DIVERSITY: This Dorrigo property runs cattle but has diversified into truffles.
DIVERSITY: This Dorrigo property runs cattle but has diversified into truffles. Contributed

Farm for sale with potential $2000 per-kilo crop

BLUEBERRIES may be the agricultural pursuit de jour on the Coffs Coast, but one Dorrigo farmer has put his property on the market with an unusual and potentially highly valuable feature: truffle trees.

The 31ha (77 acre) property at 393 Rocky Creek Rd is being marketed by Karen Brown, Philip Talbot and Martin Wells from McGrath Coffs Harbour.

Karl Waugh has owned the property since the 1960s when his father subdivided the family farm. He previously ran cattle on the property.

"I had an accident in 2006 and realised I couldn't work in the yards with cattle or be chasing them around the paddocks, so I looked around for something else to try and the climate in Dorrigo suited the truffle,” he said.

"I put in a few English oak trees as a trial. They seemed to be powering along OK so I eventually put more in.”

Mr Waugh has four trees and plans to plant more after the ground is prepared.

The specialised oak trees are inoculated with the truffle fungus and it takes about eight years to get any truffles.

Considered a delicacy, particularly in French cooking, the truffle can earn upwards of $2000/kg.

Traditionally found in France, truffle production requires hot summer temperatures and cold winter temperatures.

"The Dorrigo climate is similar to where they grow in France.”

Mr Waugh said truffles - when successful - were also a much more profitable use of the land than traditional farming.

"With beef cattle you can run a beast per acre and make a couple of thousand dollars every nine to 12 months, but with the truffle you can take around $60,000 a year off an acre of trees planted 8-9m apart.”

Mr Waugh said growing the trees was fairly simple.

"You've just got to make sure your tree is watered until it's established and then it's a matter of waiting for the truffle to come, and when it gets there you can hire people that have specially trained dogs and they find the truffle for you.”

Apart from the truffles, the property features a four-bedroom homestead, two self-contained flats and currently agists 40-plus head of cattle. There is also potential for blueberries, with some farmers in the region now beginning to grow the crop on the plateau.

Karen Brown from McGrath said as MrWaugh had shown, there were plenty of options for how to use the property.

"The accommodation set up is great with the main house and two flats. It lends itself to having extended family or a B&B or even workers' accommodation.

"It would be great for someone downsizing from a large farm out west. It's large enough to have some cattle but is much more manageable in size.

"The location is also quite sought-after for its pastures and rainfall, and it's just 45 minutes to Coffs Harbour.”



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