More than $100 million of premiere horticulture assets placed on the market

TWO superbly located, institutional-scale Queensland horticulture aggregations, Gemfields Portfolio (4,386 ha) and Elliot River Horticulture Portfolio (667 ha), have been listed for sale through Land, Agribusiness, Water and Development (LAWD).


Expected to achieve more than $100 million combined, Gemfields is an established macadamia, cotton and grazing enterprise near Emerald in the Central Highlands, while Elliot River is positioned in the sought after Coastal Burnett region and produces a variety of vegetables. 


LAWD Senior Director, Danny Thomas, said the properties are being offered by two separate multi-generational farming families reorganising their business operations who are motivated by institutional investor demand for A-Grade horticulture ventures.


“Over the past 15 years, there has been a rapid institutionalisation of the horticulture sector,” Mr Thomas said.


“Like the Gemfields and Elliot River vendors, there have been a number of second and third generation families who have built extraordinary, high-value cropping assets which are currently in strong demand from institutional-grade buyers and farming families looking to expand operations.”


Mr Thomas said a key feature of both portfolios was their access to substantial and secure water.


“Water security underwrites the production systems of both aggregations and their current operations, and the water associated with these assets is considerably more stable and consistent than horticulture assets found further south,” he said. 


Gemfields is supported by 6,090ML of Medium Priority water allocations delivered through a high-quality irrigation network. Elliot River’s irrigation water is sourced from 296ML unsupplemented water allocations and 70ML of irrigation water licences.


Each aggregation is being offered for sale as a whole or as separate assets. Interest is expected to be strong as opportunities rarely arise to acquire landholdings of this scale and with such high levels of water security in premiere horticulture regions.


Expressions of interest close at 4pm (AEST) Thursday, 4 August 2022. 


Gemfields Portfolio


The Gemfields Portfolio is positioned 10 km from Emerald in Queensland’s Central Highlands region and consists of two non-contiguous landholdings, Gemfields (779ha) and Cypress and Bauhinias (3,607ha). 


The Central Highlands experiences a dry semi-arid climate and records an average rainfall of 543ml, positioning the portfolio in an ideal location for irrigated cropping, as well as horticulture, dryland cropping and livestock operations.


The Gemfields Portfolio is currently utilised as a 455 ha macadamia orchard and irrigated cropping enterprise, primarily focused on producing high-yielding crops including cotton, sorghum and cereals (wheat), as well as portions of dryland cropping. Cypress and Bauhinias also features a macadamia plant nursery producing approximately 150,000 trees per annum with a capacity of 442,000 (based on 5.5 pots per pallet). More than 900 ha are suitable for further tree crop development, with the property also highly suited to cattle grazing. 


“There is the potential to transform the undeveloped land to permanent horticulture trees, macadamia, pecan, citrus or table grapes, or cotton production,” Mr Thomas said.


“The future owner could also expand the portfolio’s flood irrigation area, for the purpose of growing cotton.”


The properties’ water infrastructure has undergone extensive development with 728ha of laser-levelled flood irrigation and 125ha of centre pivot irrigation. The first-class system is fed by the main river system, under the Nogoa Mackenzie Supply Scheme, that supplies the region and provides an abundance of water from Lake Maraboon/Fairbairn Dam, the second largest artificial lake in Queensland.


Soil types vary across the Portfolio and include soft black/grey cracking clays with lighter red low ridges, red brown clay loams to heavy grey-brown clays, black soils, forest red duplex soils and darker scrub soils.


Well-known for its agricultural production, the Gemfields is close to commodity processing facilities including cotton gins and grain receival sites at nearby Emerald. The portfolio has access to walnut and pecan processing sites at Toowoomba and Macadamia processing in Bundaberg. 


The combined portfolio is expected to sell for around $70 million and is available in one line or as two separate contiguous assets. Given the scale of the enterprise, a comprehensive suite of plant and equipment can be made available to prospective purchasers upon request. 


Elliot River Horticulture Portfolio


Situated in the heart of one of Australia’s most outstanding horticulture production zones, the Coastal Burnett region of Queensland, the Elliot River Horticulture Portfolio spans 667 ha, comprising Carina Downs (298.50ha) Gillen Greek, (318ha) and Logging Creek (49.86ha).


The property is currently an institutional-scale irrigated vegetable enterprise, focused on the production of capsicum, tomatoes, and zucchinis.


The portfolio is expected to achieve more than $30 million as a whole or may be sold on a property-specific basis. The vendors are open to sale on a vacant possession basis or subject to a long-term triple net lease, with the proposed rent in the order of approximately $2.55 million per annum. 


Supported by quality soil types, including free draining grey to brown sandy loams, with some areas transitioning toward a self-mulching black loam, Mr Thomas said the aggregation offers extensive production opportunity.


“These properties enjoy a broad growing window allowing the operators to fill supermarket shelves when there is a gap in the market to achieve premium prices,” he said.


“The land is also capable of being double or triple-cropped making it a highly productive horticulture opportunity.”


Elliot River has been developed to include an extensive irrigation network and water storage fed by groundwater and supplemented and unsupplemented allocations. It also benefits from substantial water entitlements.


For more information contact LAWD Senior Director, Danny Thomas, +61 439 349 977 or LAWD Director Simon Cudmore, +61 433 160 413.