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This event was a combined webinar and paddock walk in early September 2022 with Jo Powells and Fiona Leech, Agricultural Advisors from South-East Local Land Services.
The topics discussed in the webinar include:
You can watch the webinar here.
The paddock walk was an opportunity for landholders to practice their plant identification skills and look at the grazing values of some of the main pasture species in the Yass area.
These are the main points from the event:
Jo Powells and Fiona Leech with landholder Christine
Managing native pastures NSWDPI
Native pasture management and delayed grazing
How you can help protect native grasslands
Pasture legumes and their benefit
Laggan grazing demonstration (South-East Local Land Services)
Alternative grazing demonstration (South East Local Land Services)
Threatened ecological communities ACT/NSW
Pasture recovery after bushfire
South-East Local Land Services – Contact us
Grassed up - Guidelines for revegetating with Australian Natives
This event was made possible with funding from the Australian Government through the National Landcare Program and in-kind support from South East Local Land Services.
On Saturday 10 September 2022 twenty-six landholders participated in the Woodland Bird and Habitat Workshop held at Mulloon, just outside of Bungendore. Richard Beggs (ANU Sustainable Farms), Tobi Edmunds (NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust) and Jed Pearson (Molonglo Catchment Group) joined us to talk about native birds and their habitat requirements. The aim of the workshop was to highlight the importance of retaining and creating habitat for woodland birds.
Jed, Richard and Tobi - presenting at the workshop
Small woodland birds are amongst the most threatened groups of birds in South-Eastern New South Wales. This is due to habitat loss from development, agriculture, lack of food resources and competition for habitat from birds like noisy minors.
These are the key points from the workshop:
For birds - Pizzey & Knight Birds of Australia and Canberra Nature Map
For plants – Picture This and Plants of South- Eastern Australia
5. Landholders with an in-perpetuity agreement with the BCT are eligible for rate relief on the part of the property being conserved under an agreement.
Richard identified twenty-one bird species and Jed three species of frogs, including:
The frogs were the Common Eastern Froglet (Crinia signifera), the Spotted Marsh Frog (Limnodynastes tasmaniensis) and Eastern Sign-bearing Froglet (Crinia parinsignifera).
Biodiversity Conservation Trust
Friends of Grasslands Floristic Score
ANU Sustainable Farms farm dams
Landcare NSW Find a Landcare Group
This activity is part of the Partnering in Private Land Conservation. A joint initiative delivered by Landcare NSW and the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust. Thanks to ANU Sustainable Farms, the Molonglo Catchment Group and the Biodiversity Conservation Trust for in-kind support of this workshop.
This is a summary of a webinar and paddock walk held in June 2022.
The webinar was recorded on Thursday 17 June 2022. During the webinar we discussed managing blackberries in creeks and gullies with Lori Gould from the Australian River Restoration Centre and small farmer Christine Aughey.
The topics discussed in the webinar include blackberry control options, managing a weed control project and where to start, preventing erosion after the weeds are removed, fencing and revegetation.
Watch the webinar
After the webinar a group of farmers visited a small farm just outside of Yass for a paddock walk to discuss blackberry management. These are the take away messages from the event.
1. The focus of weed management has shifted from eradication to asset protection and containment. Some weeds like blackberry are known as transformer weeds. Transformer weeds have a high impact on native plant communities and degraded landscapes by transforming ecosystem processes and functioning. Transformer weeds use their competitive advantage to develop monocultures by modifying the soil and conditions to their preferred niche. They are also able to recruit seedlings easily, often using a number of different methods. Through these processes transformer weeds change the surrounding environment to favour their spread. Blackberry plants for example are able to spread using seed, seedlings from their roots (that can extend for 4 meters from the plant) and by growing from the tips of branches when they touch the ground.
2. Weeds like blackberry are opportunistic and will colonise bare soil and eroded slopes. Lori recommends keeping ground cover above 80% so there is no space for weeds to germinate. Some weeds are considered pioneer plants, modifying the soil and habitat conditions so other plants can establish once they have completed their lifecycle. Some examples may include cape weed and Patterson’s Curse.
3. The native raspberry Rubus parvifolius, looks similar to the introduced blackberry Rubus fruticosus. Native raspberry has a different leaf shape to blackberry and is red on the outer leaf margin, the veins are also more pronounced. Blackberry has nine different species in NSW.
