The home of one of the Riverina's leading Poll Dorset studs will go under the hammer next month, to wind up more than half a century of stud Dorset breeding by Graeme Hibbard.
Mr Hibbard began his career in New Zealand in 1966, breeding Dorset Horns, later switching to Poll Dorsets and moving to NSW, where he bought an aggregation of two Narrandera district properties in 1995.
There, with genetics he brought with him from NZ, he established the Deepdene Poll Dorset stud, and in 1997 conducted his first on-property production sale.
He soon built a strong clientele, and earlier this month the stud notched up its 23rd annual sale, at which a total clearance was achieved for the offering of 148 rams, for an average of $1157.
But now Graeme and his wife Yvonne are heading for Bendigo, from which Graeme will continue to judge at shows around Australia, but leave the stud breeding to others.
As a result, the Hibbards' two-property aggregation of Mittagong Park and The Block has been listed for sale, and will go to auction on October 18 through Landmark Wagga Wagga and Narrandera.
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The properties will be offered individually, with overall price expectations on the high side of $2.5 million.
Comprising 606 hectares (1497ac) and 152ha (376ac) respectively, the two properties offer a rich entry opportunity to a prime location in a reliable mixed farming district.
Situated 13 kilometres and 20km respectively north-east of Narrandera, the properties are handy to Grong Grong, and once formed part of Grong Grong Station.
The properties now for sale, though described as 90 per cent arable, have been managed by the Hibbards primarily as a grazing operation centred on the stud, with crops grown mainly for fodder.
In normal seasons the two properties typically carried about 400 stud ewes, 200 ewe lambs and 250 rams, plus 1200 bought-in Merino ewes mated to Dorsets for a prime lamb.
Most of the Merinos have now been sold, and the properties are now carrying just 250 Merino ewes and 180 agisted cows, plus the stud.
Comprising mostly red loam country with areas of heavier grey loam along a watercourse, the properties are sown to a mix of improved pastures, cereal crops, brassica, ryecorn and saltbush.
Much of the country has been spray topped to control broadleafed weeds, as a head start for any 2020 cropping program and to promote growth of the lucerne- and ryegrass-based pastures.
Average rainfall is 457mm and a stock and domestic water source delivers water to a 10000-litre tank from which it is reticulated to nine paddock troughs.
Working infrastructure includes a three-stand raised-board woolshed with undercover steel sheep yards, steel cattle yards, a large steel shed for machinery, hay and sale-ring, and three self-emptying silos.
The three-bedroom brick homestead is set in a sheltered position with views to the south.