Farmer out­stand­ing in her field

Great Southern Herald - - Front Page - Cally Dupe

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.

Pic­ture: Bob Gar­nant

Ko­jonup farmer Lyn­ley An­der­son was recog­nised for her suc­cess­ful farm­ing op­er­a­tion.

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