Property

Scale comes to market with Nicoletti’s Apache

Grain Central, January 17, 2022

The Apache Agriculture Portfolio last year cropped 30,750ha and can run up to 5000 ewes. Photo: LAWD

ANOTHER large-scale offering from Western Australia’s John Nicoletti is up for sale to kick off action in the big end of the market for cropping property.

Covering 45,057 hectares, it is being marketed via LAWD as the Apache Agriculture Portfolio.

It comprises the 21,265ha Beacon Aggregation, 120 kilometres north of Merredin, and the 23,792ha Newdegate Aggregation in the Lake Grace Shire between Esperance and Perth.

Jointly, the aggregations hold 37,000ha of arable country which has been used to grow barley, canola, lupins, oats, triticale and wheat, and run merino sheep.

Wheat last year accounted for more than 22,000ha of cropped area.

The portfolio contains properties which have been bought by Mr Nicoletti over recent years, and it is being sold through an expressions-of-interest campaign closing January 30.

While the portfolio is ideally suited to an institutional investor, LAWD has stated consideration will be given to selling the aggregations separately, or to breaking them up for sale to family farming operations.

It is being offered with a full and near-new operational plant, joined merino ewes and cropping inputs, and in the wake of a record harvest for WA.

Nicoletti’s latest

Mr Nicoletti and wife Julie came to the attention of the national property market as the vendors of what is now known as Merredin Farms.

The 200,000ha mixed-farming aggregation was purchased in 2019 for around $60 million by the Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Company.

Last year, Mr Nicoletti sold his network of John Deere dealerships in WA to the South African-based AFGRI, and then sold his share in Murray River Land (MRL) and Ulupna Pastoral Company  to ROC Partners.

His partner in MRL and Ulupna was LAWD agent Danny Thomas, who along with Simon Wilkinson in WA is handling the Apache listing.

While no price guidance has been published with the listing, media reports have stated it could fetch close to $100 million if sold as a walk-in walk-out deal including inputs.

Average annual rainfall is 314 millimetres at Beacon, and 361mm at Newdegate.

Beacon soil types include jam and mallee gravel sandplain duplexes with portions of salmon gum clay. An ongoing soil-amelioration program is in place with lime applied on deep-ripped fallow soils.

Newdegate soil types include mallee and grevillea gravel sandplain duplexes, lake-bank loams, and portions of mallee and salmon gum clay, and amelioration programs have been adding lime and locally sourced gypsum to the profile.

A combination of scheme water, bores and dams provide water for livestock and crop spraying in both aggregations.

Stocking capacity is jointly put at 5000 merino ewes.

The mixed-age flock has been running with predominantly Kolindale merino and crossbred rams since early November, and the ewes will be pregnancy scanned next month.

Shearing occurs in February and July across the total flock.

Fencing is described as being in good working condition, and a feature is 35 kilometres of vermin-proof fencing along the north-west boundary of the Beacon Aggregation.

Both aggregations feature good and extensive improvements, with Newdegate having capacity to store 5400 tonnes of grain and 2165t of fertiliser, while Beacon can store 3000t of grain and 1600t of fertiliser.

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