Is this the largest field ever put up for sale in Ireland?
I've never set foot on one of those gargantuan collective farms in Eastern Europe but I drove past a few of them during visits to Germany. The sight of huge fields and industrial sized farmyards with acres of sheds was remarkable.
A 183ac property located at Lodge, about 5km from Hospital in Co Limerick reminded me of a collective farm when I went to see it last week.
The yard covers 7ac and includes an array of buildings that could hold up to 2,000 head of stock. There are silage pits with enough space to store fodder for a parish of farmers along with two massive grain silos, a milling unit and a slurry tank that is easily as big as a soccer pitch.
The 183ac of land is all in one field, earning the farm its local nickname, 'The Big Field'.
In a sale handled by GVM Kilmallock and John O'Connell auctioneer, Mallow, the place is for sale by private treaty with a guide price of €2m or almost €11,000/ac.
It was a crisp winter's morning when I met Richard Ryan of GVM at the padlocked gates. I wasn't sure if I was looking at a factory or a farm until he arrived and gave me the background. "The place was put together from a number of smaller holdings by a man from West Cork in the early 70s," he explains.
"The man was before his time. He built these huge Mastock sheds with slats before most people had heard of slats. He installed a rotary, motorised milking parlour, milled his own grain and was into zero grazing - all in the early 70s."
The farm was originally more extensive than the current 183ac and portions were sold over the years. As it stands, it was bought in the early 1980s by north Cork landowner John Broderick, now deceased, and is being sold by his representatives.