Ten of the world's largest farms revealed (2024)

Ten of the world's largest farms revealed (1)

FARM GOLIATHS: Our list shows a wide range of agriculture is used across the world's biggest farms with visitors drawn to their size and outdoor pursuits.

Our list of the top 10 biggest farms and ranches in the world.

In terms of land size alone, two monster dairy farms in China take out the prize for number one and two on the list.

But never fear, Australia is well represented with numbers three, four and five biggest - thanks to our famous outback cattle stations.

In fact, Australia could easily take out the rest of the top 10 in terms of land size but we thought it better to include some of the other bigger properties around the world.

Some of them are no longer as big on agriculture as they might have been in the past, converted to eco-tourism or nature reserves but they still are the behemoths of their country.

The top 10.

Ten of the world's largest farms revealed (2)

THE BIGGEST: China's Mudanjiang City Dairy Farm easily takes out the title as the biggest farm in the world.

1- Mudanjiang City Dairy Farm, Heilongjiang, China.

No topping this Portugal-sized farm built in 2015 to give China some domestic protection from dairy export bans and then some.

This enormous dairy complex at Heilongjiang encompasses 9,105,427 million hectares 22,500,000 acres and includes 100,000 dairy cattle.

This dairy complex is located in Heilongjiang, China's northern province bordering Russia, who both share its ownership.

It reputedly produces 800 million litres of milk each year.

2 - Modern Dairy, Anhui, China.

Ten of the world's largest farms revealed (3)

China's Modern Dairy is another vast operation which once held the "biggest farm" title.

The Modern Dairy is located in Anhui which is to the west of Shanghai and comes in about half the size of the newer Mudanjiang farm.

When built a decade ago it then held the title as the world's largest farm at 4,451,542ha (11 million ac)

Today the Modern Dairy incorporates 15 industrial farms with a major shareholding from China's New Hope Dairy.

A US investment company has had a long involvement with the financing of the dairy.

The original farm is said to be running 40,000 cows and the overall holding is reputed to be the largest milk producer in China.

3 - Anna Creek, SA.

The goliath among all cattle stations in terms of land holdings is Australia's own Anna Creek in South Australia.

It had its origins as a sheep grazing operation and spreads across a breath-taking 2.36 million ha (5.9 million ac).

A former Kidman property and now owned by the Williams Cattle Company, Anna Creek takes in 15,746 square kilometres making it larger than Israel.

It takes in a lot of dry country in the north of the state and is located 160km east of Coober Pedy and borders Lake Eyre.

Anna Creek has a blend of sand hill country with swamps and large areas of gibber tableland.

Today it runs less than 10,000 head of cattle and gets by with an annual rainfall of 140mm

4 - Clifton Hills, SA

Ten of the world's largest farms revealed (5)

Clifton Hills is a huge organic cattle station in the Channel Country which extends to the north-east of South Australia.

Owned by Crown Point Pastoral Company, a partnership of the Costello and Oldfield families, Clifton Hills is the largest holding on the famous Birdsville Track in the far north of South Australia.

Clifton Hills takes in 16,500 square kilometres or 1.65 million ha (4.2 million ac) located in north east South Australia.

The station typically runs 14,000 head of cattle but can run up to can run up to 22,000 head.

Average rainfall across the property is a low 125mm annually but the property has access to the Cooper Creek, Diamantina River and Goyder Lagoon.

5 - Alexandria Station, NT.

Ten of the world's largest farms revealed (6)

The wide open spaces of the Barkly Tableland at Alexandria Station in the NT.

The Northern Territory's biggest cattle station sprawls across the open plains, floodplain and wooded sandhills on the Barkly Tableland and takes in 16,116 square kilometres.

Welcome to Alexandria Station near the Queensland border on 1.6 million ha (3,982,350ac).

The station runs about 80,000 cattle,

It is 173km north west of Camooweal in Qld and 273km east of Tennant Creek.

