The name of Upton Pastoral Company would be familiar to readers of The Land market pages, as one of the regular bulk buyers of steers at North Coast and New England calf sales.
Those calves are trucked to an aggregation of highly improved grazing properties at Niangala, near Walcha, and pasture-fattened into prime steers for the EU-accredited export market.
Currently around 6000 steers are turned off this beef fattening powerhouse each year under a long-term trading relationship with processor Teys Australia.
And now the prime grazing land that underpins this extraordinarily productive operation is being offered for sale on a rare leaseback arrangement, to free up the owners’ funds for another project.
Greg Upton and associated family interests are selling their four properties, tagged the Upton Property Portfolio, to enable Mr Upton to buy other country nearby and bring it up to its full potential.
The non-contiguous four properties now for sale - “Alpha”, “Pindari Tops”, “Brislington” and “Billys Creek” – amount to a combined area of 2668 hectares (6590ac) representing some of the most highly regarded and highly improved grazing country in the New England.
CBRE has listed the properties for combined sale by expressions of interest closing June 1, in an offering certain to catch the eye of institutional investors.
Under the sale arrangement, the properties will be leased back by Upton Pastoral for 10 years (with renewal option) at an initial annual rental of $2.1 million, with annual increases of 2.5 per cent.
The offering thus offers investors the opportunity to derive a competitive annual dividend from one of the state’s foremost beef enterprises, while enjoying the capital gains that are certain to accrue.
Situated 40 kilometres south of Walcha atop the Great Dividing Range, the properties are characterised by high elevation (1200-1350m), high rainfall (1150mm average) and rich basalt soils.
More than 90pc of the total area is pasture improved to a high and constantly monitored standard, and sown to a productive mix of fescues, cocksfoot, ryegrasses and clover.
It’s all a far cry from the barely fenced “Pindari Tops” property of native tussock and timber that started it all when Greg’s late father, Roy Upton, bought it as a development proposition in 1962.
Roy Upton was at the time a successful Sydney car dealer and recognised the potential of the property, with its rich soils and high rainfall, as a fitting avenue for tax-effective investment.
After attending agricultural college Greg took over the reins and presided over the improvement of “Pindari Tops” and the subsequent additions of “Alpha” (1972), “Billy Creek” (1980) and “Brislington” (2007).
All four properties have a homestead and are well set up with necessary infrastructure, including four sets of Proway cattle yards with all-weather B-double access.
The main homestead, on “Alpha”, occupied by the present owners, is of brick and tile construction with four bedrooms, extensive formal and informal living areas and an award-winning garden setting.
There is abundant stock water from spring-fed creeks and 180 strategically placed dams.
- PETER AUSTIN
The properties will be leased back by Upton Pastoral for 10 years (with renewal option) at an initial annual rental of $2.1 million.