Kidman confirms four large channel country and NT property sales

Jon Condon, 11/04/2023

Mustering steers on Naryilco after channel flooding


S. Kidman and Co has this morning confirmed the sale of four of its large Northern cattle properties located in the Queensland Channel Country and the Northern Territory’s Barkly region.

The details contained in the sale confirmation directly and accurately reflect Beef Central’s earlier story published back in January (click here to access).

Kidman & Co is a joint venture between majority owner, Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Agriculture and Chinese-owned CRED Pastoral.

The company’s statement said the sale of four properties has now been completed:

  • Durrie, Naryilco and Glengyle Stations in Queensland’s Channel Country have been acquired by Appleton Cattle Co, which has significant existing beef production interests in eastern Australia.
  • Brunchilly Station (including Banka Banka East) in the eastern part of the Northern Territory have been bought by the Harris family, which has significant existing beef production interests across Australia.

Here’s a quick summary of the four holdings that have been sold:

  • Glengyle Station covers 5500sq km on the Georgina River. The property has played an important role in Kidman’s overall cattle flow, linking northern breeding properties with southern markets. Fed by the Georgina River system, flooding channel country waterways flow through the majority of the property, which has a carrying capacity around 8500 head.
  • Durrie Station 6600sq km to the southeast of Glengyle on the Diamantina was acquired by Sidney Kidman himself in 1913. Located in the Diamantina channel country, it is considered some of the best grazing country in Queensland, traditionally used as a grass bullock depot. The property runs up to 9000 head at any given time, using extensive flood-out areas.
  • Naryilco Station, covering 7510sq km, is located on the southern end of Queensland’s channel country, near the border with NSW and South Australia. It has a carrying capacity of 12,000 head. Producing excellent grass bullocks, Naryilco is semi-arid country consisting mainly of soft sandhills, open gibber plains and an area of fertile floodplains thanks to Cooper Creek, Warri Warri and the Wilson River.
  • Brunchilly Station 4572sq km is situated on the Barkly Tablelands of the Northern Territory, northeast of Tennant Creek. It sits to the southeast of Kidman’s other large Barkly breeding operation Helen Springs, which is not involved in this sale process. Brunchilly has an average carrying capacity of 24,000 head, mostly used for breeding, run on a mix of fertile black soil downs and softwood scrub country. The property turns off weaner steers annually to the channel country properties, whilst females are retained as replacements for the breeding herd.

Queensland’s Channel Country holdings are notoriously tightly-held by their predominantly pastoral company owners, with many operated by the original owners for a century or more. The area is highly prized for its ability as a ‘grass feedlot’ during times of beneficial flooding out of the Cooper Creek and Diamantina and Georgina Rivers, all flowing towards Lake Eyre.

The total land area involved in the four sales is 24,800sq km, making this one of the biggest pastoral land deals in Australia in the past year. Eighteen months ago, Kidman sold a similar area of country around 25,000sq km in Central Australia, but that was much lesser quality country in lower carrying capacity regions. It also sold Ruby Plains and Nerrima Statiuons in the Kimberley in September last year in a deal worth around $100 million.

To avoid any confusion, the sales do not involve Kidman’s Durham Downs, one of its other Channel Country properties further south on the Cooper Creek, and major breeding property Helen Springs, to the northwest of Brunchilly on the Barkly.

Kidman’s statement released this morning said each of the properties have been improved by significant investment across a range of areas implemented while under the ownership of Hancock Agriculture and CRED Pastoral, and have been purchased by Australians who are experienced in cattle operations.

The sales have received all necessary statutory approvals and have settled, with formal handover to the new owners having just occurred, the statement said.

“The sale of these properties is consistent with S. Kidman & Co’s strategy of divesting properties where significant investment has improved them by focussing on essential maintenance and specific areas including improved animal welfare and employee safety, the use of technology and innovation and improvements across the herds,” the statement said.

“The continued focus on animal welfare and the philosophy that ‘happy healthy cattle are the best cattle’ has driven a change in the culture across the business. Hancock Agriculture and Kidman have been leaders in this regard.”

“Improvements in the productivity and condition of the stations, including developing and expanding water infrastructure, improved employee safety and cattle handling equipment, shading for cattle and horses, and investing in widespread extensive communication networks to aid staff communication and data collection and analysis, and very useful for employee safety.”

“This investment is reflective of the approach across all of Hancock Agriculture’s properties, bringing the benefit of investment into Australian agriculture.”

Kidman & Co said it will continue to operate its remaining stations located in the Northern Territory (Helen Springs) and Queensland to produce high quality beef products and remain committed to preserving the Kidman legacy and history, including retaining all Kidman intellectual property, including logos, business names and marketing brands.

The company said it will further focus on expanding its grainfed Santa Gertrudis and Kidman Premium beef brands, which utilise a combination of Santa and Wagyu genetics and which are served both domestically and internationally in premium restaurants.

The sale of the stations will assist in providing further capital to focus on purchasing and improving other properties for S. Kidman & Co’s agricultural operations, the statement said.

The purchase price and specific terms for each sale were not disclosed.

Hancock’s ongoing commitment to Australian agriculture

Hancock Agriculture is a division of the Hancock Prospecting Group, majority owned by Gina Rinehart.

This morning’s statement said Hancock Agriculture remained committed to Australian agriculture and intends to retain and grow its remaining substantial portfolio including operations in Queensland, New South Wales, West Australia and the Northern Territory.

“Across these operations, Hancock will continue to be an investor and Australian agricultural industry leader in the application of innovative technology, and in identifying and incorporating ways to continue to improve employee safety and animal welfare,” it said.

“This approach also applies to the S. Kidman & Co business.  Through its majority ownership in this business, there is a focus on improving productivity through herd improvement and expanding its backgrounding and feeding capacity to deliver a range of branded beef grain fed and grass-fed products.”

Hancock’s east coast Wagyu operations, which currently form the largest Fullblood and Purebred Wagyu herd in the world, will continue to grow through additional production and broadacre cropping properties, the statement said.

Its multiple branded premium beef product lines, including the premium 2GR Wagyu, are sold both domestically and internationally in some of the world’s finest restaurants.


Click here to view Beef Central’s recent property summary of Kidman/Hancock’s recent asset sales and acquisitions history


Source: S. Kidman & Co/Hancock Ag




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