Farmer outstanding in her field
When times get tough, farmers adapt, modify and find ways to be more efficient and more resilient.
It’s this approach which earned Kojonup farmer Lynley Anderson the top productivity award accolade at the Syngenta 2018 Growth Awards last Wednesday evening.
With 27 years of farming experience, Ms Anderson runs 4500 head of breeding and crops 850ha at her family farm 20km north-east of Kojonup.
She said her love of agriculture had taught her a lot about life and given her a fair whack of resilience.
“As farmers you have an incredibly diverse range of skills to manage day-to-day business,” Ms Anderson said. “I love being my own boss, I love working outside, and I love working with animals.
“The variety of the work is great, but I also like the challenges . . . there are always different challenges in farming and that keeps it interesting.”
Ms Anderson was a midwife and “quite happy with that” before she went home to “give her parents a hand” 27 years ago.
She never left the farm, and now runs about 50/50 crop and livestock, with canola, barley and oats, plenty of sheep and Anderson Rams’ Poll Merino stud.
Competition was so tight, judges decided to bestow Ms Anderson with a joint award with New Zealand South Island grain and vegetable grower Murray Turley.
Judges congratulated Ms Anderson for her use of on-farm technology and her ecologically-minded operation, which includes widespread ground cover across her gravel, loam and clay soils.
She makes sure not to overgraze her land, utilising satellite imagery to predict pasture growth and match estimates with carrying capacity.
In the tech space, the Great Southern Grazier recently completed a trial using sensor collars to mother up ewes and lambs.
Ms Anderson is also an active participant with grower groups Southern Dirt and Muchas Gracias, as well as the WA Livestock Research Council.
The awards were judged by experts in agriculture, recruitment, media and the environmental industries, who selected eight winners — six from Australia and two from New Zealand.
Watheroo farmer Brad Millsteed was also recognised for his efforts to help the mental health of isolated farmers.
Syngenta Australasia Territory head Paul Luxton congratulated the winners and said it was getting “harder to narrow down” each year.
“Times have rarely been harder than they are now for farmers and their advisers who are dedicated to growing the food and fibre that helps feed and clothe us all,” he said. “Growing seasons are less reliable than ever and the rural hubs they call home continue to shrink, contributing to feelings of isolation and even depression.
“Our winners demonstrate a tremendous capacity to do more with less as real innovators, while caring for the land and each other.”
Winners of other categories included Bairnsdale agronomist Noel Jansz in the productivityadviser category, New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research researcher Jim Walker in the sustainability-researcher category, South Australian Mt Barker vegetable grower Scott Samwell in the community and people-grower category, and Mangoplah business owner Ginny Stevens in the judges choice-advisor category, and Bundaberg sugarcane grower Jack Russo in the sustainability-grower category.
Kojonup farmer Lynley Anderson was recognised for her successful farming operation.