Rural Notebook | You get what you pay for on the land

NAUGHTY BUT NICE: Flowering dandelions are a tasty treat for grazing sheep but horse owners are treating them with care. Photo: SUPPLIED
NAUGHTY BUT NICE: Flowering dandelions are a tasty treat for grazing sheep but horse owners are treating them with care. Photo: SUPPLIED

SPRING sales of rural properties have shown us that a viable holding of about 700 hectares of good soil, adequate improvements and about 70mm (28 inches) average monthly rainfall is going to involve close to $6 million fully stocked.

This property would carry 400 breeding cows or sheep equivalent in normal seasons and a budget of $500,000 gross income is a ballpark figure.

The proud new owner would be expected to operate the property without paid help, with contractors used for peak period jobs.

Lesser country is buyable at much lower outlay but it’s very true that “you get what you pay for when buying real estate”.

Rural land in much of our lovely Central Tablelands is still a great real estate investment but buyers must remember that returns from primary production will continue to vary - just like the climate.

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On the money

COMPLAINTS are often made when weather forecasters miss their targets by wide margins, but last week’s predictions came true with flash floods along the coastline and downpours in the Sydney basin.

Falls of 50mm were common across our district and prospects of a green Christmas are bright.

But real drought conditions are not far away to our south-west and on the Central Slopes and Plains.

It would be a brave soul who re-stocked a property at present as we know that a dry 40 degree summer may set in at any time and subsoil moisture is still minimal.

So, when to start re-stocking? It’s an intriguing question.

REAR VIEW: A penny for the thoughts of this battery of stud rams. Photo: SUPPLIED

REAR VIEW: A penny for the thoughts of this battery of stud rams. Photo: SUPPLIED

Labour pains

THE shortage of willing and reliable manual labourers has never been more obvious and even pay offers of up to $40 per hour don’t attract the workers that are needed.

Of course, much of the work is for casual days and a lot of them are pretty short days.

Some inquiries are made for the establishment of a rural contracting service to specialise in stock work and general farm maintenance.

The Livestock Contractors Association is a valuable resource and its website has its membership details, code of conduct and details of key members in each state and district.

There are a lot of prospective clients for this type of service across the Tablelands but there are some that have a reputation for slow (or not at all) payment of accounts. A quiet yarn with similar contract workers should give valuable information.

Industry accreditation is needed for specialist contracts such as footrot eradication, lamb mulesing and chainsaw work, and a first aid certificate is a necessity when employing staff.

Keep it simple

FARMERS’ wives or lovers who have looked at the drought assistance Household Support Supplement forms would probably vote for the party who simplified the forms.

This support measure isn’t working and urgently needs some application of common sense. Would-be members of federal parliament, please listen up.

End of term

THE end-of-year school functions are in full swing and it’s great to see the young generation being involved in the events at many levels.

We were fortunate to attend the presentation of awards and the school concert at Perthville Public School during the past week and this school has an enviable reputation for student awareness of the world in which they live.

Of real interest to an old violinist was the well-trained school band that presented a medley of Christmas favourites.

Thank you, Perthville Public School (since 1873).

In the balance

LAST weekend’s published voting intention polls for the coming NSW election told of the probability of a hung parliament in the near future.

Indications of a strong economic performance, good employment figures and lots of new infrastructure in the metropolitan area would seem to assure the Coalition of a big win in an election scenario.

But memories of local government mergers, banning of greyhound racing and a drought assistance policy that doesn’t seem to assist are still very much in voters’ minds.

The removal of Malcolm Turnbull, who was never a leader at all, has upset voters across the continent and the Liberal brand has been tarnished at every level.

I think that there’s a lot more to being a successful MP than just kissing unfortunate babies, and old fashioned members like Clive Osborne, Mick Clough, Tim Fischer and Kim Beazley really believed in a cause and in who they represented.

Wool market report

THE wool market had another mixed week.

The finer merino types were around 25 to 30c/kg dearer, while the medium to broader merino wools were 20 to 30c/kg cheaper.

Crossbred wools were the shining light, seeing rises of up to 90c/kg. The northern market indicator finished the week on 1905c/kg, up 7c/kg.

Next week will see 36,814 bales on offer nationwide.

Mark Horsburgh, TWG Landmark

Diary dates

  • Tuesday, December 11: Nationals Christmas party. Phone 9299 5811 for information.

Laugh lines

​GEORGE was at the pharmacy and bought a small phial of heart pills.

He was almost back to his car when the chemist caught up to him.

“A dreadful mistake sir, you were given a phial of arsenic instead of heart pills,” the pharmacist spluttered.

George was taken aback and gasped: “There would be quite a difference.”

The chemist replied: “Too right there is - $1.25.”