Confidence, cattle prices fuel red-hot market for three North Qld property sales

Jon Condon, 14/10/2016

TWO well-known northern Queensland grazing properties sold under the hammer on Wednesday at rates close to, or above the 2007 market high-water point, while a third sold prior to auction for what may be a district beast area record price.

The result is the latest expression of the current strength in the northern Australian grazing property market. Significantly, all three sold to established local or not far distant grazing family enterprises.

Inkerman Station, 16,700ha of breeding and growing country near Home Hill, south of Townsville, made $11.125m on Wednesday

Inkerman Station, 16,700ha of breeding and growing country near Home Hill, south of Townsville, made $11.125m on Wednesday

The performance of all three properties offered by Landmark Harcourts in Townsville was arguably the strongest grazing property auction result seen in the northern Queensland regional capital for the past eight or nine years. Onlookers could not remember the last time a significant northern grazing enterprise sold by pre-auction offer.

Sold under the hammer on Wednesday were coastal breeding and growing property Inkerman Station, near Home Hill, sold WIWO for $11.125 million, and nearby Woonton Vale station, sold for $6 million (more details below).

A third Charters Towers grazing property, Gainsford Station, intended to be offered during the same auction sequence, did not even make it to the starting blocks, selling privately prior to auction for what Beef Central understands may be a Charters Towers region record beast area price.

Gainsford is 8600ha of mostly basalt forest country about 50km north of Charters Towers. Water is a feature, with a large frontage to the Burdekin River, plus Lolworth and Fletcher Creeks. There is about 2000ac of cleared flood-out country carrying improved pastures. The property has been owned by the Von Wald family for three generations, stretching back 70-80 years.

Similar country around Charters Towers has recently made up to $2500-$3000 a beast area at best, but Beef Central believes that figure has been well-exceeded by the deal struck on Wednesday for Gainsford, which sold to a local grazing identity with other business interests.

Wednesday’s Townsville auction attracted an unusually large audience of around 100, and there was a busy pre-action inspection schedule for all three properties over the past two months, marketing agent David Woodhouse reported.

Here’s a quick summary of the two other holdings under the hammer:

Inkerman makes $11.125m

Inkerman Station, a 16,700ha breeding/growing property near Home Hill, south of Townsville, which made $11.125 million WIWO with 2000 good quality female cattle.

Buyer was Bowen district smallcrops growers and beef producers, RW and JD Dobe.

The country is held in 14 freehold and two leasehold titles, and has at times been regarded as a possible expansion area target for the Burdekin River Irrigation Area, especially if the current channel system extends south.

Inkerman last sold in 2008, at the height of the previous cattle property market high, with a few more cattle, and a significant irrigated cane growing enterprise attached (not included in this most recent sale) for $12.7 million. That suggests the market for this type of country and location is again at, or close to its previous peak. Inkerman has an estimated carrying capacity of around 3500 breeders.

The darker soils are farming quality and directly neighbour existing commercial irrigated cane farming areas. More than 4000ha has been cleared or treated for prickly acacia control, including 800ha blade-ploughed.

It is fenced into 14 main paddocks, most of which have a holding square which is connected to an extensive laneway system. There is more than 40km of new fencing. Inkerman is well watered by 11 bores, 10 dams, 2 lagoons and numerous permanent and seasonal holes.

Woonton Vale makes $6m

Woonton Vale Station, not far from Inkerman, was also sold under the hammer on Wednesday for $6 million WIWO including 2000 good quality female cattle and extensive working plant. Buyers were Mark and Simon Howard, who run cattle at Yaamba and Moura in Central Queensland.

The 18,000ha of country will be used primarily for breeding, with an estimated carrying capacity of 2500 breeders plus replacements. There’s three sets of cattle yards and an extensive laneway system, all are strategically located for ease of mustering, with 36 watering points, from bores powered by mains/solar/jet pumps to ensure stability and reliability year round.

“It has been a long time since three very good quality properties have been offered at the one time and all sell like this,” Landmark Harcourt’s David Woodhouse said after Wednesday’s auction action.

“It’s both a testament to their good quality, as well as more confidence in the market at present on the back of a strong cattle market and bright future prospects,” he said.


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  1. Michael J. Vail, 19/10/2016

    Dollar-Cost Averaging is a totally appropriate strategy for Investors; and they must live with their decision.
    I do not begrudge the Farmer/Grazier any trousered profits, of any form, at any time.
    If I, or any prudent Investor, were to consider an investment in Stocks/Shares in a Company, the first step is to see where Spot Price today, sits relative to Fundamental Value. If Price is above Value, and if you then decide to transact, that is a choice.
    The issue is that Fundamental Underlying Value does not seem to be mentioned anywhere as to financial or business risk; and if you are paying nearly twice Fundamental Value, I believe that is approaching the definition of Speculation; regardless of the term of intended ownership.

    Be careful….

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