About us

Mallee Sustainable Farming (MSF) brings farmers and researchers together to build more efficient, profitable and sustainable farming businesses in the low-rainfall Mallee region across New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

The MSF Advantage

Our Vision

Dynamic, profitable and sustainable farming.

Our Mission

Provide excellence in research, development and extension initiatives for the dryland Mallee of South Eastern Australia.

Principal Purpose

To protect and enhance the natural environment by the encouragement of sustainable dryland farming practices.

ABOUT MSF

Our farmers access local, evidence-based knowledge and practical advice on no-till and reduced tillage systems, improved soil nutrition, crop rotation, agronomy, soil water efficiency and soil microbiology.
MSF is changing the face of farming in some of Australia’s most challenging cropping and livestock grazing country by working with its members and industry experts to deliver the best in specialist agricultural research and development while also boosting farmers’ productivity and harvest yields.

Our Service Area

Mallee Sustainable Farming (MSF) is the leading farmer-driven research and advisory organisation for dryland farmers across the low-rainfall Mallee in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

In partnership with industry collaborators including the CSIRO and GRDC, MSF leads the way in delivering ground-breaking research to Mallee farmers. It’s tested on local farms and demonstrates the benefits of the latest proven sustainable farming techniques.

Our Future

With over 2000 dryland farming businesses across the Mallee, MSF continues to assist cropping and livestock farmers to meet their research and knowledge needs.

As our membership grows, more farmers are receiving new, updated and timely information on the latest scientific research and best land management practices to improve their farm business’ efficiency, sustainability and profitability.

Our History

Formed in 1997 to bring conservation farming practices to the Mallee, MSF works with farmers to increase the adoption of sustainable farming technology by identifying barriers and finding scientifically proven solutions.
Over more than two decades, MSF has delivered knowledge and resources to farmers through its collaborative research projects, trial site field days, FarmTalk fact sheets and Mallee Research Update events. Our projects have not only increased farm profitability, they are also delivering environmental and social gains for rural communities across the four million hectares of Mallee covered by MSF.
MSF

Meet the Board

MSF is governed by a Board of up to 11 farmer and specialist Directors. The Board plays an important part in setting the strategic direction of Mallee Sustainable Farming with a vision to promote dynamic, profitable and sustainable farming systems across the low rainfall Mallee region. 

MSF Farmer Directors

NICOLE BYRNES

MSF Chair & NSW Farmer DirectoR

Director since 2021. 

Nicole Byrnes farms with her husband in the Pooncarie district in Western NSW on wheat and sheep stations, over two properties totalling 12,000 acres situated on the Darling River and Great Anabranch. Nicole completed a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Hons) at Melbourne University and a PhD from Charles Sturt University and has recently served a term on Western Local Land Services board. She currently works part time at SuniTAFE as the program leader for horticulture innovation and technology. Nicole has been involved with MSF for many years, including as the former extension coordinator and as a field day host. Nicole is also involved in much community initiatives including the Pooncarie Field Days, and the Pooncarie Fire and Ambulance teams.

Gavin Howley

MSF Vice Chair & NSW Farmer Director

Director since 2019.
Gavin farms with his wife, Rhiannon and his mother and father. “Woodmount” is approx 6k hectares about half being floodplain forests on the Wakool – Murray junction at Kyalite. The farm has been in his family for over 100yrs and is a grain and sheep farm.

Chris Hunt

MSF Treasurer & VIC Farmer Director

Director since 2018. Chris is based in the Millewa farming 5,000 ha, growing cereal grain and hay, grain legumes and running sheep. 

Andrew Biele

SA Farmer Director

Director since 2014.
Andrew started his farming career on the 2,000ha mixed family farm at New Residence, west of Loxton SA. Encouraged to get a trade Andrew qualified as a mechanic and gained valuable machinery knowledge, always assisting in harvest, sowing and shearing during these busy times.

PRUE LYNCH

VIC Farmer Director

Director since 2021

Prue and her husband Chris along with Chris’s parents, run a 23,000 acre farm that involves cropping, a self-replacing merino enterprise and hay production and Prue is also the Manager of the Ouyen Livestock Exchange.

