What was thought to be a handy job for a couple of years has seen Laurie Bullen call the Avenel-district property, Booroola, home for the past 31 years.
He went there as its manager in August 1987 after brief stints on smaller farms located near Meredith and also at Donald, and has since seen its operation double to a demanding 12,500 acres calving down close to 200 Hereford cows and 6500 Roseville Park-blood Merino ewes.
Electing to retire at Christmas to do something different, Mr Bullen says Booroola, which has Hughes Creek running its length through the middle, comprises highly productive river-flats to steep hilly country.
Owned by Melbourne businessman Carrillo Gantner and his family for the past 80 years, Mr Bullen sold his final draft of Booroola Hereford weaners at NVLX Barnawartha this week almost three months ahead of normal selling time in January.
“We’ve have 46 millimetres of rain this past week” he said. “And while that will help we are moving to conserve feed as a precaution because the hill country is beginning to turn quickly”.
Originally with a larger focus on cattle breeding in its earlier years, Booroola re-jigged its stock mix in the early 2000’s dropping its cattle numbers in favour of a larger sheep operation which has been based on Roseville Park-blood for the past 20 years.
Focusing on heavy wool cut, with its weaner flock scanning 16 microns and its adult flock at around 18 to 18.5 micron, Mr Bullen says that in tight years like this one and again 2010 and 2011, Booroola moved early to sell all of its White Suffolk crossbred lambs and Merino wether lambs as stores rather than attempting to finish them with a sale directly to Coles.
This year most of its store lambs were sold either to Tasmania or to the Western District in order to lighten load on the fed cart, which Mr Bullen says was still rewarding at the current price of the market.