FEBRUARY and March rain across parts of Queensland and the Northern Territory has stimulated a number of quality northern property listings. Here’s a sample of what’s come to market across the eastern states over the past few weeks:
For the first time since it was settled in 1964, the Northern Territory’s Suplejack Station will be auctioned by global property services firm Jones Lang LaSalle, which made its first foray into the rural transactional space earlier this year.
JLL agribusiness directors Geoff Warriner and Chris Holgar will auction the property, pictured above, on June 14.
Originally settled by the late Robert and Lilian Savage, Suplejack is a single pastoral lease spanning 381,700ha in the Tanami region of the NT, close to the Western Australia border and some 560km south-west of Katherine.
The walk-in walk-out sale includes 19,000 head plus followers, as well as plant and equipment.
Country comprises Mitchell/Flinders grass plains with spinifex ridges and areas of buffel, with an average annual rainfall of 450mm.
Mr Warriner said Suplejack was part of Australian pastoral pioneering history.
“It is an efficient enterprise supplying livestock to primarily northern export markets. The property has been thoughtfully developed to represent a productive holding underpinned by practical operational infrastructure, secure water resources and diverse land and soil types.”
Fenced areas comprise about 130,000ha of the total area.
“Around 65pc of the landholding (towards the southern and western boundary) remains undeveloped and as such, a tangible opportunity exists for future development resulting in expansion of the current grazing operation,” Mr Holgar said.
Recent capital expenditure within the homestead complex includes a large solar system and battery bank, providing significant operational cost savings.
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 water.
A Northern Territory cattle station in the tightly held Alice Springs region, with a $10m price tag, is attracting strong interstate enquiry.
Mount Skinner Station, situated on the Sandover Highway 200km north east of Alice Springs and 80km east of Ti Tree, was established by John ‘Jock’ Nelson in 1952.
Mr Nelson was a well-known figure in the NT. He was a Labor MP for 17 years, mayor of Alice Springs and then NT Administrator.
Three generations later, his family continues to run the 3036sq km cattle enterprise. However, the time has come for Rhonda and Spook Barber to move closer to family.
Mount Skinner has large areas of flood-out country, low lying and range country, as well as creeks and valleys. It has been conservatively stocked but can carry around 3000 breeders. Included in the sale are 2615 Poll Hereford cattle, most of which are organic USDA accredited.
Selling agent Jock McPherson from Territory Rural said the well cared for cattle station had been owned and operated by the one family for nearly 70 years.
“Mount Skinner is extremely well maintained. The station plant is in good condition and there is an opportunity for low cost expansion and development.”
Recently, the eastern side of the station has received rain, there is an excellent underground water supply and a good body of dry feed with large areas of buffel.
The Argyle Foods Group is offering its NSW cattle, sheep and cropping powerhouse Willowgreen for $10 million, but will also consider a sale and leaseback arrangement.
Located in the tightly held Galong district, hours from Sydney and an hour from Canberra, the property is being marketed by CBRE’s Col Medway and Richard Royle.
The 1213ha holding consists of grey clay loams and small areas of red loams suitable for a range of cropping enterprises and high-performance pastures.
A scenic property with a mountain backdrop, Willowgreen features gently undulating country, a 7km frontage to the Jugiong Creek and access to the Bobbara Flat, Bobbara and Rocky Ponds Creeks.
Water security for livestock, domestic and irrigation is further provided via dams and an extensive reticulated water system supplied by a bore pumping to a series of tanks and troughs. All paddocks have access to at least one trough and benefit from dual dam and trough access.
Willowgreen grows wheat, canola, triticale, oats, lucerne, chicory, clover plus improved fescue and phalaris pastures.
It is understood Argyle Food Group’s chief executive officer Lachlan Graham wants to unlock capital to expand the company’s beef export business.