Prue loves living in the Mallee because of the amazing bond and generosity of its’ people, as well as finding the agricultural industry very exciting because of its’ incredible growth, advancement and opportunities. Prue is an advocate for women playing a much greater role in the industry.
Prue is passionate about strategic planning, continuous improvement and learning, with her long-term goals to continue to expand and develop her skills in business and the agriculture industry.

CHAD NICKOLLS

SA FARMER Director

Director since 2021.

Chad is a grain and hay producer from Pinnaroo, farming with his father and brother and families. He studied a Bachelor of Ag Science at Adelaide Uni and did a short stint as a graduate agro with Landmark before returning home to the family farm.
Chad finds farming in the Mallee challenging and rewarding and is also involved with the local and wider ag community where he can meet like minded people who also share a passion for agriculture.
Chad’s long term goals are to be an efficient and productive producer while maintaining a sustainable system which can hopefully offer the next generation the same opportunities he has been given. 

Therese McBeath

Specialist Director

Director since 2021.

Therese joined the MSF Board in early 2021 as a Specialist Director. Her current role as a research Team Leader in the Systems program at the Adelaide CSIRO Agriculture and Food Waite Institute means Therese brings a wealth of knowledge to the team. Therese has experience and qualifications in a range of research roles and agronomy.

Kenton Porker

Specialist Director

Director since 2019.
Kenton brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to MSF. Kenton grew up in the Mallee and started his career at SARDI in 2010 as a durum and barley agronomist before returning to the University of Adelaide to embark on a PhD with GRDC investment in 2014. Kenton returned to SARDI in 2017 to lead the Waite cereal agronomy group.

MSF - Kenton Porker

MSF Team

Tanja Morgan

Program Manager

Tanja is from Jabuk and is a wife to @AdamMorgan77 (Twitter), a mother to three daughters, and partner of Morgan Partners Farms. As Tanja says, “multitasking at its finest or worst – depends on the day!”

We asked Tanja what she loves about living in the Mallee and this is what she said:
“I love the peace and quiet, roaming the farm with my Labradors by my side. Working for MSF and travelling through the tri-state area (before COVID-19), interacting with Mallee farmers from SA, VIC & NSW.
Low rainfall farmers demonstrate the meaning of resilience and making the most of what the land has to offer. Can’t go past the spectacular Mallee sunsets.”

Kylie Matthewson

EXTENSION OFFICER

Kylie Matthewson joined the MSF team as Extension Officer in March 2022.

Kylie grew up on a farm at Cooke Plains SA, and completed a Bachelor of Agriculture at Roseworthy. She and husband Sean live in Tailem Bend and have three young sons. 

Michael Moodie

Research Contractor,
Frontier Farming Systems

Frontier Farming Systems comprises of a small team of experts led by Michael Moodie, a well-known professional who has 15 years’ experience of delivering research, development and extension to the Mallee and wider low rainfall farming region of Southern Australia.

Collectively, the Frontier Farming System’s team has more than 50 years combined experience in implementing activities such as small plot research trials, paddock-scale trials and demonstrations, resource monitoring programs, field days, workshops, seminars and the development of extension and communication products.

We value Michael and the Frontier Farming System’s team’s services and passion for dryland farming systems.

MSF - Michael Moodie

Kylie Aikman

Admin Business Manager

Kylie is from Underbool, Victoria and is MSF’s Business Administration Manager.
She is skilled at many things and is an expert at juggling her work with MSF while also helping out with the many jobs on the Aikman’s farm. Kylie is a wife to Mallee Farmer, Garth Aikman, a mother to two daughters. She loves helping out at various community and sporting events.

“I love living in the Mallee for its rural lifestyle. Wide open spaces with fresh air and loads of room for the kids to play and explore.”

Kylie keeps the business wheels of MSF turning. She is super organised and helps to make sure we do everything on time. We would be lost without her!

Jenny Bennett

Board Support

Jenny Bennett was born in Mildura and was raised on a citrus and vine property. She married a Merbein “blockie” and having lived on the land all her life she is very interested in farming and agriculture. 

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