MINING magnate Gina Rinehart has continued her recent investment focus on beef cattle, securing a showcase Dubbo, NSW grazing property last week apparently to expand her Eastern states Wagyu F1 cattle and beef operations.
Glencoe is close to her existing Greenhills Wagyu operations, bought for $25 million last year (click here to view Beef Central’s earlier story) from businessman Paul Salteri. That deal included Greenhills’ elite Wagyu cattle herd numbering 1600 Fullblood breeders (regarded by many as the equal to, if not better than the Westholme herd bought several years earlier by AA Co for $10 million), and two high quality grazing properties, Boogadah and Kagan. The Greenhills deal was her first beef investment outside Western Australia.
Rumours of Mrs Rinehart’s purchase of Glencoe from former Australian Meat and Livestock Corporation chairman and mining investor Dick Austen started last week when the parent company Hartley Grazing Co listed 1000 Angus cattle for sale on AuctionsPlus on November 27 (see upcoming listing ad on Beef Central).
Dick Austen was AMLC chairman for 12 years up to around 1995. He was announced as Red Meat Industry Achiever of the Decade at a dinner at Rockhampton’s Beef 2000 event five years later. He has owned and operated Glencoe for at least 30 years, together with grazing properties in Central Queensland, since sold.
What is developing in Gina Rinehart’s beef investment portfolio is two separate and contrasting production streams on either side of the continent.
Her Western Australian investments have been in large-scale, arid and semi-arid cattle production in the state’s north and far north. Properties include Liveringa and Nerrima Stations in the Pilbara, later adding Fossil Downs in the Kimberley for about $30 million. A deal to purchase four other Kimberley stations (Moola Bulla, Mount Amhurst, Beefwood Park and Shamrock) went close, but ultimately fell through.
In contrast, her growing assets in the eastern states focus on high-quality Wagyu-based beef production – on a much smaller scale, in relative terms, in higher-rainfall, more fertile country.
In August, Beef Central published this article flagging her decision to shelve her plans to establish a large-scale dairy supply chain in southeastern Queensland, designed to produce powdered milk formula for export to China. The dairy project, which included the purchase of about 5000ha of irrigated and dryland grazing country in the South Burnett and Gympie regions, is currently in conversion to Wagyu beef production.
“We are continuing to invest in agriculture in Queensland, putting the land already purchased to use developing a beef cattle operation, producing both feed for Wagyu cattle, and Wagyu cattle for the domestic and international markets,” a company statement said at the time.
“Market conditions are now more conducive to Wagyu than particular dairy products for one market.”
Reports suggest last week’s Glencoe Station purchase was an off-market deal negotiated by Colliers International’s Richard Royle out of Sydney, and Simon McKittrick, Logical Livestock, Mudgee. Mr Royle confirmed a sale but refused to comment on the price or buyer.