Carsons list Dirranbandi cropping, grazing portfolio

Emma Alsop, February 6, 2023

One part of the portfolio, Hooloovale, features over 400ha of irrigation. Photo: JLL

A PORTFOLIO covering 18,180ha near Dirranbandi has been listed by the Carson family to wind up 48 years of mixed farming in the Balonne region of southern Queensland.

The portfolio features three properties, Ooraine (6777ha), Somerset (5258ha) and Hooloovale (6144ha), which have been developed to accommodate irrigated and dryland cropping as well as cattle and sheep grazing.

JLL Agribusiness directors Chris Holgar, Geoff Warriner and Clayton Smith are handling the listing on behalf of the Carsons.

Mr Holgar said the aggregation was being offered in one line or as separate assets.

“It is a very diversified portfolio, which makes it pretty unique,” Mr Holgar said.

“Given the rarity of the offer and the strength of the agribusiness market, we expect strong interest from existing local producers, agricultural consortia and corporate investors nationally, as well as from overseas interests.

“We have approached a lot of people we know about the property locally and more abroad.

“There is quite good engagement from…those groups.”

Irrigation opportunity

The portfolio is managed as two distinct hubs, with irrigation and grazing on Hooloovale and dryland farming and grazing on Ooraine and Somerset.

Mr Holgar said the irrigation areas of Hooloovale total 471ha and are underpinned by three storage cells which hold 9811 megalitres in total.

“Hooloovale is quite unique in that it is the only irrigation development west of the Culgoa River.

“From a water-reliability point of view, it does get a lot of water.”

It is supplemented by recently completed development includes the upgrade of pumping infrastructure enabling a daily lift capacity of some 635ML.

The irrigated cropping program is centred around cotton, alongside some pulses and winter cereals.

Grazing areas to the north are protected from flood events by a maintained levee bank.

While currently utilised for grazing, this area has the potential to be converted to dryland farming or irrigation.

The portfolio includes substantial water resources and upgraded pumping infrastructure. Photo: JLL

Dryland cropping, grazing

Located south of Dirranbandi, Ooraine and Somerset feature dryland farming areas and grazing.

Dryland farming areas on Somerset totals 1295ha and have historically grown winter cereals.

Over the past three years, the dryland cropping program has achieved average yields of 3.7 tonnes per hectare for wheat and 2.2t/ha for chickpeas.

Mr Holgar said the program can be increased by an estimated 1000ha to capitalise on further black-soil Coolibah plains to the south.

“There is a fair bit of flexibility around the portfolio.

“On the Somerset property, there is certainly large portions that can be developed to dryland farming if someone wanted to.”

The portfolio has been developed to cater for sheep and cattle, and has shearing sheds and yards.

Stock water is provided by two artesian bores, with fencing well-developed and replaced as part of an annual program.

Sheep form part of the enterprise mix on Somerset and Ooraine. Photo: JLL

The portfolio has a Dry Sheep Equivalent of 15,500, and has historically run a Merino flock and produced prime lambs from terminal sires, as well as buying in trade cattle and carrying agistment when seasons permit.

Historically run as a core Merino-breeding herd, terminal sires and opportunistic trading/agistment of cattle, the portfolio is considered to have a combined carrying capacity of 15,500 Dry Sheep Equivalent.

The Carson family purchased the Ooraine Pastoral Company from the Estate of Guy Elliot in 1975.

The Elliott family had owned the property since the end of World War I, where they ran a Merino flock and a prize-winning Angus cattle stud.

In 1979, the operation expanded with the purchase of Hooloovale from Randal and Blyth Lampard, who had owned the property for approximately 60 years.

Somerset, which adjoins Ooraine, was purchased from Michael Hill, St George in 1988.

The Carson Family Portfolio is for sale via expressions of interest closing on March 16.



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