The Munglinup Recreation Centre was the venue for the spirited auction of well known, local property Willanja last week that netted vendor Tim Compagnoni $6.8 million.
The auction, held by Elders Real Estate, was well supported by local farmers from the Esperance region, according to Rob Johnstone, Elders Real Estate rural specialist, Esperance.
He opened proceedings by acknowledging the vendor and highlighting the many attributes Willanja had to offer.
Simon Cheetham, Elders Real Estate rural executive and auctioneer, started the auction with a healthy bid from the floor of $5m.
This triggered an energetic response from two neighbouring farmers, who together increased the bidding up to a final price of $6.8m.
Willanja has a total area of 853 hectares, of which 680ha is suited to cropping and sheep production, which equates to a return of $10,000 per arable hectare.
Mr Compagnoni said this was his reserve price and was on a par with some neighbouring land that sold about a year ago.
"I don't think it sets a new level of prices for the district, as this was what I was expecting based on relatively recent sales," Mr Compagnoni said.
He said his parents Jack and Helen Compagnoni were some of the first settlers in Munglinup.
They took on a property, called Newleigh, in the late 1950s.
This was one of five properties/conditional purchase blocks that were split off from a pastoral lease, called Torradup, that Mr Compagnoni's uncle John Kelman purchased in 1957.
The Willanja farm is across the road from Newleigh and was originally allocated in the 1960s as a conditional purchase block taken up by Eric Howell.
The Compagnonis bought Willanja from Mr Howell in the late 1980s.
Mr Compagnoni and his son Mark live and run sheep, cattle and do some cropping on Newleigh and will remain there as part of a semi-retirement plan.
Mr Compagnoni said Willanja had always been used for a mixed enterprise of half Merino sheep and half cropping, with some cattle in recent years.
He said he expected the new buyers, Kieran and Michelle Barrett, would undertake more cropping on the landholding.
Historically Willanja has produced cereal yields averaging about 2.5 tonnes per hectare, but this has fluctuated from upwards of 4.5t/ha in good seasons and less than 2t/ha in wet years.
"It is a good rainfall area here and we have more trouble cropping in wet years than dry years," Mr Compagnoni said.
Mr Cheetham said the Willanja property was ideally located, with bitumen road frontage to the South Coast Highway and only 97 kilometres west of Esperance and 11km east of Munglinup.
The property has a range of soils, but these are predominantly duplex in nature - with sandy loam over laterite gravel and clay.
Average annual rainfall is about 520 millimetres and this is considered reliable by Western Australian standards.
Currently the property is 50 per cent cropped and the remainder is a mix of sub-clover and grass pasture which has been spraytopped.
Fertiliser has been applied during the cropping phase, with 60-70 kilograms per hectare of MAPS and up to 2t/ha of lime.
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