Murray Plains Farmers aims to increase the productivity, profitability and sustainability of the region’s primary producers.
Where it all began
MPF is a not-for-profit farming systems group covering the broadacre farming region in South Australia between the River Murray and Adelaide Hills. Its area spans from Murray Bridge in the south to Truro in the north. It also receives interest from the eastern side of the river towards Bow Hill.
The group works to achieve its aim by coordinating research, development and extension/adoption – through on-farm trials, training and events – to increase knowledge and improve skills in primary production and farm business management. It is also creating a network of producers in the area who can share information and compare farm practices.
In recent years, MPF has formalised its direction and sought to bring new external knowledge to its activities and generate locally conducted research, based on the feedback of its grower-member committee.
In the Spotlight
MPF runs an annual
schedule of events …
The annual post-harvest event is held in January or February. The event includes speakers reporting on the year that was for MPF’s research projects and explores topics or issues for the year ahead as part of a broader social/networking event celebrating harvest.
MPF often hosts a mid-season activity after seeding on a topic or issue that is timely and relevant for the year.
MPF’s flagship spring event is the annual crop walk. This afternoon event usually combines an evening dinner and/or workshop session. It is usually held on the third Friday of September.
Murray Plains Farmers is a not-for-profit farming systems group covering the broadacre agriculture region in South Australia between the River Murray and Adelaide Hills. It was established in 2014 and incorporated in 2017.
MPF was established as a result of a demonstrated need for a farming systems group to cover the Murraylands region. It also replaced the former Murray Plains Crop Competition, which started in the 1920s and concluded in 2015.
The Murraylands differs from the Mallee and the Hills
It has vastly different soil types, from very heavy soils, in many parts clay-based, through to limestone outcrops and sandy peaks, sometimes all in the same property. This gives capacity for higher yields and hence the need to know how to manage larger stubble loads.
There is a wide variation in rainfall from north to south and west to east, making the maximisation of water use efficiency a key focus.
Anecdotally, the Murraylands has more chemical resistance than the Mallee and so herbicide rotation is an important focus.
Majority of the region’s farmers own mixed properties, growing grain but also running either sheep, cattle or pigs. Some have land in the Hills, which means managing enterprises across a mix of rainfall zones.
Adrian is a cropping and livestock producer at Sanderston, taking over the family property where he grew up. He is married with three teenage children and prioritises volunteering with his church, community and local tennis clubs. He believes Murray Plains Farmers is vital for the region to further enhance efficiency in cropping operations, to grow ‘more crop on less rain’.
Dan farms at Sedan and works as Farming Operations Assistant Manager at Thornby’s at Sanderston. His role is varied and spans both the cropping and livestock sides of the enterprise. Dan believes Murray Plains Farmers is vital to ensure that research and development is carried out in the region, and that producers have access to the latest findings.
Rebekah farms with her family at Punthari. She has a Bachelor of Agricultural Sciences from University of Adelaide and works for agriculture consultancy business Pinion Advisory, based in Freeling. She is a current Grain Producers SA Emerging Leader and passionate about further developing growers’ capacity in the Murray Plains district.
Fiona farms with her husband Alex and their three sons at Sanderston. She is a registered nurse by training and spent 15 years working at the Lyell McEwin Hospital and the past five years with Child & Family Health Service at Murray Bridge. She recently stepped back from nursing to take-on a full-time role in the family business, Thornby. The McGormans run a cropping enterprise and a lamb feedlot, producing premium lamb for customers around Australia.
Will farms in the Sedan-Towitta area, cropping wheat, barley, oats, canola and lupins and running a self-replacing Merino flock. He is involved in his local Country Fire Service brigade and the Sedan-Cambrai football and cricket clubs. He was a committee member of the long-running Murray Plains Crop Competition and is proud to be a founding committee member of Murray Plains Farmers.
Steen farms at Palmer, cropping wheat, barley, canola and pulses and running a self-replacing Merino flock as well as producing prime lambs. He hosts a number of trials including the long-running GRDC National Variety Trial, SARDI rhizoctonia trial and SARDI trace element trial. He and wife Deanna are currently participating in the Farm Owner’s Academy business management program.
Many hands make light work, and we’d love to hear from you if you’d like to be involved in our committee! Member nominations are taken before every annual general meeting, or outside the AGM if a casual vacancy is available. Contact a committee member today.
Murray Plains Farmers represents a unique opportunity to connect with the region’s producers. MPF is seeking sponsors to partner in achieving its key aim – increasing the productivity, profitability and sustainability of the region’s primary producers. If you are a local business looking to connect with Murray Plains producers to promote your product or service offering, then get in touch!
Needing a trial site
The Murray Plains is located about an hour from Adelaide so if you are a company or a researcher in need of a trial site, contact our coordinator. Our members’ properties have a variety of soil types and growing conditions and host a range of trials, including a GRDC National Variety Trial site.