ONE of New Zealand’s richest farmers, ‘spud king’ Allan Pye is selling up in Tasmania with about $65 million tipped for Rushy Lagoon, his 20,000 hectare dairy, beef and cattle property on the north-eastern tip of Tasmania.
Mr Pye, whose fortune was estimated at $NZ350m ($325m) in 2016 according to a National Business Review list, acquired Rushy Lagoon 21 years ago and has expanded the holding, one of the largest farms in Tasmania, through the acquisition of the adjoining properties Red Hills and East Wyambie.
Rushy Lagoon has four dairies milking 4000 cows, supported by 1000ha of centre pivot irrigation, 7000ha of arable pasture and 7000ha of grazing country, to run 7000 head of cattle and 7000 sheep.
Mr Pye paid $8.2m at auction for Rushy Lagoon in November, 1996 when he bought it from Bert Farquar, with plans to add dairies to the property.
“The prices are good and it’s a good cash flow,” Mr Pye said of his plans at the time.
Alongside Rushy Lagoon, the Pye family owns Zarella Fresh, a major South Australian-based supplier of potatoes, carrots and onions run by Mr Pye’s son Mark.
In 2015, Mr Pye put his separate Coonawarra, South Australia, potato and onion investments, covering more than 900ha of horticultural and cropping land and business assets, up for sale.
CBRE Agribusiness agents Danny Thomas, Peter Ryan and Jarrod Ryan have been appointed to oversee the sale of Rushy Lagoon via an international expression of interest campaign.
Mr Thomas said the large scale and well-developed irrigated asset, in a premium farming area such as north eastern Tasmania, would generate strong buyer interest from domestic and international investors alike.
“The vendor has strategically acquired and developed a first-class asset of international significance,” Mr Thomas said.
“Rushy Lagoon will reward future investment in irrigation and pasture development to enable significant intensification with a huge uplift in carrying capacity.”
Rushy Lagoon is being offered for sale on a walk-in, walk-out basis, inclusive of land, structures, water licences, equipment and planted crops.
It is available in one line or as separate assets.
The listing of Rushy Lagoon follows the November 2017 listing of a $30m portfolio of four large-scale dairy farms in north west Tasmania brought together by British dairy farmer Matthew Gunningham and his wife, Pippa.