Queensland farm market strength may flow to Morocco

Liz Wells, April 14, 2021

Camm Agricultural Group’s eastern Maranoa property Morocco is for sale. Photo: Colliers

RECORDS keep tumbling for cropping country in southern Queensland as a return to kind seasons rekindles local interest in expanding area, and Camm Agricultural Group’s (CAG) irrigated and dryland holding Morocco may well be the next to benefit from the buoyant market.

The latest record was set on Thursday when the 302-hectare Glenmore at Macalister sold under the hammer for $4.3 million, or $14,252/hectare to almost neighbours the Von Pein family of Pallathorpe Farming.

Elders Dalby agent Mick Cuskelly said bidding started at $4 million, and all six registered bidders were locals, who soon pushed the per-area value to new heights for dryland country.

“That’s set a new level for the district,” Mr Cuskelly said.

“It’s not surprising; it’s a very good patch of dirt.”

Glenmore at Macalister sold at auction last week for $4.3 million to set a new district record. Photo: Elders

Glenmore was sold on behalf of the estate of the late Esme Wegener, while Jerematta in the nearby Jandowae district was offered by a local family farming operation wishing to consolidate its holding.

Offered by Fitzsimmons Real Estate, Dalby, the 259ha Jerematta also sold at auction last month.

It fetched $2.885M, or $11,142/ha, and sold to a farmer from within the district.

Both sales occurred in the window between summer and winter cropping, and market attention has now switched to larger holdings like Morocco.

Morocco offers scale

While Morocco’s soils are lighter than those of Glenmore and Jerematta, the 5939ha holding located between Roma and St George offers scale, development approval for a feedlot, and plenty of water.

Property Central first previewed Morocco in November 2017, when CAG CEO Bryce Camm said the property was being sold because expansion at its Wonga Plains feedlot near Dalby meant capacity could now be added to an existing operation.

“We originally bought Morocco for the opportunity it gave us to expand our feedlotting capacity, and do backgrounding,” Mr Camm said in 2017.

“With the expansion now taking place at Wonga Plains, we’ve decided Morocco is something we no longer need.”

The story holds true in 2021, and the approval remains in place for development of a feedlot licenced to hold up to 26,320 Standard Cattle Units.

Morocco also has 1771ha of grazing, and was bought by CAG in 2006.

The Camms have held on to the eastern Maranoa spread since 2018 to find its seasons were largely kinder than those on the Darling Downs.

Morocco is being marketed by Colliers Agribusiness agents Rawdon Briggs and Phillip Kelly through an expressions of interest campaign which closes April 29.

It is located in the Wycombe district near Surat, and includes 2828ha of dryland cropping country and 928ha under irrigation.

Morocco’s annual mean rainfall is 571 millimetres, and irrigation water comes from the Balonne River on the eastern boundary, as well as overland flows and Tartulla Creek.

Its principal water allocation allows for 5340 megalitres, and Tartulla Creek allows up to 150ML to be stored.

“One of the advantages with Morocco is you’re getting the water before it gets to Beardmore Dam,” Mr Briggs said.

While Morocco and its entitlements are coming to the market together, Mr Briggs said the water could be traded separately further down the track.

“There’s over 700ha of cotton in the ground now, and picking will start mid May and go into June.”

Mr Briggs said eight genuine parties had already expressed in Morocco, and inspections were scheduled to take place this week following rain which is setting the district up for a good winter-cropping season.

“It’s pretty wet out there.”

Morocco’s soils are mostly deep grey cracking clays, and around 40 per cent of its dryland cropping area is flood protected.

The property is well suited to growing cereals and chickpeas over winter, and sorghum and cotton in summer.


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