NORTHERN Territory extensive cattle operation Suplejack Station sold under the hammer for $21 million at an unreserved auction in Alice Springs on Friday.
The sale price included just over 19,000 Brahman/Droughtmaster type cattle, plus unbranded calves and station plant.
Four bidders were registered to compete for the 381,700ha holding, of which 130,000ha is currently developed, leaving opportunity for considerable further development.
The buyer was a company related to Robert Savage, a relative of the late Robert and Lilian Savage, who settled the property when it was granted as a pastoral lease in 1964. The sale represented a buyout of other family members from the estate, and was apparently part of the reason for making the sale process unreserved.
Bidding started at $14 million and progressed between the parties before the hammer fell. About 50 people were in attendance at the auction, with interest mostly from established northern Australian pastoralists. Average annual rainfall is around 450mm, and the current season on the property was described as below average, like a lot of country in the general area.
The Suplejack sale was the first major northern result for new rural property marketing entrant, Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) Agribusiness, headed since its February launch by Geoff Warriner and Chris Holgar. Their appointments coincided with JLL’s expansion of its agribusiness services platform to include rural property sales.
An arbitrary cattle valuation at $500/head would value Supplejack’s land component at around $25/ha, or at $600/head, at $20/ha. The purchase price works out at about $750/adult equivalent.
Suplejack is located 740km south of Darwin, 560km south-west of Katherine and 610km north-west of Alice Springs. Its’ location near the NT/WA border on the edge of the Tanami Desert is highly unusual – perhaps unique – in one sense: it is completely surrounded by Crown Land, held by the Central Desert Aboriginal Land Trust.
The country includes softer Mitchell/Flinders grass plains with spinifex ridges & areas of buffel, divided into four paddocks.
Fenced areas comprise about 130,000ha of the total area, with about 65pc of the landholding towards the southern and western boundary remaining undeveloped. Suplejack’s water infrastructure includes 17 bores and six operational dams complementing Wilson, Goat and Birthday creeks, which traverse the landholding and provide semi-permanent sources of water.
Three sets of stock yards are included as well as a homestead and multiple residences and sheds located on the developed portion of the landholding. A nearby 1200m airstrip is serviced by a hangar.
Recent capital expenditure within the homestead complex includes a large solar system and battery bank, providing significant operational cost savings.
Before the auction, JLL’s Geoff Warriner said Suplejack was part of Australian pastoral pioneering history, and was an efficient enterprise, primarily livestock to northern live export markets.
“It has been thoughtfully developed to represent a productive holding underpinned by practical operational infrastructure, secure water resources and diverse land and soil types,” he said.