'Just add water' might be a fitting instruction to the buyer of Longacres, a large-scale irrigation property just listed for sale in the currently drought-plagued Upper Namoi Valley.
Given water, Longacres is well equipped to capture and store overland flows or to pump river water, providing the wherewithal to grow a suite of winter and summer crops or fodder for livestock finishing.
Longacres is owned by Tamworth businessman Simon Kearney, who also owns a property at Attunga, north of Tamworth, and is selling Longacres after eight years as part of a downsizing program.
He has listed the 1703 hectare (4210ac) property with Ray White Rural where it is expected to attract strong interest from private and institutional buyers.
Situated on the fertile Mooki floodplain just south of Carroll (where it surrounds the Carroll cotton gin) and 30 kilometres south-east of Gunnedah, Longacres is a proven productive powerhouse just awaiting water to fulfil its potential.
Longacres is listed for a November 29 auction.
Described as 85 per cent arable, of which 640ha is developed irrigation, the property comprises mostly heavy black self-mulching soils rising to brown loams, with an average rainfall of 637mm.
The country is well suited to winter/summer crop rotations and in normal seasons grew winter cereals along with corn, sorghum and cotton.
Now in long-fallow mode owing to the drought, the property has only grown a chickpea crop in the past six years, and since 2012 the irrigation fields have all received applications of at least 4t/ha of poultry and cattle manure.
Instead of cash crops, the property for the past two years has been utilised for livestock trading, turning over some 3000 head of steers and finishing 12,000 lambs. Current stock on hand are 600 cows and 2000 ewes, plus progeny.
Although offered for sale without water entitlements, the property has access to Namoi River water through the Longpoint irrigation scheme shared channel, and daily pumping capacity of up to 70 megalitres.
Three on-farm storage dams with combined capacity of around 4000ML are designed for overland flow capture, with approval granted for an Upper Namoi Zone 3 groundwater development of 8ML.
Stock water is sourced from five stock and domestic bores reticulating to tanks and 28 paddock troughs.
A three-bedroom weatherboard manager's residence with solar power, in-ground pool and ducted air-conditioning is complemented by a self-contained 'directors' quarters' with upstairs accommodation, as well as three staff cottages.
A significant auction result was achieved on September 27 by Orange-based property agents McCarron Cullinane when the well-known Cudal property Marylebone went under the hammer.
Owned by Andrew and Janet Norton (and previously by Janet's father, Bob Smith), the 186ha Marylebone was sold at a spirited auction for $3.65 million to Backas Pty Ltd, a company of the Sydney-based Maple-Brown family.
The auction attracted numerous registered bidders but ended as a protracted duel between two parties, the final price working out at a hefty $19,623/ha ($8902/ac).
Previously larger, when it was home to famous Dorset sheep studs, Marylebone today is a holistically managed grazing property with estimated 7.5 DSE/ha carrying capacity, renovated homestead and extensive infrastructure.