NSW and Victorian investors are running their rulers over a substantial pastoral aggregation with irrigation back-up now for sale near Moulamein in the southern Riverina.
The aggregation of Jawbone Station and Belmore is being marketed by Elders Deniliquin for the Balkin family, who are selling to consolidate at their home base at Casterton in Victoria.
Comprising in total 4673 hectares (11,547 acres), the aggregation represents a substantial entry opportunity for an investor to a region renowned for its Merino history and its abundant water.
Andrew and Leanne Balkin made their foray into the Riverina 16 years ago when they bought a 3309ha land parcel previously owned by the local Redfearn family on Jawbone Creek.
They renamed the property Jawbone Station, and eight years later added the adjoining Belmore of 1364ha, making up the aggregation now for sale.
The property is managed by their son Brad and his wife Ally, who live on another nearby property, Riverside.
Situated 33 kilometres east of Moulamein and 78km west of Deniliquin, Jawbone/Belmore comprises mostly level Riverina plains country of self-mulching clay loam to sandy loam soils.
The property has a 13km frontage to the Edward River, with frontages also to the Niemur River, Jawbone Creek and a Murray Irrigation channel, resulting in multiple water source options.
An area of about 240ha has been developed for irrigation and is used to grow pasture, cereals, corn and fodder crops for on-property use or sale to local piggeries and feedlots.
One such piggery is Riverlea's Balpool Piggery next door, from which more than 100 tonnes of pig manure compost has been spread over Jawbone/Belmore in recent years to enhance the soil structure.
The property has traditionally been managed for wool, lamb and cattle production, typically carrying 5000 breeding ewes with cattle as seasons permit.
Even under the present drought conditions the property is still carrying 4000 Dohne Merino ewes and lambs without hand-feeding, thanks to recent useful falls of rain.
Average rainfall is 366mm and the property draws stock and domestic water from the Edward River and a bore, while irrigation water (when available) is sourced from the unregulated Edward River or Murray Irrigation.
There is scope for expansion of the irrigation, and diversification into higher-returning crops including cotton or horticultural plantings.
Included in the sale will be a 65ha malting barley crop now making good growth on irrigation country. Half the crop area has been undersown to a sub-clover/ryegrass pasture mix.
The property has significant stands of remnant red gum and box timber, which apart from providing useful shelter for stock, generates some $130,000 a year from firewood harvesting.
Working improvements are of a high standard and include a four-stand shearing shed with large attached under-cover sheepyard complex, a 500-head set of steel cattle yards, machinery sheds and workshop.
A four-bedroom brick homestead on Jawbone Creek (used by the owners) is complemented by a four-bedroom 'barn-style' home on the Edward River, plus the one-bedroom Tubby's Retreat lodge for guests or farmstay use.
Expressions of interest for Jawbone Station/Belmore close with the selling agents on July 30.
Recent local sales have indicated a likely bidding range around $1,700/ha ($700/ac).
By PETER AUSTIN.