CONSOLIDATED Pastoral Co has sold Humbert River Station, one of its substantial Victoria River District breeding properties in the Northern Territory, to Western Australia’s Heytesbury Cattle Co.
Humbert River is a strategic acquisition for Heytesbury, as it adjoins the company’s flagship northern breeding property, Victoria River Downs. Humbert River is bordered to the west and south by the Gregory National Park, making VRD and its outstations its only station neighbour.
The walk-in, walk-out sale acquisition adds another 1090sq km of typical open bloodwood forest and coolabah breeding country to Heytesbury’s VRD aggregation including Victoria River Downs, Moolooloo, Pigeon Hole and Mount Sanford.
The sale, which also includes the neighbouring indigenous-owned Yarralin leases, will enable Heytesbury to add further scale to its operations in the region.
Consolidated bought Humbert River in 1983, along with Newcastle Waters Station.
CPC’s managing director Troy Setter said the sale was consistent with the company’s strategy of investing in the business for growth and increasing productivity.
The company plans to reinvest the proceeds received back into the business for further growth and development. Rather than new property acquisition, those funds will be used to improve productivity on existing holdings through fencing and additional waters, on both the Barkly Tableland and the VRD district, he told Beef Central last night.
The ability to run additional breeder numbers through those projects on existing properties would reasonably quickly compensate for the loss of breeding capacity through the sale of Humbert River, he said.
“The transaction is a great outcome for both CPC and Heytesbury, allowing both companies to continue their respective plans for further growth and development,” Mr Setter said.
“The sale further aligns CPC to its Asian and Northern Australia value chain and will allow us to further capitalise on opportunities in our Indonesian joint venture feedlot operations.”
In a typical year Humbert River turns off about 3500 young cattle a year, with total stock numbers around 9500 head. Seasons dictating, CPC trucked young cattle from Humbert River to Carlton Hill for backgrounding, or to Nockatunga in the Channel Country for finishing.
New owner Heytesbury Cattle Co manages six stations totalling 2.5 million hectares in the Victoria River District of the NT and Eastern Kimberley district of Western Australia.
Among these is the famed Victoria River Downs, at one time the largest cattle station in the world, but now divided into four standalone stations: VRD, Moolooloo, Pigeon Hole and Mount Sanford.
Other Heytesbury pastoral assets include Birrindudu and Wallamunga (colourful cattle identity Peter Sherwin’s original station) in the NT, and the Flora Valley/Nicholson/Gordon Downs aggregation (once Lord Vestey’s pastoral headquarters) in the Kimberley.
The company runs about 160,000 Brahman cattle including 60,000+ females joined each year.
The majority of the annual turnoff of 40,000 head is directed into the live export trade to customers in Indonesia and Vietnam, mainly through the port of Darwin. An increasing number of heavier feeder cattle are now being exported to Vietnam.
Humbert River operated under a Pastoral Permit from around 1903, being taken up by territory pastoral legend Charlie Schultz and his family in 1919. The Schultz brothers walked their bullocks from Humbert River to Wyndham meatworks, with the trip taking a month to complete. In later years they overlanded their cattle into Queensland, returning with unbroken horses to be educated and sold to Victoria River Downs.
Humbert River manager Jim Mayfield plans to finish up, once the deal is completed.
Heytesbury’s managing director Paul Holmes a Court was unavailable for comment.