Drought or no drought, local interest is expected to be keen for the offering at auction early next month of the respected Northern Riverina property “Hillview”, Weethalle.
Held by the one family for 69 years, “Hillview” is a well-established mixed farming property of 1298 hectares (3208ac) combining graingrowing and sheep production with a prime lamb focus.
It is owned by Chris and Brenda Heaslip, Chris being the third generation to hold the property since the original farm of about 2000 acres was acquired in 1950 by his grandfather, James.
The Heaslips’ only daughter lives in Canberra, and with no-one to take over the property, they have listed “Hillview” with John Dalton of Elders Griffith.
It will go to auction in Griffith on March 5, with recent district sales indicating a likely bidding range, of $3000-$3250 a hectare ($1200-$1300/ac).
When the present owner’s grandfather took up the original block, much of it was thick with the locally prevailing mallee timber.
Part of the property had already been cleared for cropping, and while the rest of it was being developed, the production emphasis was on Merino sheep.
An adjoining block was acquired, bringing the property to its present size – and by the mid-1960s “Hillview” was carrying some 1700 sheep plus cattle.
Today the country is cleared for farming and 97 per cent arable, with only shade and shelter trees remaining of mallee, box, pine and kurrajong.
Situated 11 kilometres north of Weethalle, “Hillview” is described as a property of level to soft rolling country of principally red soils with some red-chocolate types.
The country has been farmed by the present owners in a three-year rotation system, growing mainly wheat and oats before undersowing to lucerne for a four-to-five-year pasture phase.
Typically about 400ha is cropped and a similar area fallowed each year, in tandem with a grazing operation involving 800 Merino ewes joined 50:50 to Merino and Poll Dorset rams.
Like most properties in the South West, “Hillview” failed to produce a crop last year (and also ran out of stored grain for the sheep, requiring feed to be bought-in for the first time Chris can remember).
But before that the property had a long run of successful harvests, with wheat crops (like the 2016-17 crop pictured) generally averaging around 2.5 tonnes/ha, and in the best years, nearly 5t/ha.
The property is subdivided into 16 paddocks with much of the fencing renewed.
Average rainfall is 400mm and the property is connected to the Goldenfields piped water scheme, ensuring secure stock water in all paddocks.
Working improvements are of a high standard and include three machinery sheds, a four-stand shearing shed with steel sheepyards, cattle yards, workshop and eight grain silos of 470t total capacity.
The attractive brick veneer homestead was built in 1999 and has three bedrooms, open-plan kitchen/dining area, formal lounge, spa and bathroom.
Delivery will be given in July 2019, with a successful purchaser having earlier access for agricultural operations if desired.
By PETER AUSTIN.