Property: Hughenden showcase Katandra makes close to $14m

Jon Condon, 13/09/2017

Droughtmaster cows on Katandra (image taken earlier this year)

LARGE-SCALE Hughenden district (Qld) downs country grazing property Katandra has been bought by expanding fund manager Gunn Agri, for a price believed to be approaching its earlier listed price of around $14 million, bare of stock and plant.

Located south of Hughenden near Stamford, Katandra is large by local standards at around 40,000ha (100,000 ac), when nearby holdings are typically less than half that.

Vendors Rob and Donna Atkinson and family have held Katandra for many years, running an award-winning straight Droughtmaster herd tracing back to the breed’s founder, the late Monty Atkinson.

The well-improved Mitchell grass downs country has been kept completely clean of the local woody weed pests, prickly acacia and parkinsonia – a feature strongly promoted when the listing first came to attention earlier this year.

The sale is part of an Atkinson family succession plan, with Rob and Donna’s adult children now doing their own thing. The original Katandra Droughtmaster herd has been divided amongst the next generation, with most of the Glen Ruth prefix stud cows resting with son, John.

With the capacity to run around 6000 adult equivalent cattle in an average year, Katandra this year has feed for about half that.

One of the reasons for purchase by Gunn Agri is that there is a body of dry feed available, perhaps better off than a lot of other properties in the local district.

The purchase is part of Gunn Agri’s longer-term plan to integrate breeding and backgrounding in Queensland’s north, with other more productive grazing holdings further south for finishing.

Gunn Agri in February last year paid around $40 million for large scale breeding property Esmeralda near Croydon in the lower gulf. It already owns Ekari Park and Fairview south of Mitchell, country south of Roma, and blocks north of Goondiwindi and stretching into NSW. Gunn Agri is an Australian company that manages offshore funds investing in agriculture.

No price has been disclosed, but Katandra was listed for private sale earlier at close to $14 million bare, and indications are that the agreed price was reasonably close to that figure.

Sole marketing agent TopX Longreach’s Tom McLeish said the holding attracted significant interest, with 22 inquiries from a wide range of sources, both established producers and investors. Gunn Agri was a ‘serious candidate’ from the start, he said.

Good downs country in the general region has made $2000 to $3000 per beast area in recent times, and given the standard of improvements and the type and scale of country involved, Katandra would rate towards the upper end of that range.

Given the high cattle market in recent times caused by national herd reduction after drought, it’s often been said that unstocked or under-stocked properties have been harder to shift in the current trading environment – but it evidently did not harm Katandra’s prospects.

The property’s location makes it accessible either to the northern live export market, or to shift cattle further south for feedlot placement or grass finishing. The country is held in four 4 GHPL and freehold titles.

Improvements are a key feature, with more than 130km of near-new perimeter and subdivisional fencing, dividing country into 30 paddocks, six holding paddocks and a number of laneways. Each of the two sets of yards can work over 1000 cattle at a time.

Water infrastructure is another stand-out feature with the majority of the work being completed in the last 10 years, including six bores, including five next to mains power and one solar, 70km of 50mm poly pipe, 10 nests, 21 tanks servicing 48 troughs, and seven dams.

Country is predominantly black soil downs with a mixture of lighter pebbly soils throughout that grow Mitchell, Flinders, buffel, seasonal herbages and other summer grasses. The black soil downs is broken by limestone ridges and some coolibah lined creeks and channels. The country is excellent open downs with trees along the creek lines and an odd one on the open downs.

Droughtmaster cows on Katandra (image taken earlier this year)


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