At a glance
Who: Fiona Marshall
What: Farmer, Riverine Plains (Farming Systems Group) Chair, Grain Growers National Policy Group Member
Where: Mulwala NSW in the Southern Riverina of NSW just north of the Murray River
Can you tell us about your property/enterprise?
I farm with my family on a property where my husband Craig is the third generation and our children will be the fourth generation to farm this land.
We farm 4000Ha mainly grain growing with a prime lamb enterprise.
What are some of the opportunities you see for your business/property in coming years?
- Our biggest opportunity in the near future is our children joining our farm business bringing energy and enthusiasm and a future focus.
- Increasing biodiversity and soil carbon will help us mitigate climate risk on our farm.
- Strategic use of emerging technologies to fine tune farming operations and reduce our reliance on increasingly expensive imported farm inputs.
And what are your main challenges now, and into the future?
- A changing climate causing extreme weather events increasing production risk
- increasing input prices without equivalent commodity price increases
- increasing property prices making expansion to gain more efficient economy of scale difficult.
- Uninformed government regulation making it difficult to farm.
How has climate change impacted your farm business?
We have seen an increase in extreme weather events
- Late season frosts
- Increased summer rainfall
- An increase in frequency and intensity of severe damaging storms
- Drier dry seasons and wetter wet seasons
What are some of the on-farm adaptations or changes you’ve been employing in recent years and what’s driving them? How successful have they been, and what benefits have you seen as a result?
- We use a minimum till cropping system to reduce soil disturbance.
- We conserve crop stubbles where possible
- We control summer weeds to conserve soil moisture and plant nutrients.
- We use lime and gypsum to improve soil health (these changes have led to improved yields)
- We use containment yards for stock to conserve ground cover in dry conditions so pastures recover quickly when favorable weather conditions return.
What are your hopes for Ag in Australia, into the future?
I would like to see Australian farmers supported by the government and community so they can continue to be amongst the most innovative in the world. I would like to see the Australian Ag sector become less reliant on imported inputs and focus on leading the way in the use of renewable energy.