(Jon link to previous story) Two years ago, the progressive NSW branded beef and lamb supply chain secured a $20m capital injection from Hong Kong-listed company DCH (Dah Chong Hong Holdings) to be used to fully vertically integrate the business from genetics, breeding, finishing and processing through to sales, marketing and distribution.
Mr Royle said there’s already been good interest.
“Willowgreen is well improved and maintained, and a good proposition for both sale, and sale and leaseback options. The owners are flexible and are offering 10 plus, 10, five or three year options with 4.5 percent rates.”
Another property with a $10 million plus price tag is Jericho property Lennox, which has been listed for sale with Dowling Livestock and Property after failing to sell at auction three years ago.
Located 80km north of Jericho, the 55,800ha EU accredited property is an ideal calf factory with the ability to run 3000 to 4000 breeding cows with progeny taken off as weaners.
The country is a mixture of ironbark and box forest, with areas of brigalow and bendee. Around 27,720ha has been pulled and seeded to buffel and seca.
Lennox is well watered by six bores and 15 dams ranging in size from 6000 to 20,000 cu m, with 200km of poly pipeline servicing five turkey nests and 11 tanks feeding 57 stock troughs, yards and the homestead complex.
In May 2016, Lennox was passed in for $10m which included 3250 breeders and plant.
Selling agent Peter Dowling said owners Barry and Kimberley Johnson are relocating to Hughenden.
The sale includes 1950 cows, 450 replacement heifers and 65 bulls plus plant and is offered with 12 months deferred payment.
The Mackay family’s grazing property Hereward in western Queensland is being offered for sale by Colliers International after 107 years ownership.
Located 70km north west of Longreach, the 26,626ha operation offers double frontage to the Landsborough Highway.
Available for immediate access, Hereward boasts an impressive body of Mitchell and buffel grasses following 355mm of rain this year alone.
Improvements include a new electric artesian bore (drilled in 2012) and a near new shearing shed (built in 2005).
The reliable water includes multiple large dams, which selling agent Ben Forrest said have the ability to carry a large number of stock through 2019.
When there is a reasonable season, the local rule of thumb suggests country in the district generally carries a beast to 10-12ha, suggesting a carrying capacity around 2500 head.
Mr Forrest reports that while the grass fever has settled down somewhat in Queensland’s central west, there has been reasonable local and interstate inquiry for Hereward, including from drought affected producers in New South Wales.
Hereward will be auctioned on May 15.
Elders has locked in an auction date and kick-started inspections for the large-scale breeding, backgrounding and fattening aggregation at Winton, after recent wet weather prevented earlier on-site visits.
Tulmur, Tranby and Owens Creek, spanning 74,620 hectares, has experienced between 375mm and 560mm of rain, as well as beneficial flooding.
Two of the three properties are neighbouring – the 54,300ha Tulmur (51km from Winton) features Diamantina River flood-out and channel country and the 14,100ha Tranby (80km from Winton) has some beneficial creeks.
The lightly stocked 6220ha Owens Creek is located 65km from Winton and has some paddocks available for early access.
Together, the three properties can carry 3000 breeders plus followers.
After single family ownership since 1918, Sandra McGavin and her brother Allan Walker are retiring and winding up their assets.
Marketing agent Tim Salter believes the property will attract producers with a large number of livestock seeking to background, fatten or breed.
Tulmur, Tranby and Owens Creek will be auctioned as a whole on May 29.
One of few freehold tenure pastoral enterprises in North Queensland will be auctioned by Slaney & Co on June 11.
Rocky Springs is located 400km north west of Charters Towers and 330km south west of Cairns. It borders the of Mt Surprise township to the east and has a 20km double frontage to Highway 1, the Savannah Way.
The 17,650ha of country is flat to undulating basalt interspersed by basalt ridges, fertile creek frontages, spring-fed and seasonal creeks.
The land types range from timbered red and black basalt soils to alluvial creek frontages with sandy duplex soils to granite ridges.
Rocky Springs has two major flowing permanent spring fed creeks, Fossilbrook and Elizabeth which runs east-west through the length of the property and provide year-long spring-fed stock water and fertile grazing frontages.
