GINA Rinehart’s Hancock Agriculture has purchased three irrigated cropping properties in the Wee Waa region of New South Wales, in a transaction reportedly worth around $150 million.
Industry sources have told Beef Central that Hancock Ag purchased the 6856ha aggregation from the Findley family, who have lived in the area for three generations.
The transaction features main property, Cudgewa, alongside Pian Plain and Pindara, which are run by father-and-son team Robin and Lucas Findley.
Sizable, reliable water entitlements is understood to be a key feature of the aggregation, with the properties coming with a combined allocation of 23,000 megalitres plus approximately 7000ML of groundwater. Hancock will use the aggregation to grow fodder crops to support its Wagyu cattle operations in NSW and southern Queensland, in addition to the aggregation’s primary purpose for cropping. It is believed the aggregation will further shore-up Hancock Ag’s supply of fodder during times of drought.
Of the total land area, about 4300ha is developed to irrigation.
It is believed that the properties have an average annual production of 25,000-30,000 bales of cotton.
Widely recognised as cotton-industry leaders, the Findleys in November 2019 purchased Etta Plains, covering 28,442ha near Julia Creek in the Gulf country of north-west Queensland.
Under the leadership of Lucas Findley, the family is developing Etta Plains into a thriving northern cotton operation.
This transaction is not Hancock Ag’s first cropping property purchase, with the company acquiring Warra Warra on Queensland’s Western Downs in February this year.
Covering 3073ha, the property was listed last year by Ruby Red Farming principals Mike and Margot Black through Toowoomba agency Winten & Co.
Warra Warra includes 968ha of irrigation and 300ha of it is now under cotton; 570ha of the balance is dryland farming country.
In a statement earlier this year, Hancock Ag said this purchase was to diversify the company’s investment portfolio by securing high-quality farming land and water.
Earlier, Hancock Ag and sister company, Kidman & Co sold a number of northern Australian cattle enterprises to ‘realign’ its portfolio. Some onlookers saw this as a move out of live export-exposed regions, into areas aligned with domestic beef production and processing.