WHEN Sydney-based businessman Scott Harrod decided in 2003 to forgo a successful city career and become a full-time farmer and grazier, he looked at more than 100 properties before settling on “Mulela”.
The Pine Ridge mixed farming property centrally located on the rich Liverpool Plains appealed to him for its well balanced mix of country, which lent itself to a range of enterprise options, and also for its history of conservative management.
Comprising 1136 hectares (2810ac), the property had previously been held since 1927 by the McKenzie family, originally as part of “Mooki Springs” and later – following successive family subdivisions – as a portion of “Fintona”.
But now, although the property has lived up to its current owner’s expectations, it is to be sold – along with Mr Harrod’s other assets - to enable him and his wife Florence to devote all their resources and energies to what they see as a higher priority cause.
The couple are the instigators of the so-called Sam Project, a travelling roadshow (named after their mobile home, “Sam”) which seeks to raise public awareness and understanding of mental health problems, especially in rural and regional Australia.
As Mr Harrod explains, it’s little appreciated that one in five Australians experiences mental illness each year, yet only about one-third of those affected typically seek help – a situation he hopes to redress by raising the community profile of the problem.
The Harrods’ life-changing decision means “Mulela” must now be sold, and it has been listed for April 14 auction in Scone with Landmark Harcourts’ Gavin Beard at Scone and Scott Simshauser at Tamworth.
Situated about 40 kilometres west of Quirindi, “Mulela” is a property of mostly heavy black to red basalt soils, the country rising from fertile flats to gentle slopes of arable country and grazing hills topped with rich plateaus.
Timbered originally by yellow box, apple box, white box and kurrajong, the property is cleared except for scattered shade trees and presents a park-like appearance
Of the total area, about 520ha is arable of which more than 400ha has been farmed, leaving scope for further development of cultivation if desired. Under present management, about 400ha is cropped each year in winter/summer crop rotations.
Although in earlier times the property was stocked with sheep, it has been an all-cattle operation for the present owner, either as a breeding enterprise based on 280 cows and followers, or the backgrounding of 500 or more head of bought-in weaners.
In either case, the steer and surplus heifer progeny or the grown-out calves are usually sold as 500kg feeders to the nearby Caroona Feedlot.
The property’s stock watering system involves bore water being pumped to header tanks from which it gravitates to paddock troughs, resulting in each paddock having access to at least one 2000-litre trough. Average rainfall is 700mm.
A neighbouring property was recently reported sold for about $1250/ac ($3125/ha), indicating a likely bidding range around the mid-$3 million mark for “Mulela”.