Ready to fire when the drought breaks

Ready to fire when the drought breaks

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A self-sufficient, large-scale prime lamb factory is for sale in the shape of Mogal Plain Aggregation, a highly developed mixed farming and lot-feeding operation in the Central West.

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A self-sufficient, large-scale prime lamb factory is for sale in the shape of Mogal Plain Aggregation, a highly developed mixed farming and lot-feeding operation in the Central West.

Ray White Rural Dubbo is marketing the 10,964 hectare (27,094ac) Tottenham property for owners Tony Kelly and his partner Jo Eldridge, who are looking to scale down.

The aggregation consists of two neighbouring blocks, Mogal Plain of 2460ha (6078ac) and Colbain of 8505ha (21,016ac), separated by just one paddock, and located 48 kilometres west of Tottenham.

Mogal Plain (sometimes spelt Mogil) has been in the Kelly family for more than half a century, having been bought by Tony's father, Brian, in the mid-1950s.

Colbain was acquired in 2014, having previously been held by the Hockey family for 98 years.

The property is offered for sale by expressions of interest, closing December 12, with offers invited for the aggregation as a whole, or as separate non-contingent blocks. The same agent's sale of a neighbouring block earlier this year suggests a likely bidding range upwards of $1000/ha.

Since 2013 Mogal Plain has been developed as a highly productive prime lamb factory, at its pre-drought peak (with Colbain) turning off some 13,000 lambs from a breeding base of 10,000 Australian White ewes.

Lambs were sold over the hooks to mostly southern NSW abattoirs at dressed weights of 26-27 kilograms either straight from the paddock or after finishing in the on-farm feedlot.

Described as level to gently undulating, open country of soft red loam to clay loam and sandy loam soils with some gilgai areas, Mogal Plain and Colbain are rated 95 per cent and 88pc arable respectively.

When in full production, Mogal Plain carried 3600 ewes and Colbain 6500 ewes, supplemented by an annual cropping program of up to 2000ha which provided grazing as well as all necessary fodder for the feedlot.

Built originally in 2008 as a 1000-head cattle feedlot before being reconfigured for sheep, the feedlot is designed for 4000 lambs and incorporates a fully-automated Boyd feeding system.

Lambs are fed in 19 pens of up to 320 head, with feed drawn from three silos (currently wheat, lupins and pellets), while a separate hopper allows the feed mix to be directed onto a truck for paddock feeding.

Crop paddocks on Mogal Plain are undersown with barrel medics, rose clover and lucerne, with 700ha of lucerne having been established since 2016.

Average rainfall is 425mm and Mogal Plain is watered by 14 dams ranging in size up to 14,500 cubic metres and Colbain by 47 dams and two bores (unequipped).

Both properties also benefit from periodic overland flows, and on Mogal Plain laser-levelled banks and channels are used to direct water to targeted locations.

The four-bedroom Mogal Plain homestead is the original weatherboard residence with recent extensions and renovations. It now boasts a modern kitchen and family living area, with an in-ground saltwater pool and gazebo.

Colbain comes with a three-bedroom cottage in established garden with double garage.

By PETER AUSTIN.

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