NEW benchmarks could well be set for extensive northwest Queensland grazing country following the offering of giant Gulf of Carpentaria calf factory Miranda Downs in coming months.
Owners, the Menegazzo family’s Stanbroke Pastoral Co have not offered a reason for the sale, but market observers suggest the current record highs being paid for quality large-scale grazing assets across northern Australia are likely to be a prime motivator.
One of Queensland’s larger grazing properties, the 438,000ha rolling term lease northwest of Normanton on the Gilbert River is being offered through an expressions of interest campaign through Ray White Rural’s Bruce Douglas.
Included in the sale will be about 55,000 head of Brahman and crossbred cattle, including 20,000 breeders. The property is rated at 66,000 adult equivalents, delivering an AE beast area of 6.63ha.
With cattle value alone estimated at more than $65 million, and a bare land value at a conservatively estimated adult equivalent price of $1200/AE, the entire transaction could be worth $145-$155 million, Beef Central was told.
In addition to its massive scale and primary focus as an efficient large-scale calf factory, Miranda may attract interest from southern irrigators interested in the north’s untapped potential, given its huge 6000ML water licence from the Gilbert River. Overseas investors looking for a major northern breeding operation are another obvious buyer target.
Prominent neighbours include Strathmore, held by the Harris family to the southeast, and Vanrook, held by brother, Mark Menegazzo’s Gulf Coast Agricultural Co to the northwest.
The 438,000ha rolling term lease is being offered through an expressions of interest campaign being managed by Ray White Rural’s Bruce Douglas.
Featuring a large double frontage to the Gilbert and Maxwell Rivers, Miranda has large areas of coolibah flood plain country, running back to sandy forest. The past five years have delivered an average weaning rate of 65pc.
The property is well-watered by dams, lagoons and permanent water holes. Most watering points have a 2km grazing radius, with significant expenditure on water development in the past four years.
There are 45 main grazing paddocks, including 364km of new fencing in the past four years, and ten sets of steel cattle yards.
A large, well-established station complex is located at Miranda Downs, plus a second outstation complex at Rice Lagoon.
Miranda Downs has been owned and operated by some of the nation’s legendary cattle producers over the past 80 years.
The property was originally part of the historic Queensland Stations pastoral portfolio, most of which was bought by Coutts Brothers around 1982. Coutts Brothers, who retained the name Queensland Stations from the previous owners, undertook one of Australia’s largest stylo pasture development projects on Miranda, investing around $1.6 million before it was on-sold in 1989 when the Queensland Stations business got into financial difficulty amid high interest rates and currency movements as a result of overseas borrowings.
It was bought by Gulf cattleman Wallace Logan from nearby Magowra and Milgarra for $6.5m, including 13,000 mostly female cattle.
Mr Logan in turn onsold Miranda to the original AMP-owned Stanbroke Pastoral Co in 1998, for around $9 million.
History recalls that AMP sold Stanbroke under controversial circumstances in October 2003, ultimately bought by the Nebo Consortium, involving a syndicate of four northern graziers and Swan Hill businessman Peter Menegazzo, who held 50pc of the stake. Current owners the Menegazzo family bought out the remaining Stanbroke shareholders in 2004.
Just 19 months after completing the purchase, tragedy struck when Peter Menegazzo, his wife Angela and their pilots were lost in an aircraft accident after encountering bad weather while flying home to Swan Hill from Brisbane in December 2005.
- Expressions of interest in Miranda Downs close Thursday 3 June.