4. Wetting agents used with herbicides are not approved for use along waterways, Glyphosate is the only approved herbicide for blackberry control in waterways. You can apply for an off-label permit for other herbicides through the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA). Lori recommends that you only spray actively growing plants, just before or while they are fruiting. Care must be taken when spraying in waterways, if you are unsure of how to do it seek professional advice. In some cases the paint and brush method may be a more targeted approach.
5. Lori suggests you aim to control 30% of the weed infestation/year. By using a staged approach you can replant the affected areas and leave some habitat for woodland birds until you can get the infestation under control.
Rivers of Carbon Blackberry Guide
Mt Lofty Rangers video - on how to differentiate blackberry and native raspberry
Maintaining ground cover for water infiltration - Local Land Services
Goat webinar (includes information on how to use goats to control weeds)
Herds for Hire
NSW DPI Weed Wise
Victorian blackberry control taskforce
Plant NET native raspberry
Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicine Authority
This event was sponsored by the Australian Government with funding from the National Landcare Program.
This webinar was recorded on Thursday 12 May 2022 with presenters Dr Sandra Baxendell from Goat Veterinary Consultancies-Goat Vet Oz and Elisabeth Larsen from Herds for Hire. Dr Sandra Baxendell is a specialist goat veterinarian based in Queensland, she has decades of experience advising farmers and industry about goat health, management and nutrition. Elisabeth Larsen is a goat husbandry entrepreneur who is using a herd of goats to manage problem weed infestations in South Eastern NSW.
In this webinar Sandra discussed goat enterprises for small farms, common equipment used for goat management, worm management and common health conditions affecting goats. Elisabeth talked about her experience managing goats for weed control.
A copy of the webinar recording can be found on the Small Farms Network Capital Region YouTube Channel, click here.
Below is a summary of the webinar and a list of resources relating to goat management.
Drenches for goats - using them correctly and legally
Drench decision guide for sheep and goats
Drenches for goats: alternatives to registered commercial drench products
Managing worms in organic goat production systems
Goat health and vaccinations
Goat Handling Standards - Animal Health Australia
Australian welfare standards for Goats
The palatability and potential toxicity of Australian weeds to goats - Agrifutures
Goats at the Australian National Botanic Gardens
This event was made possible with funding from the National Landcare Program and in-kind support from Elisabeth Larsen, Herds for Hire.
Some key points from the workshop:
Marking is a set of procedures designed to improve lamb health, manage breeding and identify sheep. Marking is typically done when lambs are around 4-6 weeks of age. Typical procedures are ear tagging, castrating ram lambs that are not needed for breeding, tail docking and vaccinations.
There are two types of pain to consider for lamb marking: immediate (fast) pain and chronic (slow) pain.
While traditionally lamb marking was done with no pain relief, the gold standard approach to lamb marking is to provide both immediate and chronic pain relief.
Ear tags may be applied to lambs at marking. Where there is a need to know parentage of lambs (eg. in a sheep stud), ear tags may be applied within a day or two of birth.
Sheep need an ear tag with the Property Identification Code (PIC) for the property where they are born before they leave the property. In NSW, tags can be visual tags (all the information is printed on the tag) or EID tags (all the information is printed on the tag plus the tag can be scanned with a digital scanner).
There is a convention that each year there will be a different colour used for lamb ear tags. It is easy to search for the table of sheep ear tag colours online. The colour for 2022 is red. If a sheep born on another property loses its ear tag while on your property, your only option is to replace it with a pink post breeder tag showing your PIC.
Another convention is to put the tag in the right ear of ewes and left ear of rams/wethers. This is helpful as a visual aid when you are sorting a flock of sheep by sex.
Additional information that may be included on ear tags:
There are many brands of ear tags. Each brand has their own applicator so be sure to match the applicator with the tags you are using. Tags can be bought online or ordered through rural stores. The smallest order size we have found is 10 tags.
Lamb tails are docked to reduce risk of fly strike caused by dags collecting on long tails. This may be more of a problem for woolly sheep so there is a trend developing to not dock tails of shedding hair sheep.
The current best practice recommendation is to dock the tail at the third palpable joint from the base of the tail. This provides more sun protection for bare skin around the tail and is thought to reduce occurrence of anal and vaginal prolapse.
The most accessible option for small farmers is ring docking where a rubber ring is applied to the tail and the tail falls off 2-4 weeks later.
