Award-winning NT cattle property sells to Sandalwood company

James Nason, 08/02/2012

A Western Australian-based forestry company has entered into a contract to purchase award-winning cattle property Midway Station in the Northern Territory for $4.45 million.

Tropical Forestry Services (TFS), which has 5000 hectares of Indian Sandalwood plantations in the Kimberley region's Ord irrigation area, says the purchase complements its ongoing expansion push across the top end into the NT and Queensland.

It purchased a 610ha block in the Burdekin Irrigation area south of Townsville last year and is currently negotiating the purchase of another 12,000ha near Katherine in the NT from the Peanut Company of Australia.

The 2910ha Midway Station in the Douglas Daly has been managed and developed by Chris and Marie Muldoon since 2004 when it was purchased by Marie’s family the Underwoods, who also own Riveren and Inverway in the Victoria River District.

The Muldoons received the inaugural National Farmers Federation “Sustainability in Agriculture Award” in 2009 for their work in improving production and environmental outcomes on Midway.

Their introduction of cell grazing and the natural weed control benefits provided by the transition resulted in a 73pc reduction in herbicide use and the elimination of fertiliser, resulting in a $133,000 per year saving.

At the same time, the dramatic improvement in pasture quality and production resulted in a 50pc increase in stock.

The property has played host to numerous field days and study tours by other farmers, students and government departments looking at the results of their environmental stewardship.

TFS says approximately 1000 hectares of Midway, about 35pc of the property, will be developed for Indian Sandalwood plantations.  The property has irrigation access to the Olloo Dolostone aquifer.

“The Northern Territory land acquisitions, along with our recent Northern Queensland land purchases, represent a continuing move by TFS to diversify its land base outside the traditional Ord River Irrigation Area around Kununurra, Western Australia,” the company said.

“TFS has also targeted other significant areas to source land within northern Australia.”

Through the acquisition of distiller Mt Romance, TFS is geared to sell organic Sandalwood oil (Santalum spicatum) to buyers in the global fragrance market.

TFS Corporation is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. It has 10 years of experience in both the cultivation of Indian Sandalwood and the distillation of WA Sandalwood oil.

Its directors include former Senator and Howard Government communications minister Richard Alston and former Australian cricketer and Australian of the Year Adam Gilchrist. 


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