A central Queensland family has joined the wave of cashed-up farmers expanding their operations amid forecasts of another year of record farmgate production after paying more than $15 million for the Slatey Creek grazing aggregation west of Rockhampton.
The 6268-hectare Duaringa district property featuring 15 kilometres of Fitzroy and Dawson River frontage was offered for sale by well-known beef producers Charlie and Kaye Wilson, who are winding down their rural operations.
Slatey Creek was passed in at auction on Wednesday for $15 million following bidding from three parties.
It sold directly after auction for more than $15 million to a family expanding their grazing operations, said Ray White Rockhampton rural agent Richard Brosnan.
“It’s very good country,” said Mr Brosnan, who in 2019 sold the Wilson’s 7230-hectare organic cattle property – Karamarra at Dingo on the Mackenzie River – for $25 million to Western Australian producer and businessman Brent Smoothy.
“The [rural property] market in central Queensland has been very strong the past three years,” said Mr Brosnan.
“Prices are rising on competition that’s being driven by families expanding. It’s a strong, market. Families are looking to expand to give their kids an opportunity.
“It’s still relatively dry in central Queensland, but cattle prices are high enough to ensure farmers have enough profitability to expand – there’s no doubt about that.”
Mr Brosnan said he received over 30 enquiries for Slatey Creek. There were five registered bidders, and three participated in the auction.
The sale included 200 breeding cattle – Slatey Creek has in the past run about 1500 cattle.
The property is divided into 28 paddocks and features laneways to easily move livestock.
Improvements included a three-bedroom homestead, a second three-bedroom home for workers, sheds and new steel cattle yards. A solar pump transfers water from the Fitzroy River to tanks that irrigate the western portion of the property.
Forecasts from the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (ABARES) is for the value of farm production to total a record $73 billion in 2021/22 – up from the previous record of $66.3 billion in the past financial year.
The value of livestock production is forecast to increase by 8 per cent to $33.5 billion, following beef prices hitting record highs of over $10 per kilogram earlier this year and as herds are restocked following years of drought and flooding.
“In Australia, the continuation of widespread favourable seasonal conditions means another near-record harvest is forecast. This has also contributed to continued optimism in the red meat industry, leading to record prices being paid for young cattle by both restocking graziers and processors,” noted ABARES in its outlook for the current financial year.
While corporate investment in Australian farming and farmland is rising, local farmers have also been highly active, including buying many notable aggregations.
Last month, one of Victoria’s oldest and best-known sheep stations, Buln Gherin in the state’s Western District region, was acquired as three separate farms by local merino sheep and wool farmers for a combined $35 million.