Excel Farms lists Boorala, Karrara aggregations

Linda Rowley, April 26, 2024

The Boorala Aggregation in SA’s South East is being offered for sale by Excel Farms with 1655ha of crop in the ground. Photo: LAWD and TDC Livestock & Property

AFTER a 12-month spending spree, Ararat-based Excel Farms and its Canadian investment fund partner are offloading two aggregations in South Australia and Victoria expected to raise more than $57 million.

It is understood Excel Farms is looking at reinvesting funds into its grain-growing operations in Western Australia and New South Wales.

Excel Farms is based in Ararat, Victoria, and its managing director is Nick Paterson, whose family, along with Canadian partner Fiera Comox, are the stakeholders.

Boorala Aggregation

More than $37M is anticipated for the 2821ha Boorala Aggregation, an institutional-scale farming opportunity in a reliable rainfall district in SA’s South East.

The aggregation comprises the 1980ha Boorala and the 841ha Manton, located 40km north-east of Naracoorte in the renowned Frances region, close to the Victorian border.

LAWD and TDC Livestock & Property have been appointed to sell the mixed-farming asset, currently used for dryland cropping of cereals, oilseeds and faba beans, and prime lamb and cattle production.

The primary focus is growing 1655ha of winter crop planted for the 2024 season which will be included in the sale.

In terms of livestock production, Boorala was running 3300 ewes and trading 28,000 lambs and 1400 cattle in 2023.

By increasing the 2024 cropping program, the aggregation is currently running 4500 ewes and trading 7500 lambs and 180 cattle.

The Boorala Aggregation is a well-developed mixed-farming operation and is expected to fetch more than $37M. Photo: LAWD and TDC Livestock & Property

TDC Livestock & Property agent Tom Pearce reports a good level of interest from a broad scope of buyers, from institutional investors and private farming families both locally and interstate.

“I grew up not far from Boorala,” Mr Pearce said.

“The Frances region is a true mixed-farming area where producers can produce a good crop and good livestock without sacrificing one to the other.”

Transaction history

This will be the third time in five years that Boorala has changed hands.

In March 2019, after more than 100 years of Tate family ownership, Duxton Farms paid $15M on a walk-in walk-out basis, or $13.6M bare, for Boorala.

In December 2020, it was sold to Excel Farms for $22M bare, with the property settling in April 2021 following FIRB approval.

The agents said the current $37M-plus price expectation reflects the significant capital expenditure from Excel Farms during its three-year tenure.

The focus has been on cropping efficiencies, pasture development, water infrastructure, soil amelioration, fencing and laneways, and infrastructure, including renovating residences, sheds and yards.

The country on Boorala is mostly level with a mix of fertile brown loams over clay, while Manton has some undulations with heavier loams and sandy soil types.

Both properties are growing a variety of winter crops and improved pastures in rotation.

High-quality and reliable underground water is sourced from two bores with new pumping systems on Boorala and a newly equipped bore on Manton.

Improvements include three homes, a newly constructed workshop, a chemical shed, livestock and containment yards, and six silos with 500 tonnes of grain

Karrara Aggregation

Excel Farms is also offloading the 967ha Karrara Aggregation in the renowned Western District of Victoria for around $20 million.
The versatile mixed-farming platform is currently used to breed and fatten cattle but is also suited to a broad range of agricultural pursuits such as dairy, beef or sheep.

Located near Ecklin South, 30 minutes from Warrnambool, the aggregation incorporates the 558ha Karrara Farms and the 408ha Acacia Downs, and is capable of running 20,000 dry sheep equivalents.

The sale is being handled by LAWD and Elders, who have identified future development and expansion potential.

The gently rolling arable land has highly fertile mostly basalt over clay soils, with perennial and annual pastures established and reliably watered by six bores.

Once again, during its tenure, Excel Farms has carried out significant capital expenditure focussing on lime, gypsum, water systems, drainage, perennial pasture development, infrastructure and a fencing/laneways network.

Improvements include six recently renovated homes, two 50-unit rotary dairies, newly constructed undercover yards complex, sheep yards, a shearing shed, workshop and substantial grain storage.

Both the Boorala Aggregation and the Karrara Aggregation are being offered for sale in one line or as separate assets by expression of interest closing June 6.

The Echidna Ridge Aggregation near Pingrup sold early in 2024 to Excel Farms to evidence the appetite for large-scale and well-improved holdings. Photo: Ray White Rural WA

Recent purchases

February 2024: Excel Farms purchased five adjoining properties set up for both cropping and grazing in WA’s Great Southern region. The 5937ha Echidna Ridge is the second major purchase in Pingrup. In February 2023, it secured the 12,000ha Southwark Soaks holding which it renamed Cairlocup.

November 2023: Excel Farms purchased the 26,839ha Ballandry Aggregation, comprising 16 dryland cropping properties, north of Griffith in the Riverina region of NSW. The property has an annual cropping program of 21,833ha and was reportedly sold for around $120M.

January 2023: Excel Farms paid more than $100M on a WIWO basis for Cherylton Farms, an institutional mixed farming opportunity also located in WA’s Great Southern region. The 8554ha holding spans two non-contiguous high-performing enterprises based on dryland cropping, sheep, lamb, and cattle.


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