A new benchmark for property in the Muttama Valley has been set, with the farm ‘Willows’ going for $11.5 million during an auction on Friday.
That price values the 1330 hectares (3300 acres) at approximately $3500 per acre.
Ahead of the sale, there was speculation the property would fetch above $10 million, and on Friday – that was where bidding began before rising to $11.5 million in minutes.
Darlington Point’s Toby Harrop will be taking ownership of the property and is planning to run sheep, cattle and cropping.
“It will probably be more sheep than cattle, but there’s certainly some country which is highly appropriate for cattle,” Mr Harrop said.
“I’m still working on how we’ll manage and work the property.”
Mr Harrop said the appeal of the property was in the “beautiful soils” and the reliable rainfall which is estimated at around 26 to 27 inches (685 millimetres) annually.
“It’s a special place,” he said.
“Hopefully it’s complementary as a risk management tool.”
Mr Harrop focuses on summer crops like cotton as well as running cattle and merino sheep near Darlington Point in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area.
While adapting to dry-land cropping would be a challenge he said was interested in running crops which could also be grazed by livestock and still deliver a good yield during harvest.
Mr Harrop was one of five bidders who were competing for Willows.
There were around 85 people in attendance to watch the sale including neighbours, agronomists, bankers and stock and station agents.
Inglis Rural Property conducted the auction and director Jamie Inglis said with six bidders registered, it spoke very highly of a property which had been expected to fetch over $10 million at acution.
“The result was very satisfactory. There were near record inspections, we were flat out,” he said.
He said valuers, agents and landowners would be taking notice of the result and it may lead to further land sales in the area in future.
“As far as auctions go, they don’t come much better, we had it knocked down in 10 minutes,” Mr Inglis said.
“When you’ve got an asset people want, an auction is the only way to go. This was a classic example.”
Mr Inglis said the vendor, Sydney-based investor James Mackenzie was “very happy” with the result.
“[Mr Harrop] is a very capable man and he’ll do a very good job,” he said.
“Land in the Muttama Valley is choice country, it’s revered nationwide. There’s not one farmer in Australia who wouldn’t want to have land in the Muttama Valley.”