High expectations for NT’s Aroona Station listing

Property editor Linda Rowley, 20/03/2024

Open country on Aroona, southwest of Katherine, which is being offered with about 15,000 Brahman cattle

A well-developed Northern Territory cattle station once owned by Gina Rinehart has returned to the market, coinciding with improving live export conditions.

The 147,510ha Aroona Station is a breeding and backgrounding property located in the Upper Victoria River district, 90km south-west of Katherine. Renamed some years ago from its original name, West Mathieson, the property lies adjacent to Scott Creek to the east, and Willeroo to the south.

The listing of Aroona is sure to be a talking point at the annual NT Cattlemens Association conference starting in Alice Springs on Thursday evening. Beef Central’s James Nason will be reporting from the event.

In 2021, a South Australian family purchased Aroona from Hancock Agriculture and S. Kidman & Co, who had offered it to the market, after almost four years ownership, along with seven other properties totalling around 1.9 million ha.

At the time, Beef Central was told the $41.25 million walk-in walk-out deal included 15,400 head of mixed cattle.

Colliers Agribusiness agents Jesse Manuel and Rawdon Briggs have been appointed to handle the sale via an expressions of interest campaign due to commence in April.

Both declined to discuss price expectations at this early stage, however the sale is on a walk-in, walk-out basis, including stock and plant. Aroona has a carrying capacity of around 15,000 adult equivalents, and is currently close to fully stocked.

Mr Manuel said in addition to its breeding and backgrounding capabilities, Aroona would fit neatly into a larger supply chain operation as a value-add depot asset for young cattle.

The country comprises a mix of shrubs, alluvial flood plains, plateaus, woodlands and basalt hills, with abundant surface water offered by the extensive Flora River and the Haywood, Aroona and Mathison Creeks.

The current owners recently obtaining a clearing permit for almost 4000ha.

The Flora River provides good permanent water on Aroona

Mr Briggs said one of Aroona’s key attributes was its accessibility.

“Occupying a prime position on the Victoria Highway, the station is close to key infrastructure assets within the live export supply chain, with its main loading yards and homestead situated 7km off the Victoria Highway,” he said.

Mr Briggs said the exceptional operational improvements (started by Hancock seven years ago, when it purchased the property for $24 million) had been continued by the current owner.

“Upgrades include fencing, yards, buildings and refurbishing bores, as well as the addition of extensive brand-new infrastructure and water improvements such as new tanks and solar bore pumps and a telemetry system to monitor tank levels,” he said.

Offering reliable rainfall, abundant water, accessibility, proximity to Katherine and quality infrastructure, Mr Manuel said Aroona was a ‘jewel in the crown’ asset that should attract strong interest from a broad market.

“With an increasing positive outlook around live cattle exports to Indonesia, stabilising interest rates and an exceptional wet season in the north, inquiry levels for northern beef operations are increasing,” he said.

After earlier delays to import permits for 2024, the Indonesian live trade has surged strongly this month, with feeders ex Darwin currently quoted at 350c/kg.

Shipping records show that as many as 12 livestock carriers have loaded cattle for Indonesia at the ports of Townsville, Darwin and Broome during March already, as Indonesian feedlots scramble to restock for the Ramadan period currently underway, and the end-of-fasting feasting period in early April.









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