Norman Farming properties expected to fetch $100m

Norman Farming properties expected to fetch $100m


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One of Australia's largest irrigated and dryland cropping operations is for sale.

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One of Australia's largest irrigated and dryland cropping operations near Goondiwindi in southern Queensland has been offered for sale with expectations for well over $100 million.

Owned and operated by Norman Farming, the 18,028 hectare "Kalanga" and "Mobandilla" aggregations, are located in the highly renowned Border Rivers region.

The properties have historically grown about 40,000 bales of cotton each year, consistently yielding in excess of 12 bales per hectare, which is well above the industry standard.

... the operations have since been expanded through further acquisitions so they now include about 5000ha of highly developed flood irrigation country.

The farms have a huge water entitlement with a maximum volumetric limit of 71,170 megalitres as well as on-farm water storages.

Norman Farming was the Australian Cotton Grower of the Year in 2010.

"We have been looking to sell for some time," John Norman said. "The recent sale process of the Sustainable Agriculture Fund's farms and the general talk about where farmland values are have encouraged us," he said.

"We think this is the right time to be selling."

The Norman family acquired “Kalanga” in 1981, and the operations have since been expanded through further acquisitions so they now include about 5000ha of highly developed flood irrigation country.

"It was hard to tell my son that we are selling because I want him to become a seventh generation farmer, but we are not stopping farming. We will look for something new to farm once a sale is complete," Mr Norman said.

CBRE Agribusiness regional director, Danny Thomas, and senior director, Duncan McCulloch, have been appointed to oversee the sale via an international expressions of interest campaign.

"No expense has been spared in the development of the aggregations, which has significantly increased their productivity through expansion of land area and redevelopment of irrigation fields as well as the introduction of bankless channel irrigation and efficient water management," Mr Thomas said.

While there have been some controversies about the water capture by farmers in the area, the Border Rivers region has seen plenty of efficiency gains in water capture and storage.

On and off-farm water schemes funded by the Commonwealth government have delivered about one-third of all the water recovered, or some 700,000 megalitres. The Healthy Headwaters program has delivered an increased average environmental water flow in the system by 12,000 megalitres a year.

The Norman properties are being offered for sale on a walk in-walk out basis, inclusive of land, water licences, plant and equipment and crops.

Australian Financial Review

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