Castration is the process of removing a ram lamb’s testicles where the lamb will not be used for breeding. This can be done surgically or by applying a rubber ring. Care needs to be taken to get both testicles in the scrotum before applying the ring.
Where sheep will be sold off property, records need to be kept for all medications given. These should include date, which sheep received treatment, name of drug or chemical, dose, batch number and expiry date. These records can be on paper or digital. Various templates are available online.
Other records often made at lamb marking are weight, assessment of lamb structure and adherence to breed standards.
Post marking and weaning
After marking, lambs need to find their mothers (called mothering up). Some breeds are better at this than others. Look for any lambs and ewes that are ‘yelling’ after marking. Quite likely they have lost each other.
Lambs are typically weaned at about 12 weeks of age. This gives the ewes time to recover before joining. Weaning can be very noisy with lambs and ewes calling to each other. Don’t do it near the house! The weaning process will be much slower if the lambs and ewes share a fenceline.
Lambs are more susceptible to worms immediately after weaning. It is helpful to give them a drench and move them onto clean pasture to set them up well to keep growing. This is when they should also get their booster vaccination (6in1 or 5in1). Weaned lambs need the best pasture possible.
This workshop was organised by the Small Farms Network Capital Region committee. Our thanks go to veterinarians Peter and Penny Dagg for sharing their expertise and Ashleigh Wildridge for presenting information.
This is a summary of the key points from the webinar and paddock walk on plant identification with Jo Powells, Geoff Robertson and Margaret Ning in March 2022.
You can watch the webinar by clicking on this link.
The key messages from this paddock walk are summarised below, and links to further information on each topic can be found at the bottom the page;
Chilean Needle Grass Seed Head – Photo NSW DPI
Jo Powells is a Senior Agricultural Adviser - Pastures from South East Local Land Services based in Cooma.
Contact your nearest South East Local Land Services Office.
Friends of Grasslands (FOG) – Parts of Grasses
Department of Primary industry and Fisheries – C3 and C4 Grasses
Ag Guide Pastures in Farming Systems
Grasses of the NSW Tablelands
Canberra Nature Map
NSW DPI pasture plant species and varieties
This event was made possible with funding from the Australian Government thorough the National Landcare Program and in-kind support from South East Local Land Services.
In this webinar we explored the topic of trees and climate change with Cameron Pensini the Sustainability Project Officer from the Queanbeyan Palerang Regional Council and Dr David Freudenberger from the Australian National University.
The webinar was recorded on 13 October 2021, you can view the recording here.
These are the main points from the webinar:
Macquarie University Climate Ready Revegetation Guide
Keeping it Cool – Vegetation and Heat Adaptation Strategy - Queanbeyan Palerang Regional Council
Yass Area Network Climate Ready Project
Fodder trees and shrubs workshop
Revegetation for small farms
Key Concepts of Ecosystem Services
Lyndenmayer, D.B. et al (2008), Novel ecosystems resulting from landscape transformation create dilemmas for modern conservation practice, Conbio Online Library 26/11/2021 https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdfdirect/10.1111/j.1755-263X.2008.00021.x
ANU Sustainable Farms Research
The Crossing Courses and Workshops
Greening Australia Connecting and Protecting Landscapes
This event is funded by the NSW Government through an Increasing Resilience to Climate Change (IRCC) Community Grant.
This is a summary of a webinar recorded on the 7 October 2021 with Jason McWhirter the District Officer, Lake George Zone - NSW Rural Fire Service. In this webinar Jason shared his expertise in planning for and managing bushfire.
You can watch the webinar recording by following this link.
These are the key points from the webinar:
10/50 meter rule
Hazard Reduction Certificate and Standards
Bushfire Survival Plans
RFS Farm Fire Plan
Livestock and bushfire resources
NSW Department of Primary Industries
South East Local Land Services 1300 795 299
Victorian Country Fire Authority - Landscaping for bushfire
Please note that this is a Victorian website, but it has relevant information for this topic.
Australian Network for Plant Conservation 2019/20 bushfire resources page
Fire retardant plants for ACT
This webinar was made possible with funding from the New South Wales Government through an Increasing Resilience to Climate Change (IRCC) Community Grant.
This webinar was held on the 18 August 2021 with Dr Lou Baskind from South East Local Land Services and Dan Head from Value Life Farm.
You can watch the recording here.
Below is a summary of the key points from the webinar and a list of resources for more information.
