A line-ball tussle has emerged in the fight to claim the title of Australia's largest grain grower.
Based on the only measure available for the big players - land size - Warakirri Asset Management pips Canadian-owned Altora Ag, with another Canadian-controlled company, Lawson Grains, in third place.
Warakirri said it "owns and operates over 155,000 hectares of broadacre cropping farms".
On sheer size, this put it ahead of Altora Ag, which said it was "Australia's largest broadacre agribusiness", owning 153,361 hectares of cropping land.
Lawson Grains said it farms "over 90,000 arable hectares in some of Australia's most productive cropping districts".
However, Warakirri owned less than 10 per cent of the 155,000 hectares under management, with the "majority owned by institutional clients", according to Warakirri head of product and marketing Joe Marassa.
That meant on ownership terms, Altora Ag would be the clear leader, with Lawson Grains in second place.
Of the trio, only Warakirri provided a production estimate, saying it had "production potential in excess of 400,000 tonnes of grain per annum, representing one of the largest grain producers in Australia".
This was produced across 11 property aggregations.
"We don't go around saying we are the biggest, but we are definitely in the top three," said Warakirri's Joe Marassa.
"Plus it depends on how you measure it, whether it is on size or production."
Daybreak Cropping was created in 2016 in a joint venture between PSP and Warakirri.
By the time Daybreak Cropping was folded into Altora Ag it accounted for "a total 105,000 hectares of arable dryland cropping farmland" in NSW, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia.
Lawson Grains was sold by Macquarie Asset Management to New Forests and Canadian pension-fund manager Alberta Investment Management Corporation in 2021 for about $550 million. Its cropping operation is spread across 10 property aggregations
"While we are not one of the largest landholders in Australia, we are one of the country's biggest grain producers," the company said on its website.
The question of who is Australia's biggest grain grower has long been a vexed one, with West Australian grain baron John Nicoletti and NSW's Ron Greentree often touted as Australia's biggest growers.
However, both have recently sold down their grain holdings in search of other ventures.awsons
Mr Nicoletti, who was once WA's biggest grain grower and reputedly the nation's biggest single grain exporter, has been selling his property holdings over the past decade.
Mr Greentree, a former GrainCorp chairman, has also sold a number of his major grain-growing properties, and in recent years has turned his attention to cotton growing in northern Australia.
Don't miss our special three-part series Australian Agriculture - THE LIST, starting on Monday with our exclusive list of the nation's biggest farmers.
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