SERIOUS confidence in the cattle sector has been demonstrated yet again today, with close to $110 million paid for two separate Central and North Queensland grazing aggregations.
In a separate deal finalised this morning, an American family has paid around $40 million for Nick Burton-Taylor’s large-scale Bellevue cattle breeding enterprise in Far North Queensland (details below).
Rural Funds Management has spent close to $70 million (bare) purchasing the 28,000ha Kaiuroo Aggregation in Central Queensland’s highly regarded Mackenzie River district. The aggregation is located just west of Cerberus, an existing cattle property owned by the company.
The Kairoo aggregation sale price ($68.8 million excluding livestock, plant and equipment) includes 12,448ML of water entitlements which will be used by RFM to improve the productivity of the properties.
The works will include the expansion of the irrigated cropping areas and increasing the cattle carrying capacity through pasture improvement and additional water storage and distribution.
When the Kaiuroo Aggregation was listed in July, the selling agents would not be drawn on a price, however expectations were believed to be in excess of $55 million (excluding livestock).
Elders general manager of real estate, Tom Russo said the property market has moved dramatically in a short period, with the strong price reflecting where the market is now headed.
He said RFM had negotiated an extended settlement period that could take up to two years to complete.
“Both parties are committed to the transaction, however RFM has been afforded a 24-month period to undertake the productivity developments to position the property for leasing in the future.”
The investment market appears extremely confident in agriculture. Two weeks ago, RFM also secured the 1917ha The Pocket at Gogango in Central Queensland for $13.8 million (including a 5364ML water allocation).
The Pocket formed part of the prized 21,900ha THF beef cattle and irrigated fodder portfolio that sold to five separate Queensland-based family and corporate buyers for $100m.
Located 220km west of Rockhampton in the Fitzroy River Basin, the Kaiuroo Aggregation comprises four neighbouring holdings – 5889ha Kaiuroo, 4528ha Coreen, 3636ha Eskfield and 17,914ha Yambuk.
Sitting in a high rainfall zone, Kaiuroo boasts rich alluvial Mackenzie River flood plains that rise to brigalow soils on Coreen to the north, and tableland forest country on Yambuk to the south.
Over the last four years, the aggregation has carried between 4000 and 7400 head of cattle.
Kaiuroo supports a diverse production system including Organic certification for beef for international and domestic markets, genetically evaluated Grey and Red Brahman cattle, a seedstock enterprise, a large-scale irrigation system and irrigated and dryland crops.
Mr Russo said the four properties complemented each other.
“The breeding and fattening operations benefit from excellent home-grown grain, forage and cotton crops. The cropping area includes 1650ha with organic certification, of which 917ha is irrigated,” he said.
Over the last five years, the owners, New York-based The Rohatyn Group (a multi-strategy investment firm) has invested heavily in irrigation infrastructure.
A linked irrigation system allows tailwater to be re-used at both Kaiuroo and Coreen, while eight different storage sites make for efficient yet low-risk water infrastructure.
As well as the water entitlements, the enterprise has two major pump sites on the Mackenzie River, with additional pump sites on Lake Mary and Lake Meredith.
Strong interest for the Kaiuroo Aggregation as a whole and in separate parcels came from local farming enterprises, corporates and fund managers.
Chillagoe’s Bellevue aggregation makes around $40m
IN another major property deal this week, an American family has paid around $40 million for Nick Burton-Taylor’s large-scale cattle breeding enterprise in Far North Queensland.
The 211,664ha Bellevue Aggregation, comprising the 85,564ha Bellevue Station and the neighbouring 126,100ha Nychum Station, features undulating open and timbered savannah grasslands dissected by numerous creeks and watercourses.
Situated on the Mitchell River near Chillagoe, 300km north west of Cairns, it neighbours Consolidated Pastoral Co’s Wrotham Park.
Mr Burton-Taylor, who heads up Hillgrove Pastoral, has owned both Bellevue Station and Nychum for around 20 years. Together, they can carry 15,000 adult equivalents.
Land Agribusiness Water Development (LAWD) agents Col Medway and Danny Thomas were appointed to take Bellevue Aggregation to market via an expressions of interest campaign which closed at the end of May.
Mr Medway was unable to disclose the buyer or the price paid, saying the sale of the unique property is still subject to FIRB approval.
“It is a new investment for this family who were looking for an inter-generational property that doubled as a commercial cattle and recreational enterprise.”
When Bellevue was brought to the market earlier this year, industry experts anticipated it would make more than $35 million, including cattle. It is understood the available 10,700 Brahman cross cattle herd, along with the plant and equipment, pushed the agreed price beyond $40m.
Mr Medway said the US buyers were attracted to the conservative management over a stunning landscape, providing both compelling economies of scale as a calf factory and a strong focus on environmental sustainability.
“Mr Burton Taylor has been running the Bellevue Aggregation in harmony with the environment, using sustainable grazing practices to enhance both economic and natural capital,” he said.
There is exceptional wildlife diversity and abundance on the aggregation. To date 174 bird species have been identified, representing more than 20 percent of the species on mainland Australia. The count does not include unofficial sightings of the Buff Breasted Quail, Australia’s rarest bird species and the extremely rare Night Parrot.
Bellevue also features a striking landscape. The Elizabeth Falls and gorge provide a wilderness area of significance, as does also the sandstone escarpment and valley area surrounding Elizabeth Creek.
It benefits from 80km of single and double frontage to the permanently flowing Mitchell River – the largest volumetric river in Queensland.
Other significant waterways include the Dry River, Elizabeth Creek, St George Creek and Big Watson which are usually free flowing during the wet season, providing permanent waterholes during the dry.
The enterprise is also watered by 87 dams and 37 bores.