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Merino breeders buy Victorian showcase Mt Fyans for $37 million

by Property editor Linda Rowley, 07 December 2018

China’s Harmony Agriculture and Food Co has sold Mt Fyans in Victoria’s western districts for $37 million

 

NEW South Wales stud Merino breeders Ian and Camilla Shippen have paid $37 million for Mt Fyans, one of the largest and most highly regarded agricultural holdings in the Western district of Victoria.

The 5946ha Dundonnell grazing and cropping enterprise changed hands three years ago when the Western Australian-based Harmony Agriculture and Food Company paid a reported $34m for its first eastern states acquisition.

HAFFCO is jointly owned by Australian and Chinese investors to primarily to focus on live export, predominantly the export of slaughter cattle and sheep to China.

In October this year, Harmony issued a statement saying it had decided to adjust its business model in response to ‘a particularly unsettling year for the Australian livestock and food supply industry.’

“Harmony Agriculture and Food Company’s (HAAFCO) Board has made the decision to adjust its business model and approach to better suit market conditions,” it said.

In this earlier Beef Central story, chief executive Steve Meerwald explained the company would move away from backgrounding cattle in order to focus on grain feeding cattle.

“The company will now concentrate on the production of Wagyu and grainfed beef, the development of high-quality beef brands, and the processing of grain fed beef product in Australia for both domestic and export customers.”

Previously, Mt Fyans was owned by a British aristocratic family (Keith and Rosie Rous, the Earl and Countess of Stradbroke) who amassed the expansive 5946 hectares of contiguous land over 25 years.

The new owners, the Shippens family (Banyandah Pastoral) reportedly hold 105,000 hectares of country at Moulamein and Wagga Wagga in New South Wales’ Riverina, where they run commercial ewes.

In the past, the Shippens have purchased and sold a number of properties including the 3000ha property Barton Station at Moyston and the 692ha Pine Park at Wellington.

Mt Fyans boasts an eight-bedroom historic homestead, built in the mid-1880s to a design by renowned local architect Andrew Kerr. The building features a 70-foot hallway and majestic cornices and ceilings in the formal reception rooms.

Water is a dominant feature of the property, comprising springs, dams, bores and a storage capacity of more than 800,000 litres. A pumping system drives water through some 90km of 50mm poly pipe and feeds about 190 troughs.

The property, which can carry 5500 cattle or 70,000 DSE, benefits from quality infrastructure, including two sets of undercover cattle yards, a modern four stand shearing shed, undercover sheep yards and a laneway system linking 90 percent of the paddocks.

The annual rainfall is 570mm and pastures include ryegrass, phalaris and native grasses.

The sale of Mt Fyans was handled by Robert Claffey from Kerr & Co Town and Country Real Estate in conjunction with Elders Real Estate at Hamilton.



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