Investor demand brings SA farms to market

Liz Wells November 1, 2021

Wyama Gap is an established mixed-farming operation with irrigation. Photo: Nutrien Harcourts Keith

SOUTH Australia’s South East continues to attract strong interest from locals and outsiders keen to invest in reliable mixed-farming country.

On the sell side, the buoyant market is bringing blocks and farms to the market, among them Moonah and Wyama Gap.

Listed with Nutrien Harcourts Keith agent Geoff Watts, the properties are being sold by a family looking to relocate to a larger holding which will accommodate an expansion of their sheep operation.

They bought the properties separately but have been running them as one, which gives a combined 852 hectares and a 3442-megalitre licence delivered through centre-pivot, flood and lateral-move irrigation over 280ha, and nine equipped bores.

Moonah and Wyama Gap are suited to prime lamb and wool production as well as cash and fodder cropping, including lucerne seed, hay, cereals and canola.

Mr Watts said he has received considerable interest from a broad range of potential buyers already.

“These two properties have several income streams and are virtually drought-proof,” Mr Watts said.

Country under contract

The 833ha Narkoona at Keith is one of the Upper South East listings under contract. It has 277ha irrigation and a 423ML water licence to sweeten its appeal.

Agent for the sale is Mike Lind of Elders Keith, who said expanding domestic and export avenues for grain were helping to enhance the attractiveness of the region.

“We’ve got locals and people from Yorke Peninsula, the Lower South East and Victoria all looking,

“The big croppers around here are cropping everything they can, but you’ve still got some producers who are sheep and grain, and some are all cattle.

“It depends on the country, and what people want to do.”

He said more value-adding of grain taking place in the South East and surrounding districts was a boon for the livestock, fodder and grain markets.

“The feedlot at Tintinara has doubled in recent years, and they take a lot of grain too.”

Mr Lind said property values in the Keith and Bordertown areas had doubled in recent years, and this was drawing listings to agents’ books as owners looked to cash in on capital growth.

“That means a property that was worth $2 million then is now worth $4 million, and people can borrow against that.

“People’s equity has increased enormously.”

Mr Lind said the Upper South-East’s top-shelf cropping country with good improvements was now making around $15,000/ha.

“With cheap interest rates and high commodity prices, it’s the perfect storm.”

Narkoona was bought in 2019 by an investor from Yorke Peninsula who is now looking to realise capital growth.

Wyama Gap and Moonah are well suited to sheep as well as cropping. Photo: Nutrien Harcourts Keith

Pasture gives options

The Upper South East gets an annual average rainfall of 450-500 millimetres, and Mr Watts said irrigation enables producers to top up the soil profile on fodder and cash crops when needed.

“With Moonah and Wyama Gap, it’s been handy for canola, and when you’re talking about yields of 3t/ha on canola in the current market, it makes a lot of sense,” Mr Watts said.

Pastures on Wyama Gap and Moonah are predominantly lucerne, chicory, clovers, ryegrass, veldt grass and primrose, a mix which can sustain healthy livestock year round.

Combined, Moonah and Wyama Gap improvements include two homesteads and a cottage, two shearing sheds, workshops, hay and implement sheds, and storage for 180 tonnes of grain, as well as containment pens to hold 5000 sheep.

The properties are available individually or as a whole, and are for sale by expressions of interest closing December 6 if not sold prior.



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