Leucaena has been established on 40ha since 2010 and now provides reliable fattening capability.
Rocky Springs can sustainably carry 3500 mixed cattle. It is currently being run as a breeding unit supplying dry cattle to Doug and Mary Buchanan’s other fattening properties near Innisfail.
Mr Slaney said Rocky Springs also lent itself to the establishment of a tourism business.
“Mt Surprise is visited three times per week by a passenger bus from Cairns and the weekly Cairns-Forsayth-Cairns historic tourist train traverses part of the north west section of the property during the tourist season. It is a short drive to the Undara Lava Tubes, Cobbold Gorge and the gem fossicking area at O’Brien’s Creek.”
After 30 years ownership, the Buchanans have decided to downsize. Included in the sale are 3120 good quality Brahman cross branded cattle.
Further south, the 1297ha Quirindi NSW grazing property Makiwa is being sold by the Kuhn family after 30 years of ownership.
Adjoining the well-known property Rockgedgiel, Makiwa is located on the edge of the highly productive Liverpool Plains in the north west slopes region of New South Wales. It is equally suited to cattle or sheep.
It benefits a soft and temperate climate and a north easterly aspect which not only provides stunning views, but also has production benefits.
Makiwa has basalt soils which possess qualities of natural fertility and high water retention – typical of those found in the Liverpool Plains area and the surrounding foothills.
Dick Cameron from Cameron Pastoral Agents said the owners had developed Makiwa to a high standard.
“The improvements are well built and well maintained, while the management has focused on maximising returns while caring for the land. Sustainability of profitable production has remained the constant objective.”
Around 142ha is farmed with fodder crops allowing flexibility to finish high value livestock – around 450 cows.
The decision to sell Makiwa has not been taken lightly, but Mr Cameron said family circumstances are such that the vendors had concluded now was the time to move on to other endeavours.
“The operation would suit a variety of buyers, but especially producers seeking a standalone grazing enterprise. There’s been widespread interest, but mainly from locals,” he said.
Expressions of interest for Makiwa close on May 21.
Patrick and Carmel Nolan’s Bar Plains at St Lawrence will be auctioned on May 24 by Ray White Rural.
The couple has held the 3413ha property for 30 years but are now consolidating the family assets as part of a succession plan.
Located 188km north of Rockhampton and 168km south of Mackay, Bar Plains features 5km direct coastal frontage, another 8km access to coastal frontage and 5km frontage to Waverley Creek.
Native couch grasses dominate on the higher areas and marine couch on the tidal plains. About 100ha of scrub has previously been developed and planted to Rhodes grass and Wynn cassia. These areas range from a soft red loam to deep brown loam soils.
Water is secured by dams, tanks, a bore, troughs and numerous seasonal water holes.
Selling agent Richard Brosnan said just last week, 83mm of rain fell, setting-up the property well going into winter.
“Bar Plains can carry 450 breeders making it an ideal calf factory, but much of the inquiry has expressed interest (from northern NSW, northern and central western Qld) in further developing the country,” he said
Theodore properties return to the market
Theodore District irrigation property Bungaree has been listed for $4.5m by Hourn & Bishop Qld after failing to sell at auction.
Held in four freehold titles and located 12km from Theodore, the 717ha consist of 214ha of flood irrigation and 56ha under centre pivot supported by 184ha of dryland cultivation. The balance is either leucaena or established grass country.
There’s access to plenty of water, including flood harvesting licenses on the Dawson River and Boam Creek, and 1400mgl of storage in dams and channels.
200ha of irrigated sorghum and 80ha forage sorghum under pivot are both included in the sale.
Despite attracting strong bidding at auction, the 140ha Boam Downs South was passed in for $580,000 and is now on the market for $690,000.
However, the 165ha Gralows, which was also passed in at auction for $515,000, later sold to local Theodore producers for $530,000.