Canada’s Hancock looks to downsize in Macintyre

Liz Wells, June 16, 2021

Kalanga is being offered for sale by HNRG, which is retaining the nearby Mobandilla. Photo: Nutrien Harcourt Goondiwindi, LAWD

CANADIAN-BASED investor Hancock Natural Resource Group (HNRG) is offering the Kalanga Aggregation for sale by expressions of interest less than three years after it was purchased from Norman Farming.

Located in southern Queensland 60 kilometres west of Goondiwindi in the Toobeah district, the Kalanga Aggregation covers 12,840 hectares, and is being offered for sale in a two-stage campaign, with the first stage closing July 30.

Kalanga was bought by Norman Farming in 1981, and the business acquired the nearby Mobandilla in 2013 from a mortgagee-in-possession sale.

HNRG bought Kalanga and Mobandilla in 2018 from Norman Farming, and is holding on to Mobandilla.

Agents for the Kalanga listing are Andrew Jakins of Nutrien Harcourt Goondiwindi, and LAWD’s Simon Cudmore and Danny Thomas.

Mr Thomas said HNRG was offering Kalanga to the market as part of “portfolio management 101”.

“The vendor has the opportunity to take some inefficiency out of their business, and offer Kalanga to a whole lot of adjoining owners that didn’t get to access it last time it came to the market,” Mr Thomas said.

Valley and state Hectares Max annual ML Status
Auscott Macquarie, NSW 40,000 143,000 Sold
Ballandry Murrumbidgee, NSW 26,945 45,457 Listed
Kalanga Macintyre, Qld 12,840 50,706 Listed
South Callandoon Macintyre, Qld 12,168 17,400 storage Sold
Sunland Lachlan, NSW 1,747 14,849 Listed
Ulupna Murray, Vic 15,000 20,000 Listed

Table 1: Recent listings or sales of selected large-scale irrigation properties in the Murray-Darling Basin.

Busy market

The Kalanga listing is the latest in a string of well-developed and sizeable irrigation properties from within the Murray-Darling Basin to come to market.

“With the outlook for water, a whole lot of irrigation properties are coming into their own.

“If you’ve got sub $100-per-megalitre water delivered to a field, and irrigation for canola, grain, cotton or whatever you want to grow, you’d be foolish not to take that opportunity to the market if that’s what you want to do.”

Mr Thomas said low interest rates and strong commodity prices were likely to bring more irrigated country to market.

“It’s a response to the demand.

“Every agent will tell you they can sell every one of these joints two or three times over.

“I think on the whole, more and more places will be presented.

“The local market is so strong, and there’s a huge amount of transactions that are going on away from the public eye.”

Mr Thomas said attractive operating margins and the strong outlook for dryland as well as irrigated cropping across just about all of the Murray-Darling Basin this year meant vendors were in no rush to sell in most cases.

“They’d be just as happy to keep owning.”

Water, improvements aplenty

The Kalanga Aggregation has a proven production history on irrigated and dryland cotton, sorghum, wheat, barley, chickpea and mungbeans, and includes 3544ha of developed irrigation country.

It comprises six main holdings: Wahroonga and Gamut Lea; Brooklyn; Kalanga; Fraser; Whynot and Milkami.

It includes an off-farm grain storage at nearby Bungunya which comprises two 2500-tonne silos, two 45t tonne quick-fill silos, a pit and a grain dryer plus a shed and gravel hardstand to ensure all-weather access.

Located in the renowned Border Rivers region of southern Queensland, Kalanga is situated on the floodplains and terraces of the Macintyre River.

Kalanga Aggregation’s is licensed to divert up to 50,706 megalitres of water per annum, with overland flows accounting for up to 41,750ML, and can store 23,432ML in on-farm ring tanks, plus an additional 25,000ML in temporary storages.

Tradeable allocations come from its Weir River, Macintyre River and Callandoon Creek entitlements.

Improvements include two homesteads, five workers’ cottages, a separate office, multiple sheds, and on-farm silos and bulk fuel storage.

About HNRG

HNRG is a registered investment adviser and wholly owned subsidiary of life insurance company Manulife Financial Corporation, and comprises two core businesses: Hancock Timber Resource Group and Hancock Agricultural Investment Group.

Grain Central understands HNRG already owns irrigation country including permanent plantings in southern New South Wales as part of its Australian portfolio.

It takes its name from the Boston-based John Hancock Life Insurance Company which was founded in the 1860s and taken over by Manulife in 2004.

The company has no link to Gina Reinhart’s Hancock Agriculture.


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