Valued at around $45 million, the vast Coolong Pastoral Portfolio near Hay in southern NSW is likely to be split back up into at least three and, maybe, four pieces.
Coolong was accumulated in the early to mid 2000s by insurance tycoon, the late R.A. Crichton-Brown, Inglis Rural Property agent Sam Triggs said.
"We are seeing a trend of disaggregation of large portfolios, so we are considering splitting it up to satisfy market demand because it actually is four independent farms," Mr Triggs said.
"Having said that, the vendors are happy to sell it as a single, going concern including livestock, plant and machinery."
The portfolio, which stands at 51,280 hectares or 126,716 acres, includes:
- Toronga: 28,079ha or 69,383 acres
- Natue Station and Merrimajeel: 18,062ha or 44,633ac
- Fairleigh: 5139ha or 12,700ac
The jewel in the crown is Toronga at Hay. Natue Station and Merrimajeel are at Booligal, 70 kilometres north of Hay via the Cobb Highway and is nestled on the banks of the Lachlan River.
Mr Triggs said the entire portfolio had been conservatively managed with timed cell grazing.
"The late Anthony Crichton-Brown adopted sustainable grazing practices that benefited the country, ensuring the property presents in outstanding order," he said.
The sale is being managed by Inglis Rural Property in conjunction with Elders and the first stage of expressions of interest closes on July 21.
Agents expect the 28,790ha Toronga to fetch $28m to $30m, the equivalent of $400-$430 an acre.
Currently a mixed-grazing operation, Toronga runs 5500 ewes with Poll Boonoke, Alma and Blue Bush genetics and 450 Rielands or Rennylea Angus cows plus followers.
Its estimated carrying capacity is 20,000-25,000 Dry Sheep Equivalents (DSE).
Mr Triggs said Toronga preserved core breeding genetics in tough seasons by feeding stock in eight containment pens equipped with concrete feed bunkers.
There are also 600 to 700-head cattle yards and the supplementary feed regime is supported with five silos with a total 460-tonne capacity and nine concrete grain bunkers.
Still, Mr Triggs said, Coolong Pastoral Company's management team led by Jack Byrnes was a low-input breeding and fattening platform.
Toronga is fenced into about 35 main paddocks and has over 20km of lanes for easy management.
The land is mostly level with grey-brown clays to clay loams. Its southern pastures are dominated by open native grasslands with spear and barley grasses, white top, medics, cotton bush and poverty bush, though there's more bladder saltbush to the north.
Darcoola Creek crosses the property on the south-western side with the Boozer Creek running through the north-east.
When it came to water, Mr Triggs said Toronga was effectively "drought proof" as a result of a significant investment in a ring main with troughs throughout the farm.
Supplying it are four solar bores feeding elevated tanks, and every paddock has a dam.
The new six-stand, raised-board woolshed can house approximately 2000 woolly sheep and the attached steel yards can handle 3500 head.
There's also a second, three-stand shearing shed and yards.
Natue Station and Merrimajeel
About 100km north of Hay near Booligal, Natue Station and Merrimajeel feature a contiguous 18,062ha or 44,633ac of Riverina plains grazing country.
Agent price guidance is $15m to $17m or $340-380/ac for the pair, although Mr Triggs said the vendor would consider selling the properties individually.
Natue Station has only had two owners in the last 130 years and Mr Triggs said the grazing enterprise had enough scale to support a full-time manager.
Natue Station and Merrimajeel have each traditionally carried 3500 ewes along with followers. The combined holdings are estimated to carry 14,000 DSE.
In recent years, though, Merrimajeel has operated as a dedicated cattle enterprise, taking advantage of the flush of feed delivered by water carried across the plains from Merrimajeel and Muggabah Creeks.
While run as a single operation, Natue Station and Merrimajeel have independent water systems that can back each other up.
The Merrijameel Creek runs through Natue Station, filling natural catchment dams. The station is also watered with two bores delivered through a reticulated trough and tank system.
Merimajeel's water comes from the Lachlan river and a bore.
The accommodation at Natue Station is impressive, too, with a spreading five-bedroom homestead set in established gardens.
It's matched with a renovated three-bedroom cottage that has a kitchen equipped with commercial appliances and the six-bedroom shearers' quarters.
Natue Station's five-stand shearing shed is large and modern, with a capacity of 400 big woollies up top and an undercover sheep shed with space for 400 more.
Merrimajeel's four-bedroom homestead sits on the banks of the Lachlan River.
The property has a raised, six-stand circular board shearing shed with yards and there are 170-head cattle yards, too.
About 31km south-west of Natue Station or 135km from Hay, Fairleigh has mostly carried wethers and has an estimated carrying capacity of 2500 DSE.
Mr Triggs said the 5139ha (12,700ac) property would likely make about $2.5m or about $200/ac.
The largely flat Fairleigh is fenced into one large paddock along with a smaller 200ha holding paddock next to the sheep yards.
The country is a combination of grey, cracking clays to rising red loams growing a mix of native grasses and bush/herbage, Dillon bush, and saltbush.
A newly-sunk solar bore provides water to four ground tanks and there are three more natural catchment ground tanks.
Contact Sam Triggs on 0410 683 891 or Elders agent Angus Macleod on 0414 670 286.