Situated atop some of the world's richest black alluvial soils,the Moree Plains Shire has long been renowned as the hub of the Northern Wheatbelt commonly referred to quite aptly as the Golden Wheatbelt. The continuation of drought throughout the 90's led to a broadening diversity in farming practices and crop choices with the Moree Plains Shire now proudly boasting success in harvesting sunflowers, mungbeans and olives in addition to traditionally planted crops.
As one of the most popularly grown crops worldwide, it's believed that wheat covers more of the Earth's surface than any other crop.
Having been grown in Australia since the beginning of European settlement two centuries ago, the highly productive Moree Shire contributes an estimated one million tonnes annually to the national total.This equates to an estimated $18 million injection to the local economy. Weather permitting, wheat is generally sown in late autumn or early winter then harvested from November through to December. The wheat is then delivered by truck to local grain terminals for transportation to various mills for domestic use or seaports if being exported. Other crops in Moree include sunflower, safflower & canola for oil production and cereals such as oats, barley & sorghum.
As the largest cotton producing region in Australia, Moree has a significant cotton farming history. Supplying two-thirds of the total Australian cotton requirements for domestic and export purposes.
The Moree cotton sowing season begins in September/October with picking usually undertaken throughout March, April & May of the following year. Following picking, the cotton is pressed into modules in preparation for transport to the cotton gins for processing. Once at the gin, the cotton fibre is separated from the seed and leaves then pressed into bales weighing 227kg each before being sent overseas for spinning.
To utilise all components of the plant, the seed is crushed to create high quality cooking oil & soaps and lotions. The remaining seed crush serves as a nutritious stock feed.
The livestock industry has been prevalent in the Moree area since the 1830's and in the period up until 1940 moree was renowned as a major Australian sheep breeding shire. One of Moree'e most famed livestock areas is Gurley Station which is located 35km south of Moree and encompasses over 250,000 acres of grazing land. Cattle production in Moree remains a strong industry with many farmers diversifying their selection of livestock.
Capricorn Pastoral is a local business who specialise in the breeding of goats for domestic and export trade and are positioned as one of the largest goat exporters in Australia. Beef cattle production continues to produce high quality cattle that are well sought-after at individual property sales and at the regular sales meetings at the Moree Saleyards.
Located 35km east of Moree on the Gwydir Highway is the largest pecan orchard in the Southern Hemisphere. Stahmann Farms boasts an astonishing 85,000 mature pecan trees and produces approximately 95% of Australia's annual pecan crop which is mechanically harvested from May to June.
Leading the global industry with record breaking quality and yield rates, Stahmann Farms operates using insecticide-free, environmentally friendly practices and serves as an iconic, stand alone farming industry in Moree.
Guided tours are available by appointment only and can be booked through Tourism Moree Information Centre.Whilst at the centre, why not purchase some of the tasty pecans and pecan products?
Taking approximately five years to reach maturation and fruiting stage, olives have recently become a major player in the Moree agricultural industry. Harvested annually from February to April, olives are then processed resulting in a variety of products including table olives, olive soap and related products such as bread and tapenades.
Moree's largest olive producer is the locally owned and operated Gwydir Grove Company which was established in 1994 with a very modest harvest of 35 litres. With over 75,000 trees now mature for harvest, Gwydir Grove Company is now averaging an annual yield of 180,000 litres and has become an iconic Australian brand having won in excess of 30 food and produce awards.