A chunk of prime cropping country east of Moree has hit the market as its owner – a fifth-generation member of a well-known local farming family – looks to new opportunities further north.
Lynden Rohde is selling his Moonbong/Wilga Park aggregation at Pallamallawa and plans to head for Queensland, where his family has already established a residential beachhead at Warwick.
He has listed the property for sale with Moree Real Estate and it is being offered as Moonbong Aggregation by expressions of interest, closing on March 23.
Comprising in total 2094 hectares (5175ac), the fully-developed aggregation is a relatively rare offering in the highly-regarded Pallamallawa winter/summer cropping district.
Mr Rohde bought Moonbong, of 1381ha, in 1994, later adding the adjoining Wilga Park of 714ha to make up the aggregation now for sale.
Both properties come with a homestead and working infrastructure, and could suit separate buyers, provided the whole aggregation is sold.
Situated five kilometres east of Pallamallawa and midway (40km each) between Moree and Warialda, Moonbong Aggregation fronts the Gwydir River for about 2km.
The country is described as level to gently undulating (contoured where necessary), with soils ranging from red and brown loams to heavier black and chocolate loams at the western end.
About 1600ha is normally cropped, of which about 500ha is black/chocolate country and the balance red/brown loams, leaving a balance of grazing and support country.
The main enterprise is winter cropping, predominantly barley which – prior to the drought – typically produced yields on the high side of three tonnes/ha.
Following useful falls of between 20mm and 50mm since last harvest, the ground is now holding good levels of subsoil moisture and plans are on track for a normal sowing.
Grazing country is normally used for cattle agistment, although the country also lends itself to a more beef-oriented enterprise mix, with supplementary fodder cropping.
Average rainfall is about 650mm and the property is watered by the Gwydir River, two equipped bores, 14 dams and the seasonal Mosquito Creek.
The spacious Moonbong homestead is of weatherboard construction with four bedrooms, set amid established lawns and gardens with outdoor entertaining area, tennis court, garage and meat house.
Another four-bedroom homestead on Wilga Park – built, like the Moonbong homestead, in the 1950s with recent updates - has been providing rental income when not needed by the family.
Working infrastructure is appropriate to the scale of the operation and includes on Moonbong a 3800-tonne fully enclosed grain shed, another 400t bulk shed, six self-emptying HE silos of 310t total capacity, steel cattle yards, workshop and assorted shedding.
Wilga Park comes with a 400t bulk grain shed, a 100t silo and steel cattle yards with five-way round yard.
Previous sales in the area suggest a likely bidding range for Moonbong Aggregation around $5000/ha ($2000/ac), or just over $10 million for the whole.