Hopeless search for agistment continues

26 Jul, 2001 07:12 AM
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WHEATBELT farmers are turning to southern agricultural real estate agents for agistment in the face of WA's worsening drought.

Unfortunately real estate agents in the higher rainfall areas have been unable to help as conditions in their own areas also begin to dry up.

Elders Bunbury Real Estate agent John Russell said that in the past month he had been inundated with calls direct to his office from Wheatbelt farmers looking to graze livestock.

However, he wasn't aware of any available agistment in his area or, in fact, any other area. "It is nearly hopeless to find agistment now," he said.

After taking on the Boyup Brook area a month ago, Mr Russell said that once the agistment ran out, people started buying the land.

He said farmers with the money "stuck their neck out" and bought the land or others bought it and put it out for agistment.

One such person was Blackwood Valuations proprietor Peter Reid.

Mr Reid bought 680ac of a 1000ac property that was up for sale in Boyup Brook.

Mr Russell said some farmers already had stock spread out over large areas with one Hyden farmer agisting livestock on properties from Myalup to Augusta.

"The demand is not quite as bad as it was two weeks ago but that is probably because there is none left," he said.

Requests for agistment were now also being broadcast over the radio, he said.

Mr Russell said while demand was high from the Wheatbelt, the Donnybrook area was also about 10 inches of rainfall down for this time of the year, and frosts had begun.

"If people have agistment there are still people out there looking for it," he said.

Real Estate Institute of WA rural chapter chairman John Wilson said all the surveys indicated a huge demand for agistment.

"My understanding is that feed in areas around Bunbury is also under a bit of pressure," he said. "We definitely need a good drink right across the state".

He said that from an investment point of view, the higher rainfall area properties tended to appreciate in value while Wheatbelt land prices would come under more pressure due to the drought.

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