A need for grass may have driven much of the frantic property sale activity that has taken place in the Winton-Longreach district in north west Queensland in the first few months of the year but agents say the purchases have the dual purpose of a long-term investment.
Among those to sell are Pat and Sue Hegarty at Colanya, north west of Longreach.
Their well-grassed property changed hands for $259.46/ha ($105/acre) to a buyer from Narrabri who plans on backgrounding cattle, according to selling agent Ben Forrest, Colliers International.
Mr Forrest, who has just listed the 26,626 hectare (65,794 acre) Hereward property 70km north of Longreach, said there was a window open for buyers and sellers in terms of grass.
"In terms of values, the far west has not caught up with eastern parts," he said.
Longreach agent Richard Simpson agreed.
"People say it's grass money. I say the Longreach area has languished because of the severe drought; it hasn't had a lift.
"The better positioned country is still of value. I think the market will just get stronger now, for any property of position."
He recently sold Tandara, on the Silsoe Road, on behalf of Don and Jar Milne for $125/acre to the owners of Ringwood Station, Alice Springs.
Bucking the trend on that road was the auction of Marmboo, which adjoins Colanya. According to Peter McPherson, representing Queensland Rural Ruralco Property, it was passed in without a bid at auction on April 11.
The 38,558ha (95,238 acre) property received solid rainfall in December and February and again in March.
Mr McPherson speculated that rain in more areas meant the urgency had gone out of needing grass for the moment, but said he had two parties negotiating.
He said the property, offered by North Queensland graziers Brendan and Debbie McAuliffe, was available for $220/ha ($90/acre).
On the Landsborough Highway 80km south of Winton, Wayne and Gayle Sharp have sold Pauralos Park to Clermont graziers Alan and Jane Foot.
It was listed for $3m walk in walk out and is understood to have sold for that price. That price is equivalent to $292/ha or $118/acre.
Further north, Mark and Kate Bradshaw have sold Luckham, 80 km north east of Winton, to the McDonald family from Albeni, Springsure. It's understood the price paid was $130/ha or $52.61/acre.
Scott and Sarnia Walker will manage the improved downs country property.
Joining that on a corner post is Enryb, which has been sold by PJ Elliott to Greg and Megan Warren and family from Surat for an undisclosed price.
According to Tom Brodie, their son Dean and his partner Jody will manage it.
"The Warrens always wanted to invest up here so this purchase is a long-term investment for them," Tom said.
Mike, Patrice, Scott and Jenna Elliott have sold the 189,000ha (466,830 acre) Boolbie, 125km west of Winton, bare of stock to Rob and Lois Grummitt, South Belle, Augathella, while their daughter and son-in-law Kirra and Stuart Reddan, Boggarella, Augathella, have purchased the adjoining Archervale, which is 14,174ha (35,010 acres).
The family are well-known organic producers and Tom said they intended to operate their Winton country as an organic enterprise.
The country is described as very diverse, ranging from undulating pebbly gidyea and light mulga to creek channel systems, Mitchell grass downs, and hard range country.
The price was undisclosed.
Also at Winton, Richard Simpson said he had sold the 20,234ha (49,998 acre) Goomeda, a mulga block 95km south of the town, on behalf of Clarrie Hermann, to Tambo's Chris Skelton for around $84/ha or $30/acre.
A number of Winton and Longreach properties are still for sale, including Carisbrooke, Suvla, Tranbie and Tulmur at Winton, and Alroy and Eureka, west of Longreach.
Two others between Longreach and Winton are under contract.