PROPERTIES in the tightly held Macalister Irrigation District don't come on the market too often.
Nowhere is this better demonstrated than at Newry, where farms in shouting distance of Hagan's Bridge have been owned by the same family for more than a century.
- HAGAN'S BRIDGE
- Property: Dairy
- Size: 123ha
- Price: $2.6 million
- Agent: Maffra Town and Country Real Estate
- Contact: Paul Bourke (03) 5147 2200 or 0428 451 366
"Some of them have been there since the first boats arrived, probably," owner Kevin Gray said.
Kevin, who milks 270 cows on the 123ha property, said the Macalister River frontage and heavy loam soils made pasture production a dream.
"The soil here is probably unique to dairying - we can have four or five inches of rain, but you can still drive a two-wheel car around the farm within 24 hours of the rain stopping," he said.
"It probably uses a little bit more water than lighter country during an irrigation, but it holds the water a bit better so we can go longer between irrigations.
"And because the soil doesn't stay saturated for so long, it just means the grass has got more time to grow, which means more pasture."
Kevin's parents, Peter and Margaret, bought the original 65ha farm 38 years ago, before the family added 58ha to their holding six years ago to "become more self-sufficient".
The extra land is directly across the road and reached by a cattle underpass.
"Since we've purchased that property I've never bought a bale of hay or silage," Kevin said. "I've been able to grow my own.
"When we bought across the road, I wanted it to stay as a one-person operation that I could run myself, and I can do that with this.
"Dad comes in and does somemaintenance things like spraying thistles.
"That's a big help to me."
Kevin said the farm could milk up to 350 cows at full capacity.
A new 14 double-up herringbone dairy with stalls, cup removers, auto feed and a 7200-litre milk vat was built when the farm was expanded.
The property's water entitlements include 415 megalitres of high-security and 228.5 megalitres of low-security Macalister Irrigation District water and 170 megalitres of underground water.
Hagan's Bridge has a four megalitre re-use dam catching run-off, from about 60ha of the property connected to a gravity-fed, twin-pond effluent system.
About 90 per cent of the farm is laser-graded for ease of irrigation, and stock water is supplied by channel, river and bore water connected to a trough in each paddock.
The property is sown mainly to a permanent irrigation mix of clover and rye, and 50 paddocks are subdivided with mostly double-wire electric fencing.
A four-bedroom weatherboard home has two large living areas and three bathrooms.
It has magnificent views to Mt Wellington and Mt Baw Baw.
Newry is 12km northwest of Maffra.