Introducing our Farmer eXchange Farmer Advisory Team
Hugh Landale is a young producer and farm manager in the Riverina of NSW that is throwing his all into running a mixed irrigation and dryland operation. He is passionate about all things farming, trying new things, and even though is under-30, committed to building a legacy for generations to come.
We sat down with Hugh to learn more about what he does and why he does it and his vision for the Farmer eXchange. It is interesting to hear from Hugh as he didn’t consider himself as someone who would usually be involved and contribute in a project like this.
Hugh, tell us a little bit about yourself!
I grew up on the family farm just North of Deniliquin, NSW. I have worked in many parts of the Ag industry including a barramundi farm in Northern Territory, small seed production and fat lamb production in South Australia and running a livestock contracting business in the Riverina. I was fortunate to study at Marcus Oldham College and graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor of Business (Agriculture).
I returned home in 2013 to ‘Dahwilly’ our family farm.I absolutely love it here and am very fortunate to have the opportunity to live and work where I grew up amongst my family and friends. This country is in my bones and there is no place I would rather be!
Currently, I am managing and leasing country with my partner Airlie, including a 2,500ha mixed farming operation of both irrigated and dryland cropping and pastures. We produce rice, sorghum, winter cereals, pulses, canola, oatern/lucerne/clover hay, while breeding fat lambs, merino wool, and Hereford/Angus cattle.
It is quite a busy enterprise mix at the moment. Diversity and the ability to switch between enterprises easily is still the key to our business .
However I have found it is easy to spread yourself too thinly, so we are currently trying to simplify the business by understanding what enterprises are making us the best returns and what the most suitable enterprise mix is.
We are also focused heavily on improving the irrigation setups and using our water efficiently, to the best possible use and in a sustainable manner. This will allow us to move into crops like cotton and corn, while being able to value add on the feed crops by finishing off livestock ourselves and trading when markets allow us.
What is your farming dream and vision?
My dream is to build and create a sustainable farming business for Airlie and myself. A key part of this is building our livestock numbers while using water for the best return.
It really boils down to being the best we can be, continuously growing and learning and passing on something for the next generation. I hope we have a sustainable, well rounded business, and most importantly, enjoy the ride along the way.
Why did you get involved in Farmer eXchange project?
I got involved for two key reasons.
Airlie asked me to be involved initially as she knew I would challenge her and provide honest feedback to her throughout the development process. As partners, we are each other’s greatest supporters, but also sometimes each other’s harshest critics. I’m probably someone who can be a bit stubborn and this was another reason it was important I be involved. Airlie really wants to create a solution useful for ALL farmers and she believed I was representative of a subset of farmers who may be more nervous or unwilling to engage in a platform like this. I’m excited by the development and the usefulness to farmers like me that are usually more cautious of the benefit of online solutions to our day-to-day operations.
Secondly, I want to constantly learn and improve our operation. I’m always seeking advice from experts and more experienced farmers to guide and assist and ensure I’m going in the right direction. The Farmer eXchange will open up the farming world exponentially for me, and many others, and I wanted to ensure the solution that will enable this made sense to us from a practical point of view.
I see the Farmer eXchange Platform as becoming a beneficial resource to helping me grow my knowledge, experience and decision making on farm through providing a platform that will allow me to engage with farmers across varying commodities to share my thoughts and ideas with for the family farm. I look forward to being able to gauge other farmers opinions on new technologies, seed varieties, cropping techniques etc. that I would not normally have the opportunity to do so, other than with a few of the local farmers down at the pub.
Who you think will benefit from the Farmer eXchange?
I really think it will benefit everyone that gives it a go. To be able to create a sense of community online amongst farmers where they feel comfortable in asking a difficult question or asking for help, I believe will prove widely beneficial to the industry.
- It will particularly assist new entrants to the industry and people looking to build their knowledge and peer group across agriculture.
- I also like that it will enable older and more experienced farmers to contribute and share their knowledge, particularly those like me who may have a fear of public speaking. There aren’t a heap of avenues for these members of our community to share what they have learnt, particularly if they live in isolated areas or aren’t comfortable with the attention that speaking at an event comes with. I look forward to speaking with older farmers and experienced farmers that I may not have been able to speak to otherwise.
- I believe it will be a good spot to share learnings on different technologies and machinery, or new enterprise systems. It is really expensive to buy equipment and new software and it would be brilliant to share experiences between each other to help make decisions on farm.
Your vision for the Farmer eXchange
I’m not really in big grand statements, but I hope that it is a positive culture and community where people are encouraging and helping each other out. It would be so great if we moved away from concentrating purely on the negative and begin being constructive. No trolls, no bullies…
My vision is that is that people like me, who wouldn’t normally contribute, get involved and gain/share farm production knowledge as well as feel part of something bigger beyond our individual boundary.
What is the first question you would ask on the eXchange?
I have a million questions everyday! Let me just check my Google history…. Just this week, I have tried to get information on medics, monthly DAP fertiliser prices, wheat varieties, how to shift heavy loads, value of properties in the area, environmental ecosurveys in our area, MSA accreditation, different rainwater tanks, and how to make a fire cart!
But, if I could had the opportunity to ask some questions in the Farmer eXchange right now they would be:
- What is the best way to sow medics?
- Pasture mixes for dryland in the Riverina?
- Sowing spaces for cropping and irrigation?
- Double cropping rotation in irrigation and what crops are best in double rotation?
- Market opportunities for corn and other summer crops (i.e. mungbeans…)
Thanks to Hugh for his time this week. We are more encouraged than ever after speaking to him about the Farmer eXchange helping to connect farmers to share knowledge and get questions answered in a new way that benefits not only the individual farmer, but creates a pretty great inclusive culture more widely.
As part of our launch of the Farmer eXchange, we will be meeting with farmers across the country. One stop in this roadshow is Deniliquin on 16th April 2018 (evening). Pencil it in your diaries now!