Creating a Property "Plan"
Property Planning is useful for any size property—not just commercial farms. A plan for your property can help you achieve your lifestyle goals, while also maintaining environmental values. A plan helps identify and rationalise the work required and costs to develop and maintain your property. Remember, with proper planning you will often only need to do things once!
Property planning involves assessing all your resources, both natural and built, as well as planning the enterprises or activities you would like to undertake on your land. It is a plan to use the land according to its capacity and to ensure you don’t deplete its natural resources. In fact, good planning will protect and improve these resources.
A property plan also helps you to identify problem areas and risks to your enterprises, such as waterlogged soils, vegetation decline or the risk of flooding.
A number of agencies conduct property planning courses and many resources are available for assessing and managing a rural property.
Identifying Property Features and Land Units
The first step in property planning is to identify property features and land management units. Property features include farm buildings, yards, watering points, roads and fences. Land management units are identified mainly by soil type, slope, aspect, vegetation and water resources.
Mapping Your Property
A picture is worth a thousand words. Drawing all these features on a map is a useful way of showing where everything is and how they interact. Topographic maps, aerial photographs and satellite imagery can help identify features such as dams, drainage lines, vegetation types, and problem areas such as erosion. Aerial photos and satellite imagery is available from the NSW Department of Lands, from your local Catchment Management Authority or from the internet. All vary in cost, quality and usefulness, depending on how you want to use them or how large your property is. You should try to get the most current image available. You can map your property and complete your plan either digitally or as a hard copy with plastic overlays for different features. However, you don’t need to use these sorts of resources, a sketch of your property drawn to scale would also allow you to map your property plan.