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WA couple turn sheep paddock into citrus orchard after underground water discovery

Could underground water turn the Western Australian wheatbelt town of Moora into a horticulture hotspot? West Australian farming couple Sue Middleton and Michael Brennan believe they are proof it can.

Nine years ago, they established a 170,000-tree citrus orchard on a sheep property at Moora.

The presence of underground water gave them and their business partners the confidence to invest $20 million in the project, which has created jobs and pumped millions into the local economy.

      

“If this was still a sheep paddock it would produce about $150,000 worth of income a year and there’d be less than one job,” Ms Middleton said.

“As a horticulture business it will produce $15 to 20 million in turnover a year, plus 40 to 50 jobs, so the difference is absolutely extraordinary, and for the community of Moora that means it’s been future-proofed as well.”

The council hopes Moora Citrus’ success would encourage others to switch to or invest in horticulture.

“Everything for the last 100 years has happened in the old traditional form of cropping and mixed farming which is low human input — Moora Citrus has been a trailblazer and shown what can be done,” said councillor Colin Gardiner.

“We are optimistic there are projects in the wind where that water can drive intensive horticulture, which gives you so much more potential for jobs and that ripple effect which goes into your whole economy.”

      

To read whole article: ABC Rural

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moora Citrus