Coolah is a predominately agricultural area. Its temperate climate, good soils and reasonable rainfall (if it’s not a drought!) supports a strong mixed farming industry. Cattle breeding and fattening, wool and lamb production, as well as growing cereal and fodder crops are the main farming activities. Many farming operations in the area combine cattle and sheep as well as small scale farming on their properties.
Wool production has been a major part of the agricultural pursuits of the Coolah district since the area was first settled. In those early days there were no fences, so shepherds were employed to look after a flock and would be dropped rations regularly so they didn’t have to leave them. Sheep would be walked to nearest shed and shorn with hand shears. These days wool production is a still intensive but not quite that much! Today you will find a variety of breeds of sheep for wool and/or meat, however the merino still rules. The district grows mostly fine wool, bordering on medium.
As well as merinos, local farmers have first cross ewes that are used to produce meat lambs. Specialty breeds such as Dorper are found in the district and there are studs of Merino, Suffolk, Border Leicester and Poll Dorset to be found.
Taking over from sheep, cattle have gained in popularity. Most cattle producers run grass fed commercial herds or cattle fattening operations. There is predominance of black Angus cattle in the district but there are a variety of beef breeds to be seen such as Speckled Park, Santa Gertrudis, Simmentals and Herefords. A number of studs produce bulls sold all around NSW and further afield.
Limited by our terrain, most farming is on a smaller scale within the Coolah valley with large broad acre cropping found to our north on the Liverpool Plains. Many enterprises have mixed pastures and conserve their crop and/or hay harvests for supplementary feeding their stock. Farmers mostly grow cereal crops (oats, wheat and barley), sorghum and/or canola.
A popular dual purpose wheat bred in the early 2000s, “Morombi”, was named after a local property that was heavily involved in the trial works.
The area that is now the Coolah Tops National Park was once harvested for timber and a sawmill was in operation until the 1990s.