Water and nutrition- Pigs require access to high quality water and feed. They are monogastric animals like humans. In order of priority, pigs need fresh water, energy, protein, macro nutrients and other micro nutrients.
The pig’s diet will influence the growth rate and quality of pork you produce. Pasture alone is not adequate to meet the nutritional needs of pigs and supplementary feeding is essential. Dan uses a sustainably sourced pig feed in bulka bags from Heritage Feeds. The amount of feed a pig requires will depend on the age and stage of development. Dan gave an example of a feeding regime that he uses - piglets are fed ad lib until they are five months old and then 2kg/head/day except for lactating sows then the rate increases to 7 kg/day.
Pigs are curious animals and can damage water troughs, a closed off inlet valve can be useful for preventing damage to troughs or you can use water nipples.
Swill Feeding is illegal in Australia.
Swill feeding is the traditional name for the feeding of food scraps to pigs. Prohibited pig feed (‘swill’) includes meat (raw, cooked or processed), bone, blood, offal or hide derived from a mammal and anything that has come into contact with these materials (NSW DPI).
Pigs are considered high risk for the introduction of exotic diseases in to Australia and swill feeding is considered to be the most likely pathway of disease introduction.
Penning and housing- Wallowing is an important natural behaviour of pigs. Pigs cannot sweat so wallowing allows them to moderate their body temperature. Pigs can be kept on a deep litter system, where the manure and urine are composted down with wood chips. Dan uses electric fencing for his pigs, he trains them using feed and uses boards to move them in yards if required. This method of handling is referred to as low stress livestock handling and will improve meat quality (see refences below). Shelter is also important for pigs, especially for furrowing sows and piglets, and during the summer months to protect them from sunburn and heat stress.
Pigs can be raised outdoors and used for removing weeds, cultivation and rotational grazing. They can be raised successfully using organic and regenerative agriculture principles. Dan sought inspiration from Joel Salatin, Justin Rhodes and has his own YouTube Channel. For more information visit the Value Life Farm website.
Piglet castration – male piglets must be castrated using a knife not rings like the ones used for lambs. Seek advice from your vet or an experienced pig farmer.
Councils have rules about owning pigs – check with your local council before buying them.
Property Identification and moving pigs - all owners of pigs require a property identification code (PIC). Look at this handy guide from the NSW Department of Primary Industries for more information.
Moving Pigs Eight Step Guide
Pig husbandry and housing
Pig nutrition Basics - DAF QLD
Deep litter housing for pigs
Responsible pig ownership - NSW DPI
Eight must dos for pig ownership - NSW DPI
Pig biosecurity management resources
Local Government rules
Local Government (General) Regulation 2005
Part 5 Standards for Keeping Birds or Animal, Keeping of Swine clauses 17 and 18.
Palerang Local Government Planning rules for keeping pigs
Queanbeyan Palerang Regional Council Duty Planner 1300 735 025.
Low stress handling research
Grandin T., (2020) “Livestock Handling at the Abattoir: Effects on Welfare and Meat Quality”, Meat and Muscle Biology 4(2). doi: https://doi.org/10.22175/mmb.9457
Grandin T., (2019) Understanding Flight Zone and Point of Balance for Low Stress Handling of Cattle, Sheep, and Pigs.
Pig Agskills Book - Tocal Collage NSW
This webinar was made possible with funding from the NSW Environmental Trust through Every Bit Counts Project and with in-kind support from South East Local Land Services District Veterinarian Dr Lou Baskind and Dan Head from Value Life Farm.
The Small Farms Network Capital Region was a Land for Wildlife Provider from June 2017 to April 2021. During that time we facilitated the assessment of 64 properties in the Palerang District. Our intrepid Land for Wildlife assessors were Kris Nash and Jo Walker who bought years of experience along with encyclopaedic knowledge of plants and natural resource management (NRM) to the program. They used this experience to provide landholders with advice and education about the plants and animals on their properties.
The Land for Wildlife Program is a free, non-binding program for landholders. Under the program, property owners receive a free visit from a NRM specialist and a report about the plants and animals living on their property.
Jo and Kris reflect below on their experience being Land for Wildlife assessors for the Small Farms Network Capital Region and the former Palerang Action Network for Sustainability.
