Creating sustainability at Birroon Station

Creating sustainability at Birroon Station


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LEIGH Tuck and her husband Roger believe in a sustainable approach to farming.

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LEIGH Tuck and her husband Roger believe in a sustainable approach to farming.

“There is no point in making money, if you allow the land to become degraded. You need long-term sustainability,” Mrs Tuck says.

It is this conviction that led the couple to develop their own property Birroon Station, with a heavy focus on both land use development and sustainability.

After moving to the Gunning, NSW, farm in 1998, they spent the following 12 years carrying out extensive vegetation work, improving the pasture and restoring native pastures.

Recently, family reasons have forced the Tucks to place the 1296-hectare historic station on the market through Meares and Associates, but they will depart knowing they have left Birroon in an improved condition.

The Tucks have principally used rotational grazing, with the aim of maintaining 90 per cent ground cover.

“We switched from sheep to cattle about two and a half years ago, which has allowed the pasture a better chance of recovering,” she continued.

Birroon comprises primarily strategically and regularly top-dressed native pasture country (danthonia, microlena, red grass, kangaroo grass and native clovers), with 200 acres improved pastures (phalaris, cocksfoot, fescue, rye and sub-clover).

From 2008, up to 630 fattening type cattle have been run.

The Tucks believe the property would ideally carry 550-600 breeding cows, or 5500 Merino ewes producing first cross lambs, or a mixture of both.

They have rated the property to carry approximately 8000-9000 dry sheep equivalents.

“With a property of this size, I think you can be conservative with your stocking rates and still bring in a good income.”

The couple has completed tree conservation programs through Greening Australia, with three areas planted out. In one effort to clean up a weedy paddock, the Tucks planted 2000 trees, with the aim of helping the environment, as well as earning an income through seed production.

A further 16ha paddock has been direct drilled with eight kilometres of trees, which has been locked up for the past 18 months.

“I’m a great believer that we need as many trees as possible to protest the pasture,” she added.

Together with a 650 millimetre annual rainfall, Birroon is extremely well watered from a series of permanent creeks, an equipped bore, and 30 working dams.

There is a highly efficient water storage and reticulated system with 184,000 gallons of storage in total, gravity feeding to the homestead and cottages, and 16 concrete paddock troughs.

The Tucks have also spent the last decade fully restoring the stunning five-bedroom Victorian double brick homestead (circa late 1880’s). It comprises lounge, separate dining room, new kitchen, new family/sunroom, study, two bathrooms and laundry.

Classic hardwood timber polished floors and fireplaces adorn each room.

It has retained all the period features of the Victorian era with deep skirting boards, high ceilings, double hung windows and panelled floors with verandas extending along the front of the house and around the courtyard and kitchen areas. The garden has been extended and recently landscaped.

In addition to a six-stand wool shed, improved infrastructure includes a four-bay shed, machinery shed, shearers’ quarters, hay shed, wooden stables, cattle yards and two silos.

There is a three-bedroom managers’ cottage and staff homestead.

Meares and Associates’ Sam Trigg says Birroon Station - set to go up for auction on July 8 - has attracted plenty of inquiry.

“It’s got a great location, close to Sydney and Canberra, its got scale, good working improvements and a nice homestead,” he said.

“It ticks all the boxes.”

The property encompasses mainly well-sheltered undulating to hilly soft granite country and is situated one hour from Canberra.

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