The Northern Territory’s Flying Fox Station has been bought for $8.9 million by an Australian buyer who is potentially interested in developing the property for cotton.
The 89,500-hectare property sits on the Roper River, 540 kilometres south-east of Darwin, and was sold with about 6,500 head of Brahman cattle.
Documents obtained from the NT Land Titles Office show the cattle station was bought by Kupang Agricultural Management, based in New South Wales.
Andrew Gray from Territory Rural, who sold the property alongside CBRE Brisbane, said Flying Fox Station had soil well suited to cropping, which had interested the buyers.
“Flying Fox includes large areas of black soil which I am advised is very similar, if not the same, as the black soil plains found in the Ord Valley,” he said.
“The [previous] owners of Flying Fox had undertaken a range of development assessments on that property to trap overland water, not the rivers, just the normal flow of rivers across the land, and flood irrigate the black soil.
“The purchaser has seized upon that opportunity and will hopefully see some development in that space in regards to flood irrigation.”
Potential for cotton development
Mr Gray said the new owners would initially be looking to sow improved pastures to allow the property to run more cattle.
“At this stage [development] will be slow and steady. There are areas cleared already and there are assessments being done on the soil and what type of pasture could be grown,” he said.
“The black soil is lightly timbered with coolibah trees, so it won’t take much to even leave the trees there and sow in between, but that’s up to the new owners.”
Flying Fox Station had a number of parties interested in its cropping potential, including a large Ethiopian cotton grower.
With the harvest of the Ord Valley’s first commercial cotton crop since the 1970s, Mr Gray said there was “a real sense that cotton could be a massive industry for the Northern Territory”.
“With the genetically modified cotton varieties we have these days, we don’t have the fear of chemical over-sprays and the massive amount of difficulties that New South Wales and Queensland cotton growers have faced,” he said.
“But we need a gin to gin the cotton, and while there isn’t one in the Northern Territory, the likelihood of it happening today is probably greater than it was four or five years ago.”