Owned by the North Australian Pastoral Company, majority held by Queensland Government, it also harvests about 10,000 bales of hay in a good season.

6 - King Ranch, Texas.

Ten of the world's largest farms revealed (7)

The grand home and now visitor's centre at King Ranch.

The biggest holding in the US where everything is famously bigger anyway, Texas.

The 333,866ha (825,000ac) holding can run about 20,000 head at any one time

Famous as the home of the Santa Gertrudis and Santa Cruz cattle breeds, the King Ranch is southern Texas was designated a national historic landmark in 1961.

The ranch is also involved in sugar, rice and corn production and is the largest juice orange producer in the US.

Remarkably, the ranch has been owned by members of the King family for six generations.

7 - Vermejo, New Mexico.

Ten of the world's largest farms revealed (8)

What the tourists come to see, stunning Vermejo in the north of New Mexico.

US cable television pioneer and billionaire Ted Turner owns many ranches in the US and South America including this 239,169 ha (591,000ac) property in the north of the state.

Again a lot of the focus is on eco-tourism with fly fishing, bushwalking and outdoors pursuits with a range of accommodation.

Verfmejo has 19 fishable lakes and stunning scenery - winter and summer.

8 - Waggoner, Texas.

Ten of the world's largest farms revealed (9)

Waggoner station says it is the biggest station in the US under one fence.

Located in the north of the state near Vernon, Waggoner 210,649ha (520,527ac) has history in cattle, horse breeding and crops as well as oil deposits.

It bills itself as the largest ranch in the US under one fence.

The property was sold to Kroenke Ranches in 2016.

Kroenke also has property in Montana, Arizona, Wyoming and British Columbia.

9 - Dadanawa Ranch, Guyana, South America.

Ten of the world's largest farms revealed (10)

Agriculture is combined with eco-tourism on Dadanawa Ranch.

Still running 6000 cattle, this Guyana spread is still the home of the fabled bare-footed vaqueros and takes in 445,154ha (1.1m acres).

Said to be one of the more isolated ranches in the world, it incorporates forest, scrub and savanna with a thriving eco-tourism business.

The property is owned by a mix of investors and family members.

10 - Ladder Ranch, New Mexico.

Ten of the world's largest farms revealed (11)

Bison are run as a farming venture on Ladder Ranch.

Another of the many Ted Turner ranches is this 63,309ha (156,439 acre) ranch in south central New Mexico, famous for its wildlife.The property runs cattle and bison and is popular for its eco-tours.

Honourable mentions also to Canada's big ranches at Alexis Creek and Douglas Lake incorporate lots of freehold but massive grazing rights on Crown land.

Douglas Lake currently runs cattle on 109,669ha (271,000ac) with an extra million acres of public land and is owned by billionaire Stan Kroenke.

Ten of the world's largest farms revealed (12)

Cattle mustering on the enormous Ranch Lake in Canada's British Columbia.

Then there is Olam Farms in Nigeria.

Ok technically not the biggest in global terms but one of the biggest in Africa which deserves to be represented if even by a Singapore-headquartered corporate farmer.

Olam, which has interests all around the world including Australia, helped create the Nasarawa 9000ha (22,239ac) holding.

This investment was in rice growing and milling.

The Tswalu Kalahari ranch in South Africa is often included in other top 10 biggest farm lists but it is more a 200,000 ac private game reserve.

It was formed from the purchase of 35 farms and has been supported by billionaire Nicky Oppenheimer.

  • With any attempt at creating a list like this there have been choices made in ranking, not all are biggest and carrying the most stock still, and information on size of land holdings is sketchy from some countries.

MORE READING:

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Ten of the world's largest farms revealed (13)

Chris McLennan

National Rural Property Writer

ACM national rural property writer based in Bacchus Marsh, Victoria. Career journalist. Multi award winner.

ACM national rural property writer based in Bacchus Marsh, Victoria. Career journalist. Multi award winner.

Ten of the world's largest farms revealed (2024)
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