DARWIN-based Andy Gray from Ruralco Property has had a cracker 12 months selling Mataranka’s Flying Fox Station (after three attempts), followed by Katherine’s Edith Springs and more recently, finding buyers for Carmor Plains and Kalala Stations.
When Beef Central contacted Mr Gray this week, he could not disclose any confidential details surrounding the Carmor Plains transaction, however it is understood Malaysia’s Sarawak Economic Development Corporation paid upwards of $20 million for the coastal Northern Territory grazing property, including 2500 head of buffalo, plant and equipment.
Located within the tightly held coastal flood plain region of Point Stuart, 200km east of Darwin, Carmor spans 41,500 hectares and is ideally suited to backgrounding.
The property includes 24,000ha of highly fertile blacksoil flood plain country, which is in excellent condition due to conservative stocking by the owners in recent years, according to Andy Gray, from Territory Rural.
Receiving a reliable average annual rainfall of 1500mm, the floodplain country is capable of supporting up to 8000 head between May and December each year.
Until recently, Carmor Plains hosted a wildlife and game reserve (Australian Wide Safaris) owned by John and Lyn Kelman and their son Matthew – which was not offered with the sale of the property.
When Mr Gray launched an expressions of interest campaign for Carmor Plains in November, he said floodplain properties close to Darwin were highly sought after.
“It is heavy carrying country in the dry season and most cattle achieve very good weightgains, depending on the animal and the season.”
In March, members of the Sarawak Economic Development Corporation toured Carmor Plains en-route to the SEDC-owned 296,169ha Rosewood cattle station, in the East Kimberley region of the Northern Territory.
Foreshadowing the sale, a statement issued by the Malasian chief minister’s office in March reported that Carmor Plains would become a finishing centre for cattle sent from Rosewood for export, and a breeding station for buffalo that would be sent to Limbang (Borneo) for domestication.
Previous floodplain sales
The last significant top end floodplain country to change hands was La Belle Downs, 180km south west of Darwin and 82km west of Bachelor, in October 2013.
The 100,000ha aggregation comprising Labelle Downs and Welltree was bought by the Australian Agricultural Co for $27.1 million (bare) from the struggling RM Williams Agricultural Holdings.
AA Co utilised La Belle’s extensive para grass and hymnacne water grasses for floodplain trading, as it is strategically positioned to ensure continuity of supply to the company’s (now closed) beef processing facility in Darwin through both wet and dry seasons.
The Langenhoven family has added the large-scale Barkly Tableland breeding property Kalala Station to their growing Top End cattle property portfolio.
In May last year, the family’s Amanzi arm purchased the 80,900ha McMinn Station for $7.5 million and six months later bought the neighbouring 70,700ha Big River Station for $5.5m.
Australia citizens of South African origin, the Langenhoven family’s Rallen Pty Ltd has now secured Kalala, (pictured below) the large 3760sq km perpetual pastoral lease, 280km south of Katherine, near Daly Waters in the Northern Territory.
The country includes vast areas of fertile black and red soil types, including downs and forest country, including some coolibah country.
Year-round market access is provided by frontage to both the Stuart and Carpentaria Highways.
Mr Gray was again the selling agent for Kalala Station, and while he didn’t disclose the sale price, according to the Land Titles Office it made $58 million, including 20,000 breeding age females plus followers. An earlier deal to sell the property to foreign interests last year did not eventuate.
“It was a very, very strong sale and underpins the confidence in the northern Australia pastoral property market,” Mr Gray said.
Kalala can carry 35,000 Brahman and Brahman cross cattle in a normal season, but like much of the Barkly, received a disappointing wet season last summer.
The property has been owned by the Murphy family since 2005. They will remain in the NT where they operate livestock, trucking, earthmoving and hay contracting businesses.