Working Farms

What can be done about outbreaks of algal blooms? Farmers should check their dams and water troughs two or three times a week during hot, dry weather.
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Working Farms

The following advice is of a general nature only and intended as a broad guide. The advice should not be regarded as legal, financial or real estate advice. You should make your own inquiries and obtain independent professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances before making any legal, financial or real estate decisions. Click here for full Terms of Use.

What’s important when buying larger farms?

If you’re thinking about buying a full-scale working farm, consider these factors…
  • You’ll need to understand local planning guidelines concerning zoning, permitted uses, animals, land care (controlling noxious weeds & pests). The local council will be able to clarify your questions
  • Check fences, sheds, water pumps, dams, drains, bores, irrigation, water supply, tanks, house and general infrastructure meets your needs and ascertain whether they have council approval
  • Soil and water – do they meet your required standard or need further tests?
  • Markets – will you need to transport livestock or produce to markets? Consider the distance and costs involved
  • Be realistic about your knowledge and skill set
  • Weeds and pest infestations can be expensive to eradicate. Check neighbouring properties, access roads, adjoining state forests and water sources. Ask an agronomist if you have concerns before buying a rural real estate or a farm.

What do I need to know when buying rural land for a farm?

Rural land means land that is used for grazing of livestock, dairying, poultry farming, viticulture, orchards, beekeeping, horticulture, the growing of crops of any kind, and vegetable growing. When buying rural land, important issues are…
  • The economic climate of the area. Is the land to be used for agriculture, commercial purposes or private use?
  • Check that the property has appropriate council approvals and council zoning for any external buildings, and any future development.
  • What about your health and age? (Do you expect to have need for services that are found in cities and regional centres?)
  • What are the applicable property taxes?
  • Does the contract include any licenses such as water usage etc.?
  • What about accessibility of service utilities such as power and phone?
  • Check for flood plains, areas with access problems, water problems.
  • Particularly check for any easements or rights of way that may be through the property. Even though they may have not been used for some time, their use by others can affect your rights as well.
  • Check that effective controls are in place and work has been maintained to control noxious pests on the land, such as rabbits and noxious weeds. Eradication of these can be expensive.

What should I check for when buying completely undeveloped rural land?

If looking for undeveloped rural acreage for sale check the following:
  • Water tables, depth, quality and reliability
  • Proximity of utilities and costs to bring them to the land / property and for installation and maintenance
  • Country road maintenance and accessibility in adverse climate conditions

What is a clearing sale and how might it affect a rural property I buy?

As with the purchase of any property, it’s vital you fully understand what is included and excluded. Frequently, owners of rural property hold a ‘clearing sale’ to clear farm and household implements from the property. This may occur after your purchase, so things could look quite different when the time comes for your pre-settlement inspection.

How can I learn more about farming?

Most state based education institutions offer a variety of courses on farming and agriculture. These will help you both buy and set up a farm, or take one over. Many offer practical components to boost your experience and extend your understanding. Approach your local TAFE or consider online University courses.

What tips are there for buying farm equipment?

When selecting farm equipment you need to decide whether to buy something new, or buy something pre-loved. Both alternatives come with pros and cons, but these are some guidelines to consider…

1. Focus on the features
  • Make sure the equipment offers the features you need
  • Understand what the most important feature is to you and make sure you get it

2. Check the specifications
  • Do your research on the internet to find out what the typical specs of equipment may be
  • Do consider buying equipment with popular specs that you may not need. This makes the equipment more saleable in the future.
  • Make sure the equipment you buy has sufficient power for your needs

3. Know what similar assets are selling for
  • Research what similar equipment is selling for so you don’t pay too much
  • Check asking prices and compare against auction results
  • If buying at auction, determine your limit and stick to it

4. Research competitive brands
  • Don’t stick to just one brand. No one manufacturer is a centre of excellence for every type of equipment
  • Consider dealer support locations
  • Consider your level of use. Cheaper brands may be sufficient if your use will only be light

5. Assess condition
  • Condition has a major effect on value so check carefully
  • Electronics must not be obsolete or unserviceable locally

6. Check for attachments
  • Attachments are what make most pieces of equipment more versatile
  • Make sure you can obtain attachments for the unit you are buying if it will not be supplied with them

7. Assess dealer and service availability
  • Buy brands of equipment that you know can be serviced within a reasonable distance

8. Walk away
  • If an engine smokes or is hard to start, that’s an almost sure sign that major work is needed
  • If a gear does not engage, that’s likely to be a major problem
  • Structural problems like cracks and fractures in frames and plated areas should be avoided

How can I improve water quality on my farm?

If you have a creek or river flowing through your property, consider restricting stock access with fencing to help improve water quality, both for downstream users and the environment.

Where can I find information about average rainfall for my region?

Average rainfall varies dramatically around Australia and is chiefly driven by two major weather events, El Nino and La Nina.

The El Nino phenomenon occurs when there is a warming of the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean and this leads high atmospheric pressure, hotter weather and drought conditions. La Nina is the opposite system, leading to cooler temperatures and higher rainfall.

The Australian Government National Water Commission website offers rains charts and maps, as does the Bureau of Meteorology.

More information about temperature and rainfall averages can be found on the Australian Bureau of Statistics website as well.

Naturally, people living in your area of interest will best understand the long-term trends and typical rainfall conditions. That’s where a First National ‘Rural Specialist’ can really help when buying a rural property. Give us a call and we’ll happily share our expertise to help you make the right decision.

I’m concerned about fire risk. Should I remove all fallen timber from my farm?

It’s important to keep grasses cut and plenty of clear space around houses, sheds and buildings in general, however, fallen timber is an important part of your farm’s ecosystem.

Fallen timber forms the basis of native habitat and helps all manner of native fauna to forage. Fungi that grow on rotting timber help recycle nutrients back into the soil and nourish the next generation of plants.

If fallen timber presents a fire threat, relocating the timber away from the fire threat to ‘fallen timber lots’ helps maintain a balanced environment.

When buying a farm, be sure to inspect the property and look for fallen trees, which need to be removed.

Is it possible to work out how long dam water will last?

Naturally, this depends chiefly on what type and quantity of stock will be grazing on your farm, the size of the reservoir and the rate of any spring water inflow (in addition to annual rainfall).

The Victoria Department of Environment and Primary Industries offers a useful set of tables and graphs that help determine the various requirements of Lambs, Sheep, Calves and Cattle.
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