Most people are surprised to learn the diversity they have on their farm
It was fascinating to discover the variety of landscapes existing in the area we covered, ranging from tall forests to grassy open expanses and including rocky outcrops of shale or granite, creeks, gullies and dams. Identifying plants involved peering into the high branches of eucalypts, crawling through shrubbery and kneeling to get a close look at Sundews and other tiny plants.
Sometimes we came across threatened ecological communities (grassy box woodland, grasslands) and uncommon or threatened plant species but otherwise we encountered everything from dense to open forest, patches with an intact and diverse native understorey, to low diversity paddocks with a few remnant eucalypts.
There were a few surprises too. I think the most memorable was an understorey of purple-flowering Comesperma ericinum (Heath Milkwort) in an area of dry forest in Wamboin. This species is not common in this area and usually occurs as an individual plant or in small groups.
The average number of plants per property was 60 species (112 from one property), with 316 different native plants recorded across the assessment area. Many more species would have been recorded had it been possible to visit everyone during spring, but most property owners were pleasantly surprised at the number of native plants on their block. All properties had at least 0.5 ha of native vegetation, most had far more.
Weeds, wildlife habitat and wombats
The most common issue discussed was the identification and control of weeds including woody weeds, sifton bush, pine trees, various noxious grasses, pesky annuals and garden escapees. Other issues included erosion control, the enhancement of dams, protecting native seed stock from grazing animals, rehabilitation, salinity control and feral animal management.
We encountered goannas, baby kangaroos and wombats, threatened birds and frogs, scats, scratchings, nests and diggings of many animals, and sadly a bunch of sugar glider tails.
So how can we improve our land?
Our main advice to property owners was to weed, weed, weed and more weeding. We know this is easier said than done but removing pressure from weedy plants will provide more room for native grassland and bush to recover. Other common advice included keeping as much exposed or disturbed soil covered as possible, 80% at least, through mulching, laying heavy logs, branches and/or rocks. Planting additional plants is not usually necessary when the understorey is diverse and there is regeneration of overstory species. That ‘mess’ is great for biodiversity and should be valued. The other major goal should be to retain and protect remnant trees for their all-important hollows for nesting birds and animals.
Great people and a few eccentrics too
It was also interesting to talk to the people who had invited us onto their land for the assessments. They were as diverse as the plants, but all had a deep desire to do something for the environment and the local wildlife. Several of them were wildlife rescuers and carers. The pig purchased as a ‘mini’ but now grown to an enormous stature deserves a mention, as does the lengths people have gone to, to provide homes and habitat for the animals sharing their properties. They were all very keen to know what plants were on their land and their relationship with the local wildlife, and were sometimes amazed by the number of native plants on the lists. To help them understand which plants were listed, we provided them with some information and a follow up email.
Altogether, it was a rewarding experience for us to be able to provide enthusiastic landholders with more knowledge of their farm. It was a privilege to be part of the Land for Wildlife program and humbling to meet such dedicated and caring people. It was a personal highlight to assist landholders discover just how diverse and valuable for wildlife their individual properties were.
Individual land holders and the broader community has benefited from Jo and Kris’s expertise and enthusiasm for helping others to learn about the natural environment. Vicki, one of the landholders, had this to say about the assessment done by Jo and Kris.
‘I found the whole Land for Wildlife experience very positive and learnt a lot about the plants growing here. It was great to know we had such diversity on our farm. The visit from Jo and Kris helped us appreciate the value of the habitat that we have on our farm. Rather than thinking we have a paddock of rocky outcrops we now see a paddock with great habitat potential. Being given a list of species was the icing on the cake. The assessment has encouraged me to focus more on weed removal instead of re-vegetation. Over-all our visit from Jo and Kris was a very enlightening and positive experience from extremely knowledgeable and committed people.’
Thanks for the funding and support
The Small Farms Network Land for Wildlife Program would not have been possible without the support of the Geary’s Gap/Wamboin Landcare Group., National Landcare Program and John Asquith from the Community Environment Centre.
Here is a message from Geary’s Gap Landcare.
Gearys Gap/Wamboin Landcare Group has been very pleased to have been able to support LfW in this region over the past decade. The activities of Landcare and Land for Wildlife are complementary and each makes a valuable contribution to the natural environment of this region. The excellent collaborative work of the two organisations has been exemplary.
Thanks to Jo and Kris for a wonderful contribution and to all our supporters.
For more information on the Land for Wildlife program please contact the Community Environment Centre.
Small Farms Network Capital Region IncPO Box 313BungendoreNSW 2621