Handburys list impressive Mid North aggregation

Emma Alsop, November 16, 2022

Saltbush Ag is located in the fertile cropping and livestock Mid North region of South Australia. Photo: Ray White

ONE of South Australia’s largest mixed-farming aggregations is on the market with the listing by the Handbury family of Saltbush Ag.

The 2852-hectare holding has been developed as a cropping and prime lamb operation, with about 2547ha considered arable.

It is located in the sought-after Booborowie-Leighton area of the Mid North region, about 40 kilometres north-east of Clare and 170km north of Adelaide.

The aggregation comprises six non-contingent properties: Braefoot Block (879ha), Dolphins (141ha), Greenacres (661ha), North Booborowie (334ha), Feedlot Block (584ha) and Macks (253ha).

Ray White Rural SA agents Daniel Schell and Geoff Schell are handling the listing on behalf of the Handbury family.

Geoff Schell said he has never seen an aggregation this size offered to market in the Mid North.

“This listing for South Australia would be one of the biggest…that I have known in my 16 years of real estate,” Mr Schell said.

“It is good, consistent, reliable country that is relatively flat to undulating, some hills there.

“The Booborowie-Leighton district is highly recognised for its suitability and flexibility to broad enterprise options including growing cereals, oilseeds, legumes, hay production, prime lamb and wool production.”

He said there has been strong early interest in Saltbush Ag from parties interested in purchasing the entire aggregation or separate lots.

“There is over 70 people that we have spoken with; certainly, a lot from South Australia, but we have had a few from New South Wales, Northern Territory and Victoria.

“It can be purchased as one line, for the whole aggregation or in up to six parcels.

“Those six parcels where all separate farms in some time in the past.

“For the total area of (2852ha) that is a big parcel for that area.”

Co-owner Paddy Handbury said he had taken the opportunities to expand the family’s Mid North holdings when they presented themselves.

“We’ve had a long association with South Australia since Collinsville, and Saltbush Ag’s Mid North aggregation is made up of some prized fertile country, ideal for cropping, prime lamb, hay production and merino sheep,” Mr Handbury said in a statement.

Mr Schell said it was not an easy decision for the Handbury family to list the aggregation.

He said the property has been in the hands of father and son, Paddy and Jack Handbury since the 1990s.

It is currently managed by Jack Handbury with the help of staff members.

“The sale is a significant decision for the family.

“They are investing more in land around their home base where the rest of the family are.

“Jack and his wife Nerida and children are relocating back to where their home base is, which is in the South East of SA, around Lucindale and across the border into western Victoria.”

Paddy Handbury said the family had recently purchased farming properties in the Lucindale region.

“When times are good, good properties come up and we have just bought three cracking properties closer to home, so we’re keen for our son Jack and his family to move down south while his family is still young.”

The aggregation features extensive improvements including a sheep feedlot and yards. Photo: Ray White

Saltbush Ag has been growing mostly wheat, barley, canola and faba beans, as well as hay, vetch and lucerne.

Feedlot Block features two centre-pivot irrigation systems, typically used to grow lucerne, grazing oats and vetch.

It also includes a registered 5000-head sheep feedlot, alongside a shearing shed and sheep yards.

Mr Schell said there is “significant infrastructure” across the entire aggregation.

He said this goes back to the history of some of the holdings as functioning individual operations.

Overall, in addition to the livestock improvements, Saltbush Ag features several grain silos, workshops, hay and implement sheds, two main homesteads and five additional homes.

Saltbush Ag is being offered via expressions of interest close on December 15.

No price guide has been identified for the Saltbush Ag; however, based on nearby sales over the past 12-18 months, the property could make about $35-$40 million.


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