Tasmania’s largest farm is on the auction block

Interest in the 54,000 acre farm is thought to be high among overseas investors; price is expected to top $70 million

A massive farm extending to 54,000 acres is up for sale in Tasmania after it was put on the market by its New Zealand owner.

Rushy Lagoon is the biggest farm in Tasmania, an Australian island state south of the Australian mainland. It is owned by Alan Pye, who bought it in 1996.

Interest is thought to be high among overseas investors for the farm that incorporates the neighbouring properties of Red Hills and East Wyambie, which Pye also bought over the years.

Rushy Lagoon is home to four dairies milking 4,000 cows, and is supported by about 2,500 acres of centre pivot irrigation. It also operates 17,000 acres of arable pasture and about 17,000 acres of grazing country supporting 7,000 beef cattle and 7,000 sheep.

Pye paid $8.2 million at auction for Rushy Lagoon in November 1996, with plans to add dairies to the property.

Peter Ryan from CBRE Agribusiness, a farm advisory business for investors, said: “I think Mr Pye likely looked at the current market situation and thought it was a good time to sell, really, given he has a lot of other interests and over the course of his long and distinguished career in agriculture, he has bought and sold very well with the ebb and flow of the market.”

It is anticipated the farm will sell for more than $70 million and likely to a corporate buyer.

“Strangely enough, there’s been some New Zealand interest, who are already buyers and operators of dairy farms in Tasmania. New Zealanders have long liked Tasmania as an operation. The others that have tapped us on the shoulder are dinky di (true) Aussies,” said Ryan.

There has been a great deal of controversy generated in the past by sales of large Australian farms to overseas investors, which prompted the government to introduce new regulations.

Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison announced new regulations stating that farms worth more than $15 million must be advertised locally for 30 days before they can be sold to overseas buyers.

However, it is believed the sale of Rushy Lagoon does not fall under these regulations because the owner had decided to take it to the market ahead of the government promised new regulations.

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