EXPRESSIONS of interest in a large scale breeding and finishing operation in the East Pilbara region of Western Australia will close at the end of this month.
Balfour Downs, 639,484 hectares of pastoral lease located east of Port Hedland, is offered on a 'walk-in-walk-out' basis. It includes plant and equipment and an exceptional herd of predominantly Red Poll Brahman comprising 15,000 breeding females producing on average 8000 trade steers and heifers annually.
Elders agent Dick Allpass said he expected the holding to fetch somewhere in the $15 million to $20 million price bracket and would attract keen interest from buyers across Australia and overseas.
He said the location provided good access to port facilities on the west coast, delivering more opportunities to expand the presence of Balfour Downs cattle into the expanding markets of Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Since buying the property, Don Hoar had targeted the genetic improvement of the cattle by infusing high-grade Brahman bulls to join over Shorthorn breeders and easier fleshing Bos Indicus types like Droughtmaster, plus he had improved the watering points.
"Balfour Downs is a station capable of returning better than 15 per cent, which speaks for itself," Mr Allpass said.
"The grazing country is rich in minerals and there is no need for supplementary feeding, as the country enjoys a high plane of nutrition giving stock high fertility and weight gains."
The country includes extensive river, watercourse, and channel country, opening onto large floodout plains grassed with Mitchell, Flinders, and buffel grass.
However, it is the property's intensive development and meticulous planning at the hands of owner Don Hoar and his son Simon that leave visitors to this vast holding - about one-tenth the size of Tasmania - with a lasting impression.
"This truly is one of the most remarkable properties I have ever seen, in term of its dynamic development over such a short period of time," Mr Allpass said.
"The first time I visited the place I was sure it had to be the result of a lifetime's work, but it's all been achieved in just 14 years, which is quite extraordinary.
"I have seen many stations in Queensland, the Northern Territory and WA and I must say the development of the improvements, such as water, fencing, yards and overall infrastructure is among the best, right up there with the most productive stations in Australia."
Mr Allpass said Mr Hoar, originally an NT pastoralist, was nearing his late 70s and felt the time was right to hand over ownership while the holding was in prime condition, the buffel grass was spreading 'expeditiously' and opportunities for well-managed cattle enterprises were in abundance due to rising demand for quality beef.
Mr Allpass said Mr Hoar had given every detail his full attention, which could be seen in the immaculate presentation of homestead, visitors' and staff accommodation, offices, storage sheds and coldrooms - all beautifully maintained to provide superior comfort.
Balfour Downs has 35 new ring dams of 15,000-20,000 cu metres of water storage and 55 new bores equipped with mills and submersible pumps. All bores have standard uniform troughs and tanks on cement slabs. One 'super bore' has 27 kilometres of pipe.
The comprehensive water improvements are supported by permanent and semi-permanent rivers, creeks and lagoons. Abundant shallow water is available.
The plant includes two road trains, two helicopters, bulldozer, several vehicles, graders, bobcat, tractors, bikes and a ready run cement truck.
Located in one of WA's richest mining regions but still relatively remote, with the nearest neighbour more than 100 km away, access to such a wide array of tools and equipment has been essential in maintaining this near-perfect model of self-sufficiency.
Mr Allpass said one of the best examples of this was the station's main cattle yards.
"They are the best I have ever seen," he said. "All steel, purpose-built for safe and efficient handling for both man and beast, concrete walkways and the capacity to hold about 3000 head. It's quite mind-blowing.
"This is a station moving ahead in numbers and quality and is backed up with the most comprehensive plant equipment and supply of spares and new parts.
"The future is very bright for this most remarkable station which has been dynamically developed and managed."
Dick Allpass and Malcolm French are handling the sale for Elders Brisbane and Perth. Contact Dick Allpass, Primac Elders, Brisbane 0417 070 418 or Malcom French, Elders Real Estate, Perth 0409 990 988.