A timely test of market demand for well-set-up mixed farming country on the wheat belt’s western fringes will occur later this month with the auction of “Bombah” at Tottenham.
“Bombah” is the 2452 hectare (6060ac) property of Peter and Fran Rowe, who are only its second owners (after the Howe family) in 88 years. They are selling now to retire from farming.
Fran Rowe is known widely throughout the bush for her long involvement in rural counselling, which began in the troubled early 1980s with the establishment of the Lachlan Advisory Group.
That local initiative became the model for the present-day Rural Financial Counselling Service, a government-funded national network of counsellors providing specialised assistance to farmers in need.
Although retiring from the farm, Mrs Rowe will not be relinquishing her counselling business, which she will continue to operate at the couple’s yet-to-be-determined new location.
The Rowes have listed the property with Richard Gemmell of Elders Dubbo and it will go to auction on March 24 with expectations of a sale being achieved on the day.
Situated 50 kilometres west of Tottenham and 96km from Nyngan, “Bombah” is a well-developed mixed farming property with a sound management history, proven productivity and quality improvements.
The timing of the sale means an incoming owner will be able to plan for a 2017 crop, as access to designated paddocks will be granted to a successful buyer upon exchange of contracts.
When the Rowes bought the property in 1984, “Bombah” was relatively unimproved, but it has been progressively cleared to the point where just over 80 per cent of the total area is now arable.
Cultivation country is managed on a six-year rotation basis for winter cropping followed by a three-year improved pasture phase, in conjunction with a Merino flock based on 1200 to 1300 ewes.
The level to gently undulating country of predominantly red loam soils is ideally suited to cropping and the harvest just completed saw paddocks of wheat and oats yielding crops of 3.75 tonnes/ha.
Original timber consisted of bimble box, belah, rosewood, wilga, cypress and kurrajong, of which shade and shelter trees have been retained, along with trees flanking the watercourses.
Average rainfall is about 440mm and the property is well watered by some 17 dams (to which flows are directed in places by contour banks) plus seasonal creeks.
The property is fenced into 14 main paddocks plus holding paddocks, serviced by a central laneway, and is described as being in mainly good stock-proof condition, having been renewed as needed.
Well-maintained improvements include two large Statewide machinery sheds, one incorporating concrete-floored workshop, 900 tonnes of silo storage and a three-stand shearing shed with steel yards.
A comfortable weatherboard homestead of some 56 squares, set in established gardens with above-ground pool, dates from the 1930s and subsequent renovations have retained original features.