Property: Farming forges on, in a COVID-impacted world

Beef Central, 15/04/2020


AS urban society grapples with the virally-affected new world, farmers and graziers are flat out producing food and fibre to feed and clothe society, rural valuer Herron Todd White says in its latest monthly property market report.

The current episode may in fact help bridge the gap between urban and rural people, HTW argues.

“Yes, graziers and farmers are feeling the pinch of COVID-19. But for farmers around Bowen in North Queensland, for example, are used to biosecurity and horticultural crop security risks,” HTW’s report says.

“Measures have been in place for years to manage the risk of disease. That is the heart and soul of producing the healthy food that society demands. This is a major salad bowl production area of Queensland and may now also serve as a good source of employment while the hospitality sector struggles.”

As the pandemic is endured, society is looking to the agricultural sector to continue to produce an abundance of clean and safe foods, HTW’s monthly report says.

“This realisation is a stark contrast to the way farmers and graziers have felt for years: that urban society does not care about or understand the agricultural sector,” its says.

“The pandemic is serving to close the gap between urban communities and their country cousins. Australia is lucky to have its high standard of food security, and as this pandemic is navigated, the world will demand the same.”

“Our trading partners need to eat. The low Australian dollar is of benefit to competitiveness for the sale of our safe and nutritious products on the global market.

“Perhaps the new dawn of agriculture is upon Australia. What will that look like? Will this period reset the balance of policy and land management practices for a collaborative future?”

This did not necessarily mean boom-time for agricultural property markets, however, HTW warned.

“Yes, property market sentiment is positive. Unlike urban residential markets, graziers are still pushing ahead with their interest in acquisitions and expansions. The pandemic has reduced the hot-air value talk, which is a healthy thing for the rural property markets.”

North and north-west Queensland, for example had a limited supply of rural land on the market at present. Buyer demand, on the other hand, was moderate to strong in the small to middle scale property sizes.

“This does not mean that it’s time to ask unrealistic prices, however,” HTW said.

“In the words of Banjo Paterson, ‘No use to try for fancy riding now’.”

“The pandemic has served to place a head-check on purchaser frivolity. Vendor prudency is required, as the pandemic continues and commodity supply chains redesign themselves.

Not only was the pandemic a property market risk-checker, so too was the season in some regions of North Quensland, HTW said.

“There are parts of north and north-west Queensland that have not had the best season, while there are districts that have had a cracker of a season. Cattle are being sold-off accordingly to southern markets where there have been better seasons.

“This southern demand has served to mask the market while the supply chain issues around ports and meatworks are sorted. At this stage, rural property markets in the north and north-west Queensland appear stable. Stakeholders are considering their risks and implementing protocols to protect their health, while they continue to grow an abundance of healthy and safe food,” HTW said.


  • See tonight’s weekly property review, examining the impact that COVID-19 is having on the grazing land property market.




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