One of WA’s last great sheep stations sold

Brad ThompsonThe West Australian

Two brothers with a big appetite for hard work have emerged as the new owners of one of WA’s last great sheep stations.

David and Tom Cooper are preparing to take the reins at Madura Plains next month and have big plans for the 711,638ha property, which straddles the Eyre Highway midway between Perth and Adelaide.

One of their first tasks after purchasing Madura from Jumbuck Pastoral will be shearing about 33,000 merino.

The Coopers will rely heavily on the existing staff to run Madura because they are busy with growing farming interests in South Australia and NSW.

The family are based at Jamestown in South Australia where they have farmed for more than 110 years. In the past decade the brothers and their father Leith have added a string of properties as they expand operations focused on export hay, grain, sheep and wool production.

They have bought run-down farms around Jamestown, six dairy farms on the Narrung Peninsular now converted for cropping and a sheep station near Broken Hill.

The Madura sale price was not disclosed but it had been expected to fetch up to $10 million for the MacLachlan family, who founded Jumbuck Pastoral in 1888 and own 11 other sheep and cattle properties.

Elders real estate executive Malcolm French, who handled the sale, said the new owners were set to build on the proud tradition of wool production at Madura, which has sent an annual average of 927 bales to market over the past 27 years.

David Cooper said 550km of dog-proof fencing which protects the core sheep and wool production was a big attraction.

“The dog fence gives you a lot of control as a merino operator,” he said.

Mr Cooper said about 1000km of fencing protecting the eastern half of the two pastoral leases which make up the Madura operations had reached the end of its useful life and would be replaced as the family looked to the future.

“I think the outlook for agriculture is very positive at the moment,” he said. “There are more opportunities than there have been for a number of years.

“I think there is room for prices to increase. Export hay is probably above average at the moment and sheep and wool have both been very strong.”

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