stud in the way we liked and the way it should be done, therefore we decided it was best to offer it for sale.
"It has been a tough process to pass a family legacy onto someone else and Nathan has done an excellent job in helping us through this process.
"The upside of the sale I believe is the Mullan family, who have purchased the stud, will keep the legacy going.
"They have taken it on as complete unit which was great as we really didn't want to see it split up.
"They are good people and good sheep people and I think they will do the sheep justice."
Mr Scanlon said the Mullan family were the first to be approached about the sale and were immediately interested.
"The subsequent purchase shows their high regard for the sheep and their intent to keep it as separate unit shows their understanding of the potential to do well with it," Mr Scanlon said.
"I truly believe they will make every effort to continue to make sure our clients' sheep enterprises are successful."
Eastville Park co-principal Rob Mullan said they were grateful for the opportunity to purchase the whole Quailerup West stud.
"It was an opportunity of a lifetime to buy sheep of this quality and depth with this history of breeding behind them," Mr Mullan said.
"We are all passionate about Merino breeding and have been talking for a while about increasing our numbers and expanding, so this was just an opportunity we couldn't let slip.
"The Quailerup West sheep and our flock will complement each other really well.
"Not only are the Quailerup West sheep suited to the high rainfall areas but they also perform really well for clients in the Wheatbelt areas.
"We really want to thank the Scanlon family and Nathan for giving us the opportunity to purchase the stud and we are looking forward to meeting and working with the Quailerup West clients going forward."
The breeding behind the Quailerup West stud started in 1941 when James' great grandfather TS Scanlon founded the Quailerup stud with his son TB Scanlon with the purchase of two rams and 55 ewes from the Boconnoc Park and Mannanarie flocks.
The Quailerup stud split in 2002 and Quailerup West was founded.
This year the stud held its 13th on-property sale.
Roseville Park has been the main bloodline for the stud for the past 30 years, along with its own bloodlines.
The stud has had a major influence on many breeding programs through its well-known sire Quailerup West Western Purple 24.
The Western Purple bloodline still appears in many stud pedigrees across WA and Australia.
The Mullans are no strangers either to the Western Purple bloodline as they have used it in their Merino flock with great success.
This was another reason for them to say yes to the offer.
Grantly Mullan said the Western Purple family had bred really well in their Merino flock.
"Not only have we seen the bloodline perform in our own flock but we have also seen how the flocks of a number of Quailerup West clients perform in this area," he said.
"The stud has a lot of clients in the Wheatbelt and in particular the Wagin, Dumbleyung and Dudinin areas and we know the sheep perform for them.
"So we are excited about getting the Quailerup West flock out to Dudinin and seeing how it will perform.
"There is nothing we are going to have to change as we know the quality is right.
"There is plenty of positivity in the industry at the moment with wool prices up 20 per cent and sheep prices strong.
"We really see a future in the Merino industry.
"If there was nothing positive in the industry we wouldn't be expanding and doing what we are doing."
Mr King said purchasing the Quailerup West stud would allow the Mullans to expand their operation and progressively grow their ram sales.
"We know there are operations out their looking for 20 to 30 rams a year and hopefully from next year the Mullans will be able to attract these volume buyers to their sale as they will have the numbers and quality to allow them to purchase in one place," he said.
Mr Scanlon will stay involved with the stud going forward and work with the Mullans and in particular Todd for the next few years.
He will work with Todd and Mr King classing for clients and on mating programs and will also attend field days and sales to assist clients.
Next year the Mullans will have a combined ram sale for the two studs on one day at their Wickepin property and will offer 240 rams (80 Polls and 40 Merinos from Eastville Park and 90 Merinos and 30 Polls from Quailerup West).
Todd said it was great opportunity for the family to expand their existing operation and he looked forward to meeting all the Quailerup West clients in the new year, with Mr Scanlon and Mr King.
"From our point of view nothing is really going to change for the Quailerup West clients in terms of breeding and service, the only change will be the sheep will be running out at Dudinin and the sale will be at Wickepin," he said.