sandmount farms
Sandmount Farms spans over 6,000 hectares. Image supplied.
  • The Sandmount Farms Portfolio spans 8,298 hectares
  • Vendor goFARM has aggregated the portfolio through 70 individual transactions since 2018
  • 4,000 hectares are allocated towards horticulture production

A unique horticultural development in Victoria’s Murray Valley region is to hit the market, with agribusiness-focused transaction firm LAWD expecting interest from international buyers.

The 6,298 hectares Sandmount Farms Portfolio, located 45 kilometres north of Shepparton at Katunga, is underwritten by significant volumes of water security.

Included is over 50,000 megalitres of water entitlements, of which 28,000ML is high-security water, which makes it the largest water portfolio across the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District.

goFARM has aggregated the portfolio, much of which was previously dairy holdings, through 70 individual transactions since 2018.

Overall, 4,000 hectares is suited to horticultural production with the balance towards raw crops.

This includes over 200 hectares of almonds and 70 hectares of seedless mandarins. The balance of the land is currently being utilised for irrigated and rainfed row cropping of barley, wheat, corn, canola and faba bean production.

The development is valued at over $250 million.

Danny Thomas, LAWD Senior Director, said given the current development stage which already has approvals and designs in place, the versatile portfolio would attract institutions and large corporate investors seeking an accelerated timeline.

“Sandmount Farms presents a generational opportunity to secure a large-scale portfolio, with the time, risk and cost associated with aggregating, planning and delivering an asset of this size, already handled by goFARM in the early development phases,” Mr Thomas said.

“The portfolio’s sophisticated water delivery system, positioned in a high-security water zone, above the Murray River bottleneck, the Barmah Choke, leverages a number of channels that have undergone a $2 billion Federal Government upgrade.

danny thomas
Danny Thomas of LAWD. Image supplied.

“In addition to surface water, the site has access to a regulated and well-managed groundwater resource, courtesy of the Katunga Deep Lead Aquifer.

“goFARM has done an outstanding job in bringing together the right land, water entitlements, technology and people to prepare the Sandmount Farms Portfolio for the step change in production, earnings and capital that will be achieved with an injection of new investment.”

The portfolio previously received the Australian Property Institute’s 2021 Innovation in Property Award thanks to its sustainable development. The sandy loam solis have undergone extensive soil amelioration during the transition from, dairy production to irrigated cropping.

Future-focused

liam lenaghan
Liam Lenaghan, goFARM managing director. Image supplied.

Commenting on the listing, goFARM managing director, Liam Lenaghan, said Sandmoutn Farm was due to the strategic acquisitions of assets that allowed for the creating of scalable water security that is rare in global primary production and is future-focused.

“Incumbent horticultural growing regions are increasingly facing water access and delivery issues, increasing climate-induced stress, such as heat stress and declining chill units, and labour shortages,” Mr Lenaghan said.

“Through our research we identified this region, and the properties that now sit within the Sandmount Farms Portfolio, as the best in Australia for addressing these issues and sustainably growing high-value crops now, and into the future.

“goFARM’s focus is on being the catalyst for transformation in Australian agriculture. We are the first money in and take the greatest risk position to demonstrate production and earnings potential of assets and regions with the goal to provide the confidence for others to invest.

“If we can do that, then it’s good for the region, good for the industry and good for Australia.”

The information memorandum will be released early next month, with expressions of interest closing at the end of April.

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