The Coonabarabran property “Downfield” has been running about 200 cattle, as well as about 1000 Merinos.DIVERSITY is the name of the game at “Downfield”, a substantial property 18 kilometres north east of Coonabarabran where Peter Whale has lived and farmed for most of his life.
“Downfield” was handed down to Peter and his wife Sherrin from Peter’s father Tom.
Tom, and his wife Del, came to the property when Peter was four years old, in about 1965.
“When I was young, the property was running upwards of 3000 crossbred ewes, and 1000 Merino ewes,” Peter Whale said.
“We then went back to more of a Merino-focus, as well as cropping.”
Mr Whale said that when he was 16 the property had about 700 to 800 acres (about 280ha to 320ha) worth of cropping, mainly wheat as well as a few summer crops including sunflowers and sorghum at one stage as well.
At about the same time, further land – “Part Bullaway” – was purchased to take the property from what was then about 690ha (about 1700ac) to its present size of 1008ha (2490ac).
Later, Mr Whale changed the focus on the property from sheep to both sheep and cattle, and gradually built up his cattle numbers to reach about 200 head.
Up until recently, the property was usually carrying about 200 Hereford and black baldy cattle (with a Charolais cross), and about 1000 Bungulla-blood Merinos.
He was typically achieving a fibre diameter of 20-micron.
Mr Whale said the property’s diversity in the past represented good opportunities for a new owner for the future, and it would be easy to go back to mixed farming of both grazing and crops.
He said “Downfield” had a range of soil types including black and red basalts, through to lighter sandy loam country.
“It is a pretty diverse place, and it can turn its hand to anything.”
Mr Whale said his father had a champion racehorse on the property at one stage: Bold William, a horse that had won about 10 races across the State, including three at metropolitan racecourses.
Improvements through the years have included the addition of an extra stand to the shearing shed about 10 years ago (now a three-stand shed), as well as the addition of silos and a grain shed.
Cattle yards have been gradually improved through the years and are now mostly steel with some timber portions.
New sheep yards (of steel and wood construction) were also installed on the back of the shearing shed.
Water is supplied across eight dams, seven troughs and a bore, while a creek offers running water and is enhanced by both permanent and semi-permanent water holes.
The four bedroom house is of weatherboard and iron construction, and has received renovations in the past 10 years.
The upgrades include a modern kitchen with a walk-in pantry.
Outside is a rumpus room, laundry, above ground swimming pool and established gardens.
Mr Whale is seeking a change in direction and has listed his property with Chris Korff, Ray White Rural Korff and Co, for auction on February 25.
* Contact Chris Korff, 0427 005 090.
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