It’s an unlikely career switch from playing first-grade rugby league to raising cattle on the North West Slopes, but that was the life choice made by Andrew Hart in 2004 when he hung up his footy boots.
The former Illawarra Steelers, St George and South Sydney forward had just retired after a successful seven-year career which culminated in a season of Super League with the London Broncos. Seeking a change from the hurly-burly of professional football, Mr Hart decided to try his hand at cattle breeding, and found the property he was looking for on the banks of the Horton River.
Situated 15km north of Upper Horton and 30km west of Bingara, the 1588 hectare (3923ac) property, “Roxburgh”, was a handy mix of river flats, open grazing and timbered hill country. To that, Mr Hart and his wife Jade about four years ago were able to add nearby property, “Ferndale”, effectively doubling their notional carrying capacity to about 800 breeders.
But now the couple are heading back to the South Coast, to be nearer family, and both properties have been listed for sale by expressions of interest with Moree Real Estate.
The dual offering presents a rich entry opportunity to a tightly held area of the North West Slopes that is home to some of the state’s leading beef cattle studs and commercial herds.
Since taking over the properties, the Harts have invested liberally in new fencing, water and farm infrastructure as well as homestead renovations.
Fronting the Horton River for about 3km, “Roxburgh” boasts some 750ha of arable river flats, rising to 320ha of open grazing country and timbered hill. About 100ha of the river flats is under lucerne and a similar area sown to a sub-tropical pasture mix, with the rest fallowed for oats in 2019.
Average rainfall is 675mm and the property is watered by a reticulation system from the river plus dams and two semi-permanent creeks.
A comfortable five-bedroom homestead (pictured) is set in established grounds beside the river, supplemented by separate guest accommodation, stables and round yard. Working structures include two sets of steel cattle yards, a three-stand woolshed and steel yards, two steel machinery sheds, workshop, hay sheds and 300 tonnes of silo storage.
The other “Ferndale” block of 1284ha (3084ac) is situated 15km west of Bingara and comprises some 970ha of arable basalt country rising to lightly timbered grazing slopes and more heavily timbered hill. Of the arable country (which in previous years regularly produced competition-winning wheat crops), about 200ha is now sown to lucerne and a sub-tropical pasture mix.
The property is watered by a solar bore piping to 16 troughs, plus 12 dams and a semi-permanent creek, and comes with a renovated two-bedroom cottage, new machinery shed, cattle yards and woolshed.
Expressions of interest close on February 28. Both properties are expected to attract bids around $4 million based on their 400-cow carrying capacities, rich soils and improvements.
- Agent: Sandy Bailey, 0406 109 492, Moree Real Estate.