Serious investors in broadacre farming country have been offered a rare opportunity to acquire up to 10,000 hectares of prime hard wheat country in north-west NSW. The offering has come about as a result of the various downsizing and succession planning requirements of the owners of the Coonamble district properties “Nunkeri”, “Loch Lomond” and “Combogolong”.
Together, the three holdings comprise 10,185ha (25,156ac) of highly regarded Castlereagh floodplain country, nearly all of it arable and rich in high-fertility, self-mulching black soils.
The properties are configured in two parcels: “Nunkeri” (3325ha) and “Combogolong” (5171ha) in one contiguous section, and “Loch Lomond” (1689ha) as a separate portion immediately to the south. “Nunkeri” and “Loch Lomond” are both owned by Alec Wheeler, who is downsizing, and “Combogolong” by Chris and Belinda Star, who are selling as part of family succession planning.
Both owners have other properties in the district. To handle the sales, they have engaged Kim Watts of Ray White Rural Forbes, who is no stranger to marketing job lots, having put together (while then working for Elders) the “Urawilkie Aggregation” sale of 20 Coonamble properties to Hassad Australia in 2014.
The latest Coonamble aggregation has been booked for auction in Dubbo on July 3 as three separate blocks, but with the proviso that it can be bought as a whole beforehand, by negotiation. As such, the listing has attracted strong enquiry, both from established local farming interests and prospective investors.
The properties are located about 65 kilometres north of Coonamble on the western side of the Castlereagh River (which intersects “Combogolong”). All three properties are subject to periodic beneficial flooding from the river, which assures a bumper crop in the following season.
Whoever buys the “Combogolong” property will inherit a rich slice of pastoral history, as the country was some of the first to be taken up in the district – by pioneer squatter John Blackman in the 1840s. In its heyday as a somewhat larger station in the late 1800s, “Combogolong” shore up to 70,000 sheep and was a regular supplier of fat sheep and cattle to Sydney and Melbourne markets.
The present owners bought the property 10 years ago and before developing the country for intensive cropping they were running 1000 cows and growing 2000ha of fodder crops.
Today “Combogolong” – like “Nunkeri” and “Loch Lomond” – is given over to cropping, utilising the natural fertility of the soils and the climatic suitability to both winter and summer crops.
The country lends itself to modern farming methods and minimum till systems are employed for sustainability. Fertiliser is rarely used, and wheat is sown at a rate of around 22kg/ha.
A successful purchaser will be allowed early access to both “Nunkeri” and “Loch Lomond”, while “Combogolong” is leased (for $550,000 a year) to Victorian farming interests until the end of 2019.
All three properties are watered by capped and piped bores piping to tanks and paddock troughs, and a 360-megalitre river irrigation licence will be available to the buyer of “Combogolong”. Structural improvements are in keeping with the scale of the operation and include three homes, quarters, 7000 tonnes of silo storage plus bunkers, extensive shedding, a shearing shed and cattle yards.