First published 16/6, updated 19/6.
CONFIRMING rumours circulating around the feedlot industry since the start of June, Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting has bought specialised Wagyu feeding business Maydan feedlot near Warwick in southern Queensland.
Maydan is a mid-sized 8000 Standard Cattle Unit feedlot offering custom-feeding services, mostly to Wagyu supply chains. At full operating capacity, that means it can feed up to 10,000 head.
While it did not rank in Beef Central’s earlier Top 25 Lotfeeders report (click here to view), it is discussed in this separate list of yards that fell just outside the largest 25 in the country (click here to view).
Custom feeding clients have included Wally Rea, Jack’s Creek, Cabassi Wagyu and other large Wagyu supply chains. Opportunity for further expansion of the yard are understood to be limited.
Gina Rinehart’s expanding Wagyu business has been a customer of the yard in recent years, typically occupying six of the yard’s 40 pens, Beef Central was told.
Beef Central has been asking questions about the prospects of a sale of Maydan feedlot to Hancock since early June, and has been consistently misled about the developments. See references in this earlier report.
As recently as Thursday, a verbal agreement had not been reached, Beef Central was told.
Beef Central was also told by Maydan principal Geoff Willett that recent discussions had been held with three separate interests over purchase of the yard.
In a statement issued this afternoon, Hancock Prospecting’s Gina Rinehart said the Maydan acquisition continued the company’s pursuit of integrated investments in the cattle industry focused on optimising the quality of its beef.
“We’re pleased to invest in regional Australia and regional jobs,” Ms Rinehart said.
Hancock’s Fullblood Wagyu cattle fed at Maydan, sourced from company properties in NSW, are processed at the nearby John Dee export beef plant near Warwick.
Maydan would continue to service its existing custom feeding clients and new customers, the statement said.
“This acquisition secures a key part of the supply chain producing and then processing export quality Fullblood Wagyu to both our Asian neighbours and local markets,” Mrs Rinehart said.
Vendor Geoff Willett will continue to manage the business.
“Maydan has been a family-run business for many years and we are pleased to see it being handed to a great Australian company,” Mr Willett said. “Ms Rinehart has great plans for the cattle industry in Australia, and I am confident that with Hancock’s investment in Maydan will continue to thrive.”
No price was disclosed, but a figure of around$22 million has been doing the rounds of the rumour mill. Due dilligence was done on the site by another prospective buyer several years ago, but the asking price was deemed too high. The business includes a substantial area of irrigated and dryland farming country, including pivots, mostly used for corn silage production for the feedlot.
While Hancock Prospecting’s own Fullblood Wagyu herd is not yet large enough to fill Maydan’s feeding pens with stock itself, speculation is mounting that Hancock Prospecting may breed F1 Wagyu on its earlier dairy land purchases in Queensland’s South Burnett region. Alternatively the company may go into the open market to purchase F1 Wagyu feeders, to build on its Wagyu branded beef programs, following the recent launch of the company’s 2GR Fullblood brand, being processed at the John Dee abattoir not far from Maydan feedlot. Investment in John Dee may also be on the cards, Wagyu industry observers suggest.