Cashed-up carbon farming fund lifts portfolio to 106,000ha

Weonia and Sunset Valley sold after nearly a century of ownership by the Clemesha family. 
Australian Financial Review | 15 October 2023

Cashed-up carbon farming fund lifts portfolio to 106,000ha

by Larry Schlesinger
Pastoral Partners Australia, a carbon farming and sustainable grazing fund owned by New Zealand infrastructure investor Morrison & Co, has lifted the size of its portfolio to over 100,000 hectares after buying a historical aggregation in western Queensland.
PPA chief executive Deion Campbell said the acquisition of 25,650ha Weonia and Sunset Valley, 20 kilometres west of Bollon on the Balonne Highway, was the platform’s largest acquisition and another high-quality property well suited for carbon sequestration projects, agistment and long-term grazing leases.
“We now have seven properties all within 200 kilometres of each other in the St George area,” Mr Campbell said.
“We’re now at 106,000 hectares and will look to grow further. We have more than enough equity and debt support to keep going into next year.”
The latest deal takes the value of its portfolio to close to $100 million.
PPA invests in pastoral land and then agists or leases it to local farmers to use for sustainable grazing of their herds as part of a regenerative farming system. Generating carbon offsets is another big part of the platform.
“We’ll mainly do short-term agistment with select parties while we bed down operational requirements for growing carbon,” Mr Campbell explained. “Once that’s sorted we’ll look to do longer-term leasing with graziers. The fund won’t own animals.”
While pricing remains confidential, it is understood Weonia and Sunset Valley sold on similar metrics to the $17.1 million Pastoral Partners paid last month for another 14,000-hectare property near Bollon. That would suggest a price of about $30 million for Weonia and Sunset Valley.
Nick Dunsdon and Andrew Wardle of Nutrien Harcourts GDL brokered the sale. Mr Dunsdon said he had received several offers from local farming families, adding that there was still strong demand for properties with feed on them.
The grazing aggregation was sold after almost 100 years of ownership by the Clemesha family, who ran about 2000 cows across open buffel grass paddocks.
The property receives 450 millimetres of annual average rainfall, while also receiving water from two artesian bores. Included in the sale were two homes, two cottages and four sheds.
While Pastoral Partners is bulking up, Western Australia’s biggest grain grower, John Nicoletti, is downsizing his portfolio after putting the Frog Loch Aggregation in the state’s eastern Wheatbelt on the market with price hopes of more than $40 million.
Spanning more than 41,000 hectares, Frog Loch is made up of seven hubs in the Kwinana Port zone, about 105 kilometres east of Merriden and 340 kilometres from Perth. The aggregation grows wheat, oats and barley. A herd of about 10,000 ewes as well as plant and equipment are also up for sale through Danny Thomas, Simon Wilkinson and William Morris of LAWD.
Back in southern Queensland, the Roma Feedlot and Spelling Yards have hit the market with price expectations of between $25 million and $30 million.
Sitting 40 kilometres south-west of Roma, the roughly 2446-hectare aggregation is held across three freehold titles by Ben Cameron, part of a fourth-generation farming family.
Selling agents Geoff Warriner, Chris Holgar and Clayton Smith from JLL expect to see strong competition for the offering from existing feedlot operators as well as beef producers seeking further diversity and a drought mitigation strategy.
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