Mallee Sustainable Farming (MSF)

Mallee Sustainable Farming (MSF)  is a successful farmer driven organisation delivering research and extension services to the < 350mm rainfall Mallee cropping regions of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. MSF operates within a region of over four million hectares, extending beyond Balranald in the east to Murray Bridge in the west.

MSF Inc. formed in 1997 in response to recognition that conservation farming practices had not been widely adopted across the region. There was a need to identify the issues restricting the adoption of technology that would enhance the development of profitable and sustainable farming systems. During its first 15 years of operation, MSF has achieved a great deal. Increases in farm profitability have been observed as a result of MSF activities and project leadership, along with environmental, community and social gains. MSF continues to strive to be relevant to farmers’ information needs.

In delivering on its mission, MSF is a project specialist providing leadership, coordination of project partner arrangements and the fulfilment of project based field and other work to the final evaluation and reporting stages required by a range of funding bodies and supporting agencies.

The Mallee has approximately 2000 dryland farming families whose farming activities include cropping (wheat, barley, vetch, lupins and canola) and livestock (sheep for wool, lambs and cattle for meat). An increasing number of these families are members of MSF, receiving new and timely information on research and best management practices. Such activities include facilitated farmer groups, fact sheets, farm walks, trial sites, field days and research compendium publications.

In its project-based and other activities, Mallee Sustainable Farming (MSF) continually builds on its history of close collaboration with Research, Development & Extension (R, D & E) partners including farmers, RD&E organisations, agronomists, state-based extension agents and other organisations that provide products and services to farmers.

Project work undertaken by MSF enables farmers, researchers, extensionists and agribusiness to improve their knowledge and skill in farming.

MSF projects have identified and promoted sustainable farming practices that align with those of partners such as the catchment management authorities within the Mallee.  MSF has researched and developed cropping and livestock systems projects which contribute to the CMAs’ strategies:

  • Reducing the threat of wind erosion by utilising minimum tillage cropping technology and maintaining
  • ground cover by retaining crop residues.
  • Improving the physical, chemical and biological health of Mallee soils.
  • Reducing the threat of dryland salinity by minimising ground water recharge through higher water use
  • in continuous cropping systems.

A number of challenges face farmers throughout the MSF region into the future. These include the impacts of climate change on farm profitability such as less water availability during the seasons of winter and spring, the rise in the cost of farming inputs such as fertiliser and fuel, the falling numbers of farmers in the Mallee area and the increasing competitiveness of gaining funds in the government and private sectors to invest in research and extension in the region.


Postal Address 1/2103 Fifteenth St. Irymple, VIC 3498
PO Box 843 Irymple, Vic 3498
Primary Contact Stuart Putland
Phone 03 5024 5835 or 0427 219 103



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