Orara Turf's Bill Wilson is selling up his farm to go into turf wholesaling.
Orara Turf's Bill Wilson is selling up his farm to go into turf wholesaling. Trevor Veale

Grass isn’t always greener, just ask local turf farmer

IT'S a gamble those on the land are up against, but for Orara Turf's Bill Wilson, there's been no luck in farming at the mercy of the weather.

His Dairyville turf farm on the banks of the Orara River has been a depth gauge for the 11 natural disasters, storms and floods that have hit the Coffs Coast in four years.

"After the two floods this year, we have come to the decision to sell up the farm and close down the production side of the business so we can turn our attention to the wholesale of turf from another location," Mr Wilson said. "The benefit is Orara

Turf will stock a larger variety of turf and grasses at more competitive prices."

In a tough business climate, Mr Wilson said the company's niche in turf was not only compromised by the weather, but it felt the impact of the GFC, a downturn in the new-home market and the move towards smaller blocks.

"There's a perception out there that once the flood waters fall you get straight back into it, but the reality is we lost about 600 days' work over the past four years and that impacted on our big contracts, like the stadium contracts," he said.

"With that came the downturn in construction and the move towards smaller block sales.

"The average sale for us fell from 200sqm to 50sqm and with that came increases in the price of fertilisers, chemicals, power and diesel."



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