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NSW feedlot, cropping operation on market

Emma Alsop, May 11, 2022

AFTER over 45 years at the property, retiring lot-feeders and growers Ian and Louise MacCue have brought their 2216-hectare Wilga Aggregation to the market.

Located 15 kilometres from Bellata in north-west New South Wales, Wilga features a unique mix of a 5000-head feedlot license with 1431ha of cultivation capable of producing summer and winter crops, including sorghum, wheat, dryland cotton and forage oats.

BJA Stock and Station Agents’ Bob Jamieson, who is handling the sale alongside fellow agent Ben Hiscox, said Wilga was a reliable mixed operation which offers the next owner immediate and diversified income streams.

He said the sale will also come with a 622ha wheat crop currently being planted, and 1000 tonnes of silage.

“It is very well set up and it has been immaculately managed both the feedlot and the farms,” Mr Jamieson said.

“Someone will come in straight to an income stream.”

Thanks to the booming rural property market, Mr Jamieson said he expects the aggregation could fetch $23-$25 million.

“The Moree and Bellata country is making really significant money.

“Bellata is a clear 24-inch rainfall and it’s reliable.

“This one is absolutely drought proof, in a sense that we went through, supposedly, the biggest drought in 400 years and this one had no problems with water supply.”

Two-generation aggregation

Mrs MacCue’s father purchased the property in 1964, and Ian and Louise MacCue moved to the farm in 1976.

In its early days, Wilga was a mixed operation featuring sheep, a small piggery, cattle and broadacre cropping, with the MacCues transitioning the property to focus on grazing cattle and cropping.

Mr MacCue said this changed in the early 1990s when the couple made the decision to construct a 400-head feedlot.

Initially built to feed their own weaners, the couple found the proposition profitable through contracts with Woolworths and then Coles, and gradually expanded the operation.

“It has progressively grown because once you have the infrastructure there, you have to utilise it all the time,” Mr MacCue said.

“There is capacity there for just over 3000 head now, and the land is there to increase it.”

Wilga currently has the carrying capacity for about 3200 head of cattle, with scope to expand. Photo: BJA

Guaranteed water security

With the feedlot operation, rainfall and water entitlements, Mr MacCue said Wilga has always delivered a consistent income.

He said the property’s reliability comes from its water security from bores and dam sources, with 16-megalitre irrigation license, 7ML stock-and-domestic license, and access to dams.

“During the three droughts that have occurred since we had the feedlot, we have always had an income because we were always in a position where we could offload cattle every week.

“In the 46 years that Louise and I have been there, we have never missed out on a harvest.

“We have had a few poor ones, but we have always had one.”

He said this will continue for the next owners who take over the operation.

“Whatever happens in terms of rainfall in the next six months, whoever buys it is guaranteed a summer crop whether that’s cotton, sorghum or sunflowers, with the full profile of moisture throughout the whole farm.”

Mr MacCue said it wasn’t an easy decision to leave the farm, but it was the right time.

“It’s been a very good property for us and we were very sad to leave when we did, but it’s time.”

The couple have already moved off the property with their son Mike MacCue managing current operations, including the 2022 winter-crop planting.

Wilga Aggregation will be sold via an expressions-of-interest campaign closing July 6.

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