Grains Research and Development

Date: 01.11.2001

Sustainable farming wins Environmental award

MALLEE farmers are not only farming better - they're winning environmental prizes for it.

The Mallee Sustainahle Farming Project (MSFP), featured in issue 35 of Ground Cover, has won the BHP Landcare Research Award in South Australia and the SA River Murray Catchment Management Award.

The Mallee team is also a contender as finalist in the yet-to-be-decided New South Wales Award, and earl ier this year made the finals of the prestigious national Banksia Environmental Awards. The farmer-driven project spans 4 million hectares of low-rainfall mallee in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

"These environmental awards recognise the MSFP's success in developing sustainable farming systems," said project CEO Marion Murphy. 'The potential exists for the low-rainrall malice to become one or the most environmentally sustainable farming regions in Australia. The low rain fall actually is an advantage in sustainable farming, as groundwater recharge and associated salinity prohlems are more easily controlled.

"A key outcome of our work has been to identify and demonstrate to farmers that improved farming systems can benefit both profitability and the environment. A strong environmental ethic is apparent among farmers when environmental performance is reported."

A henchmarking survey suggested that farmers needed to see a system working locally before they adopted it. So the project

developed a system of on-farm 'focus paddocks' across the diverse Malice area to show farmers the hard cash results of using different farming systems.

In issue 35 of Ground Cover we introduced 'focus paddocks'. In this issue we talk to several other Mallee farmers and what they are learning from their paddocks.

Contact: Ms Marion Murphy 035021 9413 email mfmurphy@dlwc.nsw.gov.au