Farm Ireland

Wednesday 21 March 2018

A field with a difference in Stradbally guided at €1.2m

Jim O'Brien

Jim O'Brien

Auctioneer Jimmy Murtagh took me for a drive last Saturday. We sat into his car at the gate of a 121ac field at Ballymanus, Stradbally, Co Laois, and, as the rain came down, we drove around every corner of the stubble ground without suffering as much as a spin. The last time I found myself in a field this size was 1978 when I worked in corn country in the US state of Indiana.

The Stradbally field is to be sold at auction with a guide price of €1.2m or €10,000/ac. Located 2.5 miles from Stradbally, less than four miles from Junction 15 of the M7, six miles from Athy and nine miles from Portlaoise, the farm is in the heart of tillage country and in a rich vein of land renowned for malting barley.

The holding commands a single farm payment of €20,935.68 or 48 entitlements at €436.16 per unit.

It is surrounded by natural hedgerows, river frontage, 0.5 miles of road frontage and is serviced by three gated entrances from the road. The land, which is farmed to the very ditch without an inch of waste anywhere, rises to a height in the middle before sloping down to the Stradbally River that acts as a bounds at one side.

There are great views of the surrounding Cullenagh Hills, with their distinctive camel-hump peaks and picture postcard valleys. Given the necessary planning the holding would make a fine residential farm, with a number of locations suitable for the construction of a residence and sheds.

While strong local interest in the sale is expected, Jimmy Murtagh is taking enquiries from all over the country.

"It is rarely you'll get a block as good as this in one field," said Jimmy. "Anyone who buys it can do whatever they want with it, it's an open book."

However, while some farmers in the area would love to purchase the property, locals maintain that cash-rich land owners who sold ground for the motorways or for development in the boom years will be the more likely customers.

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"It would be a great place to buy but you'd sow a lot of malting barley before you'd get anywhere near making the colour of your money back," one local tillage farmer commented.

"It is ideal for people who can afford to buy it as a long-term investment and don't need it to turn a profit immediately," he said.

"If it was in smaller parcels there certainly would be no shortage of local customers," he added.

But the property could also attract the interest of farmers looking to develop a green-field dairy unit, given that it is big enough to run a 150-cow herd if replacements were reared off-farm.

The farm will be sold by public auction at 3pm on Friday, September 27 at the Killeshin Hotel, Portlaoise, Co Laois.

Irish Independent

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