Jonathan Chancellor | 11 December 2012

US agricultural investment fund Westchester has bought Cobran Station from the Kahlbetzer family's Twynam Group

The US agricultural investment fund Westchester has bought the 17,200-hectare rice farm Cobran Station from the Twynam Group for around $18 million.

The farm near Hay in NSW, which was once the largest rice farm in the country, was developed by businessman John Elliott through the Australian Rice Holdings and the US-based Disney family investment company Shamrock Capital Advisors. Elliott bought Cobran while still chairman and chief executive of Elders IXL in the late 1980s.

The Kahlbetzer family's Twynam Group bought the property in 2002. Twynam paid $21.7 million for the then 31,219-hectare holding, keeping the higher-value irrigation land on the Murrumbidgee River while selling off the property's northern grazing section.

Most of the farm’s irrigated cropping paddocks are now used for raising cotton and sheep are also run on the property.

Westchester is a leading global agricultural asset manager, having over 25 years consolidated a $2 billion portfolio including 400 farms across the United States, Australia, South America and Europe.

It's seeking over 1 million acres across the globe as possible farmland opportunities, totalling more than $3 billion in value.

The Twynam Group sold a large rural holding earlier this year – the 35,600-hectare Collymongle at Collarenebri in northern NSW – to neighbouring farmers the Zell family for $40?million plus.

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