Corporate-scale Northern Territory cattle property Tanumbirini will be the focus of attention as a barometer of northern Australian grazing land values when it goes to auction in Brisbane this morning.
The 5000sq km breeding and backgrounding block on the western edge of the Barkly Tableland will be offered with about 30,000 mixed cattle by vendor, Stirling Buntine’s Baldy Bay Pty Ltd.
Mr Buntine paid $38 million for the property on a rising, live export boom-fuelled market back in 2006, at the height of his property acquisition period during his engagement with Great Southern Plantations.
Located about 400km southeast of Katherine, Tanumbirini represents a mix of forest and open downs type country, currently enjoying the benefits of a great season.
Valuers and other analysts were watching the Tanumbirini process carefully, because there have been very few sizeable NT properties sold in the last two years on which to gauge values compared with the pre-price drop before 2009.
Interest in the property could come from several areas. There are some substantial corporate and private near-neighbours who could conceivably look at expanding their land assets. John Dunnicliffe owns the ajoining Beetaloo, to the south, Nutwood Downs lies to the west, and the Alawa Aboriginal Land Trust operates the Cox River property to the north.
More likely still is investment by overseas corporate entities.
Marketing agent Ray White Rural fielded significant inquiry converting into solid inspections leading up to today’s auction. Among the interested parties is understood to have been at least two foreign entities, including a European-based corporate investor.
Recent media speculation has focussed on prospects for a play by Macquarie Pastoral Fund’s Paraway Pastoral Co, which owns Walhallow Station to the south east of Tanumbirini.
The offering of Tanumbirini follows a major sell-off of assets by Baldy Bay over the last two years, including Amburla, near Alice Springs (sold recently for about $6m to Territorian Tony Davies); Alambie, Inverness near Blackall sold for $14m in 2009; and Tobermorey and Linda Downs west of Boulia, sold for $17.5m.
Beef Central will attend the Tanumbirini auction this morning, uploading a result to the website within minutes of completion. Industry stakeholders who have already signed-up for their free Beef Central daily news headlines update will also receive a news alert minutes after the result.