Renowned field crop breeding-ground

Renowned field crop breeding-ground


For only the second time since early settlement, the South West Slopes property, “Birralee” at Cootamundra, is being offered for sale by tender to wind up a family partnership.


For only the second time since early settlement, the South West Slopes property, “Birralee” at Cootamundra, is being offered for sale by tender to wind up a family partnership.

“Birralee” is the 485 hectare (1197ac) property of well-known grains industry advocate, former agri-politician and Nuffield Scholar, Hugh Roberts, whose family has owned it since 1960.

It was bought – originally by a partnership of Hugh, his late brother Andy and their father, Milton “Nug” Roberts - as part of a subdivision of “Frampton Estate”, an original Cootamundra property held by the McClintock family since 1869.

Under the Roberts family’s ownership, “Birralee” became widely known as the base of a successful registered seed business, specialising in triticale and legume varieties.

Mr Roberts himself became well known within the farm sector for his long involvement with NSW Farmers Association and other industry bodies, particularly as a strong advocate for genetically modified (GM) crops.

With his wife Jenny, he moved into Cootamundra a few years ago, leaving the management of “Birralee” and the seed business to their son Justin, who lives with his wife Kylie on another nearby property.

After nearly 60 years of one-family ownership, “Birralee” is for sale by tender and has been listed with Miller and James Real Estate of Temora in conjunction with Holman Tolmie of Cootamundra.

Tenders will close on March 23 (unless an earlier offer is accepted), and recent district sales indicate a likely price range from $7500-$10,000/ha ($3000-$4000/ac).

Prospective buyers are expected to include established farmers from the surrounding district seeking additional country, and graziers from other areas drawn by the property’s prime location and versatility.

The property could also attract a family with off-farm income wanting a rural base and scope for a range of farming or livestock-related enterprises. 

Just to the east of “Birralee” is the noted 1000ha “Twin Hills” thoroughbred property bought last year by turf identities Oliver and Amber Tait from the Godolphin (previously Darley) group.

Situated eight kilometres west of Cootamundra on the Dirnaseer Road, “Birralee” is a classic mixed farming property of undulating to hilly, red loam country, about 40 per cent of which is arable.

About 120ha of the property is currently cropped and the balance comprises mostly phalaris-based pastures (with clover and lucerne in some paddocks) topdressed as required over many years.

Most of the property has been recently limed, and following good falls of rain in January (and a further 12mm earlier this week) and recent sales of stock, it is carrying a good body of feed.

Average rainfall is a generous 650mm and the property is watered by dams and an equipped bore. Town water is also connected.

Under present management the property supports a prime lamb enterprise based on a flock of 2100 composite ewes mated in a criss-cross breeding program to White Suffolk and Texel rams.

The brick homestead, currently rented, was built in 1964 and has four bedrooms (one with en-suite) and an in-ground swimming pool.

Working improvements include a three-stand shearing shed, steel sheep and cattle yards, 400 tonnes of silo storage, machinery and hay sheds and a workshop.



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