Irrigated fodder crops defy the drought at Kelvin

Irrigated fodder crops defy the drought at Kelvin


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Comprising in total 1165 hectares, the property is a rare offering in this tightly held sector of the Liverpool Plains.

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Thanks to a reliable supply of precious groundwater to maintain growth of fodder crops through the dry times, Jeff and Michelle King are still showing a profit on their “Morocco”/“Mosaic” aggregation on the Liverpool Plains.

But not for much longer, perhaps, because the couple have decided to sell the Gunnedah district property as part of a long-term plan to start winding down once they reached their sixties.

They will retain the 240 hectare “Fairview”, where they live, but their larger “Morocco”/ “Mosaic” aggregation will go under the hammer with Elders on December 11.

Comprising in total 1165ha (2880 acres), the property is a rare offering in this tightly held sector of the Liverpool Plains.

It is also a timely one, due to its proven capacity to maintain profitability in time of drought.

Although managed by the Kings as a mixed farming operation with a core focus on cattle breeding and fattening, the property is equally well suited to an all-cropping or all-livestock enterprise.

Situated near Kelvin, 25 kilometres north of Gunnedah, the level to gently undulating property is virtually all arable, with soils of deep, self-mulching black basalt to chocolate basalt and red/sandy loams.

The larger of the two blocks, “Morocco” (744ha) was purchased about 12 years ago and the adjoining “Mosaic” four years later.

About 130ha of the property is sown to improved pastures of premier digit and lucerne.

In normal seasons as much as 360ha of dryland country is sown to winter cereal crops (mostly durum wheat).

The property’s crown jewels are its three irrigation bores, backed by a 340-megalitre Zone 12 licence.

This allows the flood irrigation of 90ha, while supplying water to three centre pivots covering 110ha.

At present two of the three pivots are being used to grow lucerne and forage sorghum for hay production, mainly to underpin the property’s main cattle enterprise, based on 400 Hereford cows.

However, the enterprise options are boundless, as the country is well suited to year-round cropping.

Working infrastructure includes several three-bay machinery sheds, hay sheds, workshop, four HE elevated silos and near-new steel cattle yards to work 250 head.

A four-bedroom weatherboard homestead with separate lounge and dining rooms, new bathroom and split-system air conditioning is complemented by a self-contained one-bedroom accommodation unit.

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