MFMG linking Limestone Coast primary producers for 15 years

MacKillop Farm Management Group celebrated its 15th anniversary in style on Friday night with about 150 people attending a special dinner in Naracoorte to mark the occasion.

Guest speaker for the event was Australian Adventurer of the Year Pat Farmer, who has dedicated his life to long distance running that raises money to help the world’s poor and needy people.  He ran from the North Pole – the coldest place in the world – to the South Pole, a total of 20,919 kilometres across 14 countries and called ‘the greatest run in history’, as well as across the Simpson Desert, which is known as the hottest environment on earth.  He outlined his experiences during that run, a stint as a Federal Member of Parliament, and the numerous other long distance events he has tackled.  He encouraged people to achieve whatever they set their minds to and that success would come through a mixture of hard work, belief in yourself, dedication and a never-give-up attitude.
Former MFMG chairman Wayne Hawkins outlined the group’s history, from its early days in 1998 when it was started, to its position today with more than 120 producer-members and 25 agribusiness sponsors.  MFMG was established through the desire of a group of local farmers looking to research, trial and adopt improved farming practices in the high rainfall zone, to maximise both production and sustainability.

One of its early aims was for 50,000 hectares of the South East to be in crop by 2004 with yields improved by 25pc. That was easily surpassed and now there are 150,000 to 170,000ha per year of land cropped in the region.  Mr Hawkins acknowledged the major contributions of local farmers and agribusiness professionals to the group’s success including inaugural chairman Ian McNeil, former executive officer Ken Solly, crop consultants Trent Potter and Jen Lillecrapp and the many growers who had taken on roles within the committee.

Other highlights included the establishment of special interest groups under the MFMG banner, including a sub-committee for white clover growers in 1999, which became the MacKillop Irrigation Management Group in 2011, as well as the South East Prime Livestock Achievers in 2010.  The group’s aim is to be recognised as the leading provider of research and information relating to whole farm management to increase adoption of sustainable practices within the region.  Some of the key research topics MFMG has investigated include raised bed cropping, controlled traffic, deep ripping, white clover production, irrigation efficiency, adoption of precision agriculture, soil nutrition, stubble management and the ever-evolving crop variety trials, which include a number of National Variety Trial (NVT) sites.

MFMG also facilitates a number of field events and seminars throughout the year. The latest plant varieties and seed treatments are compared to those in common use and typical tasks such as seeding, spraying and stubble management are continually being addressed and scrutinised. At many of these events MFMG is able to utilise industry leaders as guest speakers, sharing the latest in cutting edge agriculture.

For more information on MFMG trials and research, visit or contact Felicity Turner on 0400 299 087.

MacKillop 1

Wayne Hawkins and Lachie Seears

MacKillop 2

David and Michele Farley with Pat Farmer