Rural funds update guidelines after livestock, crops and macadamia invasion

To complement and enhance the marketing of these developments, while generating immediate revenue, the trust paid $63.1 million for 475 hectares of mature macadamia orchards acquired from family-owned Costi Farms. RFF will also acquire shares in Brisbane-based macadamia nut processor and marketer Marquis Macadamias.

The mature macadamia orchards – Beerwah on the Sunshine Coast and Bauple near Fraser Island – will be operated by RFM in the short term while it carries out upgrades before being leased out.

Macadamia orchards make up just 2% of RFF’s $1.1 billion diversified portfolio, which is heavily weighted to breeding stations and almond orchards.

Along with these macadamia acquisitions, RFF has bolstered its livestock and crop stations, paying $13.8 million for The Pocket, a 1,917-hectare livestock and crop property west of Rockhampton offered for sale in part of the 21,900 hectare THF portfolio being unloaded by a European-based family office and marketed by Ben Craw of Oxley Partners.

RFF has also acquired a 4,130 hectare agricultural property called Baamba Plains north of Rolleston. These acquisitions included 20,733 ML of underutilized water rights.

RFM will also initially operate these livestock and cultivation properties on behalf of RFF, “allowing to initiate productivity developments before looking for tenants”.

“RFM plans to use excess water rights to improve the productivity of the properties. Productivity developments include expanding irrigated cropping areas and increasing livestock carrying capacity through improved pasture,” the trust manager said.

Shares of RFF ended Monday up 6¢, or 2%, at $2.88, giving it a market capitalization of $1.07 billion.

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