Oxton Park - HARDEN NSW
Peter O’Connor, from Oxton Park near Harden in Southern NSW, has been nominated in the Productivity category for his commitment to improving the family farm’s productivity through technology gains.
The O’Connor Family run a 20,000 acre mixed farming enterprise that has been family owned and operated by since the 1920’s. The farm is now in its third generation (soon to be fourth), run by three brothers, Peter, Paul, John and Cousin Pat. Broadacre cropping (wheat and canola) is the main production activity on the property however to help diversify and spread risk, the farm is also home to dual purpose merinos which play an important role in many different areas including integrated weed management.
The enterprise is professionally structured with its incorporation in 1995 leading to the establishment of a board (with an independent chairman), providing a platform that enables all business decisions to be made in a professional manner. The company’s success is based on running the farm as a business, but whilst maintaining a family value culture. It is highly focused on keeping the family unit as part of the farm and they have been proactive in setting structures in place to allow the next generation (which involves children from each family) to take over.
In terms of productivity and sustainability, Oxton Park were very early adopters of direct drilling and also have a number of farm forestry lots across the property directed at the lower, wetter areas where land is less efficient. Recently they have also decided to purchase some of the precision agriculture tools offered by Delta Agribusiness to help refine their input costs and capitalise on the good years, by having a better understand of what the yield potentials are for their crops.
Oxton Park is a prime example of a well-managed, efficiently operated family farming enterprise. The property will be forever engrained in the history of Australian agriculture and with the next generation of O’Connor’s demonstrating a keen interest in the industry, it is likely that the success the family has already achieved will continue into the future.