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Mike Pritchard, 11 Aug 2014, 11:08 PM UTC

Farmers faces new challenges in move to New England

Farmers faces new challenges in move to New England
How difficult would it be to pull up stumps on your farm in one region and then plant them down in another? That was the challenge Paul Nichols faced when he left Jerrys Plains in the New South Wales Hunter Valley, for the New England region, 18 months ago. Today he farms sheep and cattle in New England, far from his Jerrys Plains property, next to developing coal mines. Mr Nichols says it hasn't been an easy transition moving to dry land farming from an enterprise that had an abundance of water in the Hunter. He says much of being successful in the New England region is about getting the stocking rates right. "I'm having to plan for dry times and I'm always conscious they will come along so I prepare for them," he said. "If someone says a property will carry 300 steers, start off small and work the rate to where it's comfortable to manage. "I'm also enjoying farming in a non mining area." He says despite the usual gamble that comes with farming he's confident about the future of agriculture and a slight increase in prices for beef and sheep in the immediate future.
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