Former young farmer of the year Anika Molesworth believes the CSIRO’s state of the climate report for 2018 will have sustainable farm practices looking ripe for Griffith agriculturalists.
Winning the title in 2015, Mrs Molesworth was also made the young sustainability award winner at the 2018 Green Globe awards.
Originally from Broken Hill Mrs Molesworth has studied crop production in Griffith for the last eight years and is presently completing a PHD at Deakin University’s Center For Regional and Rural Futures.
“My research is on how to reuse and revalue agricultural by-products in Griffith,” Mrs Molesworth said.
“I am looking at organic by products for fertilizer crops and have been trialing using chicken manure for cotton fertilizer.
“The trials are coming from chicken sheds around Griffith and the Riverina and using the manure on local crops and exploring how this could be a substitute to synthetic fertilizers or urea,” Mrs Molesworth said.
While the CSRIO’s report contains many alarming figures, including an 11 per cent decline in annual rainfall across the months of April to October throughout South Eastern Australia since 1990.
Locally, Mrs Molesworth believes the most alarming aspect of the 2018 report is evidence of a 41 per cent decline in Murray Darling Basin stream flows since the mid 1980s.
According to Mrs Molesworth with the states aging electricity infrastructure driving up the price of power, and drought driving up the price of water, renewable energy and more sustainable farming practices are becoming increasingly viable in Griffith.
More is needed nationally however Mrs Molesworth said, to investigate and keep farmers informed for the potentials they have to farm more environmentally friendly yet cost effective methods.
“We are using drones and soil sensors to monitor crop health and respond more accurately, livestock users are using less resources because of extensive research into breeding,” Mrs Molesworth said.
“We are also seeing an uptake of renewable energy in the Riverina, people are installing solar panels to lower the irrigation pump cost.
“Investment into information, research, education and extension services on a national level is vital to allow farmers to access the available information for adopting sustainable practice.”
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