Blackshaw family offer East Gippsland Lakes farm

The operation runs a 460 cow milking herd.

Multi-generational dairy farmers the Blackshaw family are selling the 715 hectare Tarqua estate at Goon Nure, in Victoria’s East Gippsland and Lakes region.

Option one is a walk-in-walk-out deal including the freehold, dairy and herd replacements, all the water shares and a full of inventory of farm machinery.

The anticipated value is more than $5.5 million.

Buyers could also consider the lot without the cattle herd or machinery.

A third option is just the land, without water shares, livestock or equipment.

Goon Nure is fifteen kilometres south west of Bairnsdale and Paynesville.

It is 60 km from Sale and four times that to Melbourne CBD.

“The sale options reflect the established productivity of the farm itself and its potential for alternative operations other than dairying,” Pat Rice & Hawkins agent Matt Childs said, adding “even though Tarqua is a top performing, well established milking farm”.

The vendors picked up the property, over eleven titles, and bound by three roads, in 2001.

At the time, it was a dry sheep farm, but the selling agent said “they recognised its potential and sustainability for a large-scale dairying development, drawing upon their long-term participation in the industry both locally and in other dairying districts of Victoria”.

“They have certainly achieved their objective to build Tarqua into one of the most efficient, highly productive and performing dairy enterprises which would stand alongside the best the dairy industry could offer anywhere in Australia.

“Tarqua is operated as a self-sufficient dairy enterprise with a magic balance of irrigation, dryland cropping and native grazing.

“The land form is all flat to gently contoured pasture, on mostly grey sandy loam soils and with some areas of native timber retained with 687 hectares cleared for agriculture”,” the broker said, adding “the division into approximately sixty five paddocks accessing a central laneway that leads to the central dairy and farm operations area”.

At 785 Lower Goon Nure Rd, the property can contain 442 megalitres of high reliability ground water, plus another 100 megalitres, which is leased.

“The water resources are sourced through two major irrigation bores that are fully equipped, plus two separate unmetered bores under a stock and domestic water licence,” Mr Childs said.

“There is also a large registered turkey nest dam of eight to ten megalitres capacity that is used as a backup operational supply for crop irrigation as required,” he added.

“A catchment dam of roughly twenty two megalitres capacity captures local run off drainage or rain events as extra storage” (story continues below).

Rick Blackshaw said he developed the irrigation systems “to operate effectively at the push of a button”.

The milking facilities include a fifty stand rotary, in its own building with storage (currently Tarqua is a milk supplier to Saputo – which acquired the former milk processing plant of Murray Goulburn, which collapsed).

Annual milk production averages 240,000 kilograms of milk solids, and collects income of c$1.5m.

“There is also an extensive mix of animal rearing and infrastructure facilities such as calf sheds, farm machinery and storage buildings, while the property has a three phase power connection with extensive on property diesel generation able to immediately run the dairy in the event of a local power outage.

Mr Blackshaw added there is a strong export market to China for twelve month old dairy heifers and he usually delivers about one hundred head into this rewarding market per year.

The residences

Tarqua includes a family home built in 2003 using sandstone brick. With 356 sqm of area, it is surrounded by an established garden,

An owner-manager cottage, constructed in 1959 and measuring 280 sqm, is also onsite.

A brick veneer dwelling, built in 2013 for the herd manager appointee and his family, contains 230 sqm.

The enterprise

The farm labour includes one local full-time employee, the resident herd manager and family members, with significant labour continuity likely on the sale of the property, Mr Childs said.

“The farm machinery inventory includes modern effective plant and equipment inclusive of tractors, pasture management and production machines, cultivation and mobile equipment that has all been accumulated and well maintained over the last decade,” he added.

“All members of the Blackshaw family have participated in the decision to offer Tarqua for sale taking into account personal decisions to retire, or to follow new paths, all with the satisfaction that the ambitious investment and development plan adopted to create a top performing and ranking dairy farming enterprise has been achieved.

“I think all the generations of the family are to be congratulated with the wisdom, expertise and effort they have invested in this project and the results are here now for any interested buyer to see and appreciate.

“My view is that Tarqua can continue to operate as a top fully established dairy farm with scope for expansion, or the inherent productivity established here can achieve alternative farming operations that suit a purchaser”.

Saputo, which acquired the former milk processing plant of Murray Goulburn after its collapse, if a Tarqua client.
The offering includes this sandstone brick dwelling built in 2003.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of