CHINESE group Orient Agriculture has emerged as the buyer of south-west Queensland cropping property Undabri, north of Goondiwindi, Queensland, for $30 million, in a further sign of China's growing appetite for Australian farmland.
Orient beat separate Chinese group Union Agriculture, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hebei-based Jiahe Brewery, to the 11,935-hectare mixed farming operation.
The little known Shanghai-based group also beat off former PrimeAg Australia chief executive Peter Corish to the assets.
Mr Corish had started sounding out investors for a new $50 million rural land venture, which would include Undabri as the main seed property.
Undabri fell into the hands of corporate restructuring specialists Deloitte following an appointment by the property's financier National Australia Bank in April last year.
Undabri was formerly owned by real estate and agricultural land identity Craig Doyle.
Elders Queensland state managers John Burke and Clayton Smith were marketing Undabri, but declined to comment on the sale.
Land acquisition activity
There has been a hive of activity in the area following the purchase of neighbouring property Mobandilla by one of Australia's most well regarded young farmers, John Norman.
Mr Norman has since invested capital in Mobandilla and turned the business around to the point where he now has a full crop of export quality Durum wheat.
Mr Norman welcomed the news of the Chinese investment in the neighbouring Undabri.
"I am happy that they have invested in Australia and believe in what we believe in, which is safe, sustainable food and fibre production," Mr Norman said.
Following the investment in Mobandilla, Mr Norman is now looking to divest his neighbouring property Kingumbilla through Ray White Rural's Bruce Gunning and Mark Harrison.
The 841-hectare black soil holding with access to the MacIntyre and Weir Rivers, has a licence to store more than 3000 megalitres.
It also has potential for a feedlot with capacity for 30,000 head of cattle.