Momentum staying in Northern Territory pastoral market

Momentum staying in Northern Territory pastoral market
Momentum staying in Northern Territory pastoral market

The Northern Territory cattle industry is primed for a strong year following on from the momentum gained in 2016, according to Herron Todd White.

Herron Todd White's May report gave on example of the local market's stability as the sale of Mary River East (1,345 square kilometres, 270 kilometres south of Darwin), which contracted for sale in mid April to an experienced local pastoral family.

HTW said confidence in the live cattle export sector and optimising access to the market year round appear to have underpinned this sale.

"The property has around a 70 kilometre frontage to the upper reaches of the Mary River (which also forms the western boundary of Kakadu National Park) and is dissected by the Kakadu Highway giving year round access to the Stuart Highway to Darwin," HTW said.

"Available for sale since March 2016, the property reportedly received reasonable interest around the $6 million WIWO asking price including plant and a small number of cattle and exotic animals (the property was run as a game hunting operation). However, it wasn’t until the last couple of months that competition between interested parties yielded this sale. 

"The deal looks to reflect the same premium generally paid for grazing country with year round access and within a 175 kilometre radius (up to 280 kilometres by road) from the Port of Darwin.

"This is similar to the sale of Ban Ban Springs (1,873 square kilometres) which is directly to the north which made $11.5 million in December 2016 or around $1,470 per AE). Mary River East is located in this very thinly traded pastoral zone (175 kilometre radius of the port) which is occupied by only nineteen pastoral leases and six crown leases. 

"We are also aware of another pastoral holding (this one well developed) around 350 kilometres by road from the port which is under contract to Australian and foreign interests after off-market negotiations," the report noted.

"It has since emerged that Alan and Sara Fisher, who also own Wombungi and Swim Creek properties in the Top End, bought Mary River East Station as a private walk-in-walk-out sale for around $6 million.

"The Pine Creek property had been owned by the Gleeson family.

"The Fishers had owned Mary River East previously, first selling the 1,345 square kilometre pastoral lease in 1983.

"As far as opportunities to buy station country in the NT, the following are the only stations currently being actively marketed for sale (as far as we are aware):

  • Flying Fox (895 square kilometres), Roper District
  • Conways (1,392 square kilometres), Roper District
  • Avago (1,578 square kilometres), Sturt Plateau
  • Middle Creek (602 square kilometres), Sturt Plateau
  • Sturt Downs(678 square kilometres, Perpetual Crown Lease), Katherine

"However we aware of a small number of other stations that are quietly on the market and one medium to large scale operation that is reportedly coming back onto the market. In the Alice Springs region, station availability remains characteristically tight, however we are aware of an off-market negotiation underway for the sale of at least one large area pastoral holding," HTW said. 

"On the freehold farming market front, the month of April yielded limited sales apart from a 65 hectare mango farm in Darwin River (66 kilometres south of Darwin) with a mix of KP and R2E2 mango trees which showed around $30,000 per planted hectare. 

"We are also aware that a Darwin mango grower has leased the old Rewards mango plantation from the Galati family over in the Ord, Kununurra, however details remains confidential at this stage.

"Freehold land for dryland cropping (mostly hay), irrigation land or land with potential for development to irrigation (including available groundwater) remains scarce in the NT.

"We are aware of a small number of corporate fruit and vegetable growers from southern states actively searching for reasonable areas of such land to ll seasonal gaps in their year round supply of fruit and vegetables to Australia’s cities who are becoming frustrated with the apparent lack of opportunity to buy suitable land up here.

"The most recent irrigation land sales have shown between $10,500 and $12,500 per irrigated hectare (including water allocation at around 10 megalitres per hectare per annum) for land (between 40 and 70 hectares in scale) in the Venn horticulture precinct, 25 kilometres south of Katherine."


Northern Territory Pastoral


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