Rebuilt Linton aggregation

Cattle breeding powerhouse

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One of the largest parcels of high-rainfall grazing country in northern NSW is in play as the latest instalment of the rural asset restructuring of Sydney-based mining and pastoral investor Tony Haggarty.

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One of the largest parcels of high-rainfall grazing country in northern NSW is in play as the latest instalment of the rural asset restructuring of Sydney-based mining and pastoral investor Tony Haggarty.

Earlier this year Mr Haggarty's Warrah Ridge aggregation at Quirindi was listed for sale by Tamworth agent Jim Lyons as the first major land sell-off by Mr Haggarty's Goonoo Goonoo Pastoral Company.

That sale process is understood to be at the pointy end, and now it has been joined by the further listings of the same owner's Linton aggregation at Barraba, and Rockley in the Upper Hunter.

Both are being marketed also by Jim Lyons Agency, and reportedly attracting strong investor interest, notwithstanding the drought still gripping the entire north west.

The sell-off of the three northern NSW land parcels - a combined area of just under 57,000 hectares - will leave Mr Haggarty still with substantial holdings, including the 5000ha Goonoo Goonoo Station at Tamworth and the 34,000ha Mt Harden aggregation near Blackall in Queensland.

Flagship of the latest offerings is the huge Linton aggregation comprising 14,176ha (35,031ac) and incorporating the individual parcels of Linton, Pera, Eumbra, Black Mountain and Beulah.

All were originally part of the Linton Station taken up in the 1880s by O.H. Carter.

They were held by his descendants in various configurations for many years.

The Linton that Mr Haggarty bought in 2005 - from Gary Rothwell's Fernside Pastoral Company - was a modest 5461ha, but it received a 3667ha expansion the following year when Pera was reunited with it.

Other annexations followed, until Linton became its present-day cattle-breeding colossus.

It carries in normal seasons 2500 black baldy breeders and replacements, as well as seasonal trade cattle.

In earlier times the properties jointly ran large numbers of sheep, and in O.H. Carter's day it was home to a respected Merino stud.

Situated 40 kilometres south-east of Barraba and 100km north of Tamworth, Linton is a productive mix of plateau, hill and valley country of mostly soft red to heavy basalt country, with some trap.

Native pastures have been augmented by introduced clovers.

The property is supered in a two- to three-year rotation, although the property also offers scope for more intensive pasture development.

Up to 500ha of oats are sown when conditions permit for winter forage.

Average rainfall is 700mm and the property's 100-plus paddocks are abundantly watered by 11 equipped bores (mostly solar) and more than 170 dams.

Working structures include seven sets of steel cattle yards, three woolsheds including the 10-stand (now seven) Linton shed and six-stand Pera shed, as well as machinery sheds, workshops and stables.

The original Pera homestead is now occupied by the manager Scott Taylor.

This homestead is of weatherboard construction, built in the 1930s but recently renovated, and retaining period features.

Set in established gardens with tennis court and pool, it has four bedrooms, two living areas, a modern kitchen and enclosed entertaining area with bar.

It is complemented by the four-bedroom Eumbra homestead of double brick construction (pictured), also dating from the 1930s, and several other homesteads and cottages.

Linton Aggregation is for private sale at an asking price of $25 million.

By PETER AUSTIN.

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