Row of almond trees in an orchard in Australia

Warakirri Asset Management’s Diversified Agriculture Fund has reached approximately A$117 million ($78 million; €71 million) in assets under management with its sixth investment, the purchase of an almond orchard in north-west Victoria, Australia.

The A$32 million off-market deal settled in April 2023 and is the fund’s first exposure to nuts. The Mondall orchard comes into the DAF portfolio under a 10-year initial lease term with one of Australia’s fastest-growing almond growers, Bright Light Agribusiness – a continuation of the fund’s strategy of partnering with operating tenants for the assets it acquires.

The orchard covers more than 350ha of planted land on the banks of the Murray River in the Sunraysia region, close to Mildura.

Portfolio manager Steve Jarrott told Agri Investor that the deal further diversifies the portfolio of the DAF, adding to its exposures in other sectors and geographies. The acquisition sees Warakirri surpassing its initial target for the fund, with Jarrott adding that there was further pipeline and interest from investors that would see the open-end vehicle continue to grow on its way to an ultimate target of around A$300 million, with potential to grow beyond that as well.

The almond purchase is the fund’s sixth investment, adding to a portfolio that includes the Chromy Estate vineyard and winery in Tasmania, a livestock feed mill and commodity storage facility in Victoria and three foundation assets bought in late 2020.

The foundation assets are made up of a soft-leaf vegetable operation in Victoria and Queensland that is leased to Dicky Bill Australia, a citrus asset in Western Australia leased to Moora Citrus Group and a berry asset in Western Australia leased to Australian Securities Exchange-listed giant Costa Group.

The fund targets a total portfolio-level IRR of 7-11 percent. According to the most recent portfolio update to the end of March 2023, the DAF had provided a total return since inception of 6.87 percent. It provided a total return of 10.94 percent, comprising 5.54 percent capital return and 5.41 percent distribution return, for the financial year ended June 30, 2022. Over the previous 12 months to end March 2023, the total return was 7.90 percent.


The almond acquisition accounts for 27 percent of the portfolio, the same amount allocated to viticulture via the Chromy Estate deal. Soft-leaf vegetables are the next-largest portion at 20 percent, followed by agri-infrastructure at 15 percent and fruit and citrus at 11 percent.

In the long term, the fund’s asset allocation parameters allow it to invest up to a maximum of 40 percent in fruit, 40 percent in nuts, 30 percent in vineyards and viticulture, up to 30 percent in intensive livestock (poultry), up to 20 percent in agri-infrastructure and up to 30 percent in water entitlements. This will apply once the fund reaches a steady state at around the A$300 million mark.

Warakirri launched the Diversified Agriculture Fund in 2019, appointing Steve Jarrott as portfolio manager from his previous role as Australian portfolio manager at what was then Westchester, the agricultural investment arm of the TIAA-Nuveen Group (since rebranded as Nuveen Natural Capital).