St Lawrence’s ponded pasture showcase Granite Vale makes $14.1m

Beef Central, 19/07/2023

Ponded pastures on Granite Vale, showing the characteristic shallow earth banks holding back water


ONE of the northern beef industry’s showcase examples of ponded pasture development has sold soon after auction for around $14.1 million in Rockhampton today.

Granite Vale, almost 4000ha of freehold country near St Lawrence, north of Rockhampton, has been developed by members of the Olive family since 1956.

The property has been the site of countless producer field days over the years looking at coastal pasture improvement using the ponded pasture strategy.

Ponded pasture refers to the construction of shallow earth banks to hold back water in which to grow tropical water grasses like para grass, aleman and hymenachne – all nutritious fodder grasses which can fatten bullocks, sometimes out of season. It is typically applied on high-rainfall coastal country in frost-free subtropical or tropical areas.

Around 1100ha of the coastal forest and scrub country on Granite Vale was developed and established to ponded pastures consisting of CV Olive hymanachne, aleman and para.

The balance of country was developed to improved tropical pastures of pangola, Rhodes grass and brachiaria humidicola supported by soft native grasses & legumes.

Family patriarch the late Joe Olive worked with the Department of Primary Industries to trial and introduce various tropical grasses.

His leadership was recognised when he was honoured with the Tropical Grassland Society of Australia Award for Innovation in Tropical Pasture Development in 1987 and the Royal National Association’s Bicentennial Beef Producer of the Year in 1988.

Mr Olive who was a foundation member of the Cattlemen’s Union, passed away in 2016. His wife, Pat now lives in Rockhampton.

Mr Olive worked closely with the Queensland DPI, particularly John Wildin who wrote a series of authoritative books and manuals on ponded and tropical pastures that assisted other graziers to adopt similar techniques.

Brahman steers on ponded pastures on Granite Vale

There is an abundance of water on Granite Vale with double frontage to Bridge Creek along with numerous water courses supported by bores, tanks and troughs.

The property is subdivided into 11 main paddocks interconnected by a laneway system for ease of management. There is a large set of steel and timber cattle yards with attached coolers and holding paddocks, double-deck loading ramp, undercover vet crush and calf handling facilities.

A comfortable highset homestead and smaller managers residence, workshop, machinery shed, hay shed and stables complete the built structures.

Today’s auction, including around 1000 Brahman cattle plus station plant attracted nine registered bidders, with four locals active on the day. There were 20 inspections prior to today’s sale. Granite Vale was passed in at $14 million, and sold immediately afterwards for a higher figure, believed to be $14.1 million.

“The market spoke,” Elders agent Robert Murolo said.

Today’s sale ended the Olive family’s 70-year association with Granite Vale.






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  1. Greg Brown, 19/07/2023

    Joe was a visionary pioneer of ponding and was very generous with information and advice . In addition to that he was very decent human being Greg Brown

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