AGRICULTURE investment firm, goFARM, has called time on Mildura district dryland cropping enterprise, Petro Station, with the property expected to attract more than $20 million.
The 26,673-hectare holding is set to list on September 12 with LAWD, and is located in New South Wales, 50 kilometres north-east of Mildura.
Almost 10,000ha is cultivated for broadacre production, with the remaining land dedicated to conservation.
goFARM purchased Petro Station in 2017 and has since undertaken significant improvements to offer modern infrastructure, and a sophisticated water network.
goFARM managing director Liam Lenaghan said the property’s transformation was rolled out over a five-year program to increase scale of production and operational efficiency, in addition to converting the land from crown lease to freehold.
“Petro Station is regionally renowned for its high-quality red sandy loam soils and prime pine-buloke country,” Mr Lenaghan said.
“We saw Petro Station as a blank canvas, an ideal platform for implementing the same best-practice farming system that has revolutionised the Mallee in the past decade.
“Our focus has been on applying strategies, technologies and disciplines to enhance soil productivity, capture and utilise rainfall, and build resilience into the farming system.
“Our outstanding management team introduced farming best practices, including a no-till approach, crop diversity, a robust nutrition program, and precision-agriculture technology to facilitate site-specific management practices to optimise inputs and returns.”
Mr Lenaghan said he believed Petro Station was just starting to show its capacity to produce.
“It has been transformed from a traditional, cultivated pasture-fallow-wheat farming program to a modern, proven, best-practice farming system, and as a result we are expecting 25,000-30,000 tonnes of lentils, chickpeas, wheat and barley harvest this year.”
Water supply is a feature of the property, with supply secured via two separate sources, a licensed stock-and-domestic water entitlement with private diversion from the Darling River via a 32km pipeline.
Bore water, treated in an onsite desalination plant, offers a second source of water and is used as back-up for spraying.
Water is distributed around the farm via an underground pipeline, and stored in 14 130,000-litre tanks.
The property also features a hub with new workshop, chemical shed and machinery and hay sheds, and 11 75t grain silos were added to supplement Petro’s existing three 55t silos.
A new 8km boundary fence has also been erected.
“We have invested around $2M dollars in hard infrastructure including staff accommodation, modern workshop, machinery shed, hayshed, seed and fertiliser storage, water systems and fuel storage.
In addition, two 15m communication towers and repeaters were installed to support the technology ecosystem on the property.
Petro Station can also accommodate all workers onsite with two dwellings and contractors’ quarters, including a commercial kitchen.
LAWD senior director, Col Medway, said Petro Station presented a generational opportunity to secure a highly-productive and sustainable primary production asset, and was ideally suited to an existing grain enterprise looking to expand operations in an evolving region.
“With the phenomenal rise in rural property prices over the past two years, it has restricted some grain growers wanting to expand their landholdings locally,” Mr Medway said.
“Petro Station has been transformed into a powerhouse for grain production and offers compelling value compared with other key grain-growing areas.
“The bordering Mallee region has undergone a farming revolution over the past decade, and Petro Station is attractively placed in proximity to Mildura, a thriving regional city providing access to markets, labour and supporting primary-production businesses and infrastructure.”
Mr Medway said Petro Station was unique in its ability to offer an additional level of diversification due to its environmental, social and governance (ESG) credentials.
“goFARM has done an outstanding job of carrying on the legacy of the previous owners, with more than 12,000ha set aside for the protection of native flora and fauna.
“This commitment to sustainability is evident across Petro Station’s farming system, soil conservation techniques, and environmental-management practices, which could potentially provide an income stream in the future through carbon and ESG opportunities.”