A rural property in central Queensland that has lifted in value by 261 per cent in two years has recently come onto the market. While the 1059 hectare property, Lee Farm Grazing, was purchased by Tony Newton for $2.86 million around two years ago, it has now been listed for offers over $10.5 million. Mr Newton is the former owner of 7278h property Greenlake Station in Rossmoya (35km from Yeppoon), which he and his family owned for around a decade. Greenlake Station sold a few years ago through private sale, with an asking price of $20 million. At the time Mr Newton did not want to purchase another property, instead wanting to focus on the family's food manufacturing business, Keppel Brand, which value-adds to meat and seafood products. But after selling Greenlake, agents introduced him to Lee Farm Grazing, located near Bushley, around 20 minutes from the Gracemere saleyards. He was sold after just one look. "We've got it nearly cleaned up now, but the idea was just to buy it, develop it, and sell it," he said. A big part of Lee Farm's price increase has come from extensive weed control and pasture improvement. When Mr Newton purchased the property, its pastures were mostly hidden under dense lantana and rubber vine. In addition to pasture improvement works, the four bedroom house has been renovated, a new shed has been put on, new water tanks and more bores installed, and a shed built. The sale would also include machinery purchased for the pasture improvement works as well as 240 head of cattle, and any other existing infrastructure, such as a two bedroom worker's cottage near the house and two sets of yards. The property has only been on the market for about a month, with some enquiries from potential buyers, but nothing concrete yet. Weed control and pasture improvement at Lee Farm Mr Newton said he'd spent around $1 million on machinery to improve the property's grazing land. Most of the property had been finished, except for around 202 hectares that had been left following months of dry weather, in the case additional feed was needed for cattle. Mr Newton said he planned to continue making improvements until the property sold. Weed control was largely carried out using a D6 CAT dozer, with both a cutter bar and an 18-foot (5.5m) stick rake attachment. Mr Newton said this technique was highly effective as it tore up roots that were not visible to the naked eye, and prevented them from regrowing. After the cutter-bar, the stick rake was used to run back over it before it was levelled out. Mr Newton said the process made the ground easier to drive back over when he had the seeder on the ute. "It was the best thing we ever did because it tears the roots and breaks up any rubbish that's in the ground." Once the vines were uprooted, they were pushed into a pile and burned. Mr Newton also purchased a Kubota SSV75 Skid Steer Loader and several implements for various tasks. One of his favourite attachments for the machine was a post puller which could be used to pull out vines and shrubs. He used it mainly to pull rubber vine away from trees. He was first introduced to the tool by a former neighbour who'd seen it used in the US and known the tool under the name "the terminator". "I finished up buying two of them, they're just unbelievable," he said. Pastures had been re-seeded with a seven seed mixture, including legume species. Mr Newton also tried to keep as many healthy trees as possible to shade cattle during hot weather. That was the reason he decided not to use widespread applications of graslan herbicide. He has also been working on killing and removing cacti, a difficult task due to the risk of spreading it further. Despite cacti grub infecting most of the cacti plants, Mr Newton said the damage done was not enough to kill it and so he had been poisoning the plant instead. Mr Newton said the work he had done on the property had lifted its carrying capacity from around 250 to 500 head, and said if he wasn't planning to sell, he would have increased his own numbers. He buys in Brahman cross cattle as he thought they handled the drier conditions better than other breeds. He has not turned off much cattle in the time he's been working on the property, only selling a few cows into the meatworks in Rockhampton. He has been splitting up some mobs of heifers into different areas of the property to reduce grazing pressure on new grass shoots. While the Newton family bred their own herds at Greenlake, running around 3,500 head at a time, Mr Newton said he was not interested in breeding at Lee Farm as his intention for the property was always just to tidy it up and increase its value. For water points, Mr Newton has been using a cup and saucer system water tank system, which he first used at Greenlake. The tanks were connected to a nearby bore and refilled automatically. "They're only small but they're a lot cheaper to put in that a big tank up the hill, then you'd have to put in a big cement trough." He said while neighbours in the area said the average rainfall over the last five years or so was around half of where the yearly average usually was, around 350mm down from 600mm, he considered it to have been fairly "decent" during the time he owned the property. Mr Newton said he was "reluctant" to sell, but admitted the project was taking him away from investing time and energy into the family's growing food manufacturing business. He runs the business with his wife Carmel, their daughter Kelly, and her husband Mark Davie, who are now company directors. The business currently employs around 25 to 30 staff members, with a yearly turnover of around $20 million. Most of the raw product comes from Victoria, where they buy in around 32,000kg of meat per week. In 2022 the family purchased an unfinished pineapple processing facility on Pineapple Drive in Yeppoon at an on-site liquidation auction for $4.6 million. Mr Newton said plans had been drawn up to convert the property into a manufacturing facility, but estimated it would cost around $15 million to get it up and running. "The business is growing all the time and it's going to get to the stage where the old factory just won't be big enough, " Mr Newton said. "I think once we start to move into the new factory we'll have them both running."