One of the showplace grazing properties of the Walcha district has hit the market as part of succession planning, to end more than 90 years of continuous one-family ownership.
CBRE Agribusiness has listed for sale the 1111-hectare (2744ac) Boree property of the Laurie family, now in its fourth generation since 1927, when Andrew Alexander Laurie of Nowendoc Station bought it for his son Ken.
Then a somewhat larger holding, it was operated by Ken and his wife Budge until Ken's death in the mid-1940s, after which it was taken over by their sons Doug and Andrew who ran it together.
In the 1950s the property was split, with the portion now for sale as Boree being taken over by Andrew, whose untimely death aged just 47 in 1979 left the property in the hands of his wife Caroly and her seven-year-old son Sean.
Andrew Laurie, a former Wallaby, had also been a progressive grazier, establishing perennial pastures and being among the first in the district to aerially spread superphosphate in the 1950s.
Following his death, Caroly sought the assistance of local grazier Bob Young, an acknowledged authority on improved pastures, grazing and livestock management, who set Boree on the successful course it follows to this day.
For the past 23 years, Boree has been run by Sean and his wife Rachael.
They have continued to adhere to the late Bob Young's principles of maintaining productive pastures through appropriate fertilising and prudent grazing management.
The success of the operation is evident from the 14-18 DSE/hectare stocking rates (annualised) that have been achieved on Boree over the past seven years.
This has been despite annual rainfall being some 30 per cent below the long-term average.
Situated seven kilometres west of Walcha fronting the Oxley Highway, Boree is a level to gently sloping property of well-drained trap soils.
About 95 percent of Boree is arable and sown to deep-rooted perennial grasses, clovers and medics.
Andrew Laurie had a Merino stud on Boree, and Merino breeding continued to be the main enterprise (augmented by cattle backgrounding) until the final shearing in 2000 of 5500 adult sheep and 1600 hoggets.
Today the main enterprise is cattle backgrounding.
Over the past seven years, the property (pictured in 2016) has turned off an average of 1850 steers a year in an eight to 10 month program.
This program has been augmented by sheep and horse agistment.
Pasture replenishment has been an ongoing process for the past 30 years.
It has been coupled with a topdressing program which has seen a minimum 170kg/ha of single super applied over the past 20 years - 50pc above the local standard.
Long-term average rainfall is 804mm and the property is watered by seasonal creeks, 32 dams (most half-full or better) and a solar bore reticulating to 33 paddock troughs.
Working infrastructure includes steel and timber cattle yards to work 500 head.
There is also a four-stand shearing shed, sheep yards and a large steel machinery shed/workshop.
The four-bedroom weatherboard homestead, built in 1907 with renovations and extensions in 1980, has an open-plan kitchen/living area, formal dining room and a garden setting with tennis court.
It is complemented by a manager's residence of double-brick construction.
This residence was built in 1980 with four bedrooms and an open-plan kitchen/living area.
By PETER AUSTIN.