One of Australia’s best mixed-farming operations with more than 6,000 megalitres of water entitlements has sold for a speculated price of about $100 million.
- Industry sources have speculated the farm sold for $100 million, but the final price tag is confidential
- The property is a renowned producer of irrigated cotton and has more than 6,000ML of water entitlements
- The farm sold to an Australian, family-owned entity and will not be subject to foreign investment review
The sale price and buyer of the family-owned, 12,168-hectare South Callandoon property near Goondiwindi on the Queensland-New South Wales border remain confidential and are subject to a conditional contract.
Nutrien Ag Solutions real estate specialist Andrew Jakins handled the sale and said it was a “once in a lifetime” trade.
“It’s quite a significant sale, and obviously it’s the biggest one I’ve ever done in my short time of 18 years in the property game,” Mr Jakins said.
Sold to Australian family
Mr Jakins said the buyer was another Australian and family-owned entity, and the transaction would not require Foreign Investment Review Board approval.
The buyer’s identity and final price will not be revealed for another month, but industry sources have told the ABC it is likely to be about $100 million.
South Callandoon fronts the Macintyre River and is 20 kilometres from Goondiwindi.
The Duddy family have developed the property since 1983 and have turned it from a sheep and wool-focused operation to a dryland and irrigated cropping and cattle grazing powerhouse.
The farm is a renowned producer of mainly irrigated cotton, as well as cattle, grain and pulses, and hosts 4,400 hectares of dryland farming country and 1,772 hectares of developed irrigation land.
The property has a mixture of Queensland and NSW water entitlements of varying classes, including about 3,100 megalitres of NSW A and B class water licences, and a further 3,000 megalitres of supplementary water entitlements.
“All those things combine to make a very good asset and very sought after, but of course it’s at a level that not too many people can afford,” Mr Jakins said.
Improved outlook after floods
The expression of interest process ended on March 18 and Mr Jarkins said nine parties from both Australia and abroad flagged interest in the asset.
“Through the marketing process it was as dry as a bone, there wasn’t a megalitre on farm,” Mr Jakins said.
In late March, significant rainfall and river flows drastically changed the outlook on the drought-affected property.
Mr Jakins said 17,000 megalitres had been pumped from the Macintyre River and stored on farm.
Around that time, Coolmunda Dam, which is the major storage facility for the Macintyre Brook Irrigation Scheme, shot from 17 per cent capacity to more than 100 per cent in a matter of days.
The Duddy family is selling the property as part of succession plans, with Brian and Julie Duddy retiring in Goondiwindi.
Follows a record water auction
The sale comes off the back of a record water sale in the district last month.
In a test of Queensland’s water market, a public auction of entitlements to 5,993 megalitres of unsupplemented water sold for a record $29 million, which is twice what has previously been paid for that category of water.
JLL property agent Clayton Smith said the water sold unhinged from Garrawilla land aggregation, near the border town of Mungindi, for an average $4,854 per megalitre.
He said local irrigators fought hard to secure the rare offering and the successful bidders were three local irrigators, highlighting the value of irrigation water to the region.
ValCore Advisory land valuer Tim Bartholomew said the deal had reinforced water as a commodity in its own right.
“You can’t make the stuff so people have to go out and pay the money.”