One Tree Agriculture, owned by US private equity fund manager Proterra Investment Partners, has acquired a 966-hectare cropping property in Queensland's Darling Downs for $5.6 million.
It's the second big farming acquisition in Southern Queensland by One Tree Agriculture in the space of a few months, after it bought Kinbeachie, a 6000-hectare Goondiwindi property offered by the Australian Pastoral Group in April.
Calmyle, a dryland and irrigation property across four titles at 671 Kents Road, Macalister, was offloaded by the Taylor family. It adds to the 7000 hectares of Darling Downs farmland already owned by Cargill Australia.
Included in the sale was irrigation infrastructure, three cottages, shedding and 1010 tonnes of silo storage. The sale was negotiated by Roger Lyne of Ray White Rural - Dalby.
One Tree Agriculture is managed by experienced grower Peter-John Bradford, who describes the business as a "large progressive predominantly summer dryland farming operation".
The sale comes amid improving farming conditions – both for cropping and grazing – in Southern Queensland, which has encouraged corporates and local farmers to expand their holdings.
"As we roll into a new financial year there is no doubt the rural market is in a much better space than where it was 12 months earlier," said Heron Todd White valuer Stephen Cameron in the firm's latest rural round up.
"Overall the wider market throughout Southern Queensland is seeing an increased number of transactions. Pending a good winter crop, which is looking patchy in some areas, but also continued strong beef prices, the demand for properties is likely to further improve," he added.
Mr Cameron notes another recent corporate deal in the Darling Downs, the sale of Mamabaa a 437.6-hectare dryland holding on the Dalby-Kogan Road, which was purchased by Warakirri Asset Management for $4912 per hectare – $2.14 million.
One Tree Agriculture is owned by Black River Asset Management which was owned by Minnesota-based Cargill, the biggest privately-owned company in the US by revenue ($US135 billion) and which holds $US60 billion of assets until being spun off into an independent, employee-owned firm.
Cargill Australia's investments outside of the Darling Downs include Billabong Station in the NSW Eurongilly Valley, 12 grain properties in Temora in the NSW Riverina and a sugar cane farm, Marwood, near Mackay in north Queensland.
Last year, Black River invested in the resurgent Tasmanian rural market, spending around $20 million on Vaucluse, a 2654-hectare cropping and grazing property near Launceston.
This story was first published on The Australian Financial Review.