Well watered at Walgett

Well watered at Walgett


Property
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Selling agent Rob Southwell was not mincing words when he launched his marketing campaign last month for the well-known Walgett district property, Pollybrewan.

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Selling agent Rob Southwell was not mincing words when he launched his marketing campaign last month for the well-known Walgett district property, Pollybrewan.

His advertisement carried the brutally honest heading, 'Bone dry bargain with scale and scope', but fortuitously the 'bone dry' part has been overtaken by events.

Last weekend the property was lucky to be under falls ranging from 40mm to 70mm which, while not yet enough to kick-start a crop, will at least spur pre-winter pasture growth.

Pollybrewan is the 9188 hectare (22,703ac) freehold property of Polly Pals Pty Ltd, a partnership of the local Mace family and off-farm investor Andrew Graham, which bought it in 2011.

The partnership is now to be dissolved and the property has been listed for May 30 auction in Narrabri by Southwell Land and Water, with prior offers to be considered.

Before being bought by the present owners, Pollybrewan was held for three years by Northern Territory cattleman Bruce Morton, and before that by Walgett locals Mark and Sue Evans of Netherby.

Previously known as Polly Brewon, it was also owned for a time as a Merino breeding outstation by the Emery family from Gunning.

The property started life as part of the 27,500ha (68,000ac) Polly Brewan Station, first licensed in 1850 and later held by prominent pastoralist Duncan McMaster who sold it in 1886 to a partnership of Taylor and Barton (the latter an uncle of 'Banjo' Paterson).

Today Pollybrewan is a substantial mixed farming operation, with about 2000ha of developed cultivation and estimated carrying capacity (excluding cropland) of 6000 DSEs.

Situated 40 kilometres south-west of Walgett, the property comprises mostly open to lightly timbered floodplain country of self-mulching grey-brown Vertisol soils, brown alluvials and red-brown earths.

Average rainfall is in the 400-450mm area.

Up to 50 per cent of the property receives periodic beneficial flooding from the adjacent Castlereagh River and Nedgera Creek systems.

The cultivation country has been developed for minimum till and controlled traffic farming and in 2016 produced wheat, barley and chickpea crops of 4.5 tonnes/ha, 5t/ha and 2.2t/ha respectively.

The balance of the country supports a natural pasture mix of Mitchel-l and other grasses, trefoils and burrs plus introduced Buffel grass, producing a mass of stock-fattening fodder in season (cattle achieving weight gains of up to 1.5kg/day).

A feature of the property is its new capped and piped artesian bore and associated reticulation scheme, installed by the present owners at a cost of some $1.2 million to replace two older free-flowing bores.

Quality water is now delivered via 36km of poly piping to 14 tanks and thence to troughs (33 of them new) in all paddocks.

A partly-renovated three-bedroom homestead (home to Nick Mace and his wife Alix) is complemented by an air-conditioned 'donga' for worker or contractor accommodation.

Working improvements include a steel machinery shed/workshop, an upgraded set of steel cattle yards with double-deck loading ramp and Warwick crush and scales, five-stand (unequipped) shearing shed with sheep yards, hay shed and 80 tonne HE silo.

Another recent addition to the infrastructure is a 300-head cattle feedlot designed for weaning, supplementary feeding or finishing, plus a sheep weaning feedlot for up to 2500 head.


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