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This webinar was recorded in October 2022 with Ken Hodgkinson. Ken and the Landcare group he convenes is studying the management of remnant patches of urban and peri-urban Natural Temperate Grassland, a critically endangered ecosystem of south-east Australia. Ken discussed the groups’ fire research on Temperate Grassland in the Ginninderra Catchment and how it can be applied in the paddock.
Fire was used by Aboriginal people to manage biodiversity for millennia. Their knowledge of ‘Caring for Country’ with fire steadily evolved and became embedded in their culture. Today their knowledge is increasingly sought for management of conservation and pastoral lands.
During part of his career in CSIRO, Ken researched prescribed burning in the semi-arid wooded rangelands of eastern Australia. He found that prescribed fire had a positive effect for pastoralism by reducing shrub density and increasing palatable plant diversity which were beneficial for domestic stock production and reproductive rates.
In retirement Ken and the Ginninderra Landcare Group are researching the different effects of fire and mowing on native grassland diversity in the Ginninderra Catchment. An early study found that biennial Autumn burning produced superior outcomes for plant diversity than did Spring burning or mowing. Ten additional native plant species were germinated by autumn burning that were not found in any other treatment.
Autumn ‘cool burns’ stimulate greater native plant diversity in the paddock and if regularly practiced may suppress some grass weeds, such as African Lovegrass and Chilean Needle Grass, thereby improving habitat values for native plants and animals. Maintaining the richness of plant species through the use of autumn fires will probably benefit domestic herbivore production at the same time as conserving biodiversity. Wildlife such as lizards and birds will benefit from light to moderate grazing and the creation of patchiness in the grassland by cool season patch burning.
Ginninderra Landcare Grassland Restoration Project
Small farms and bushfire summary
Cultural Burning Summary
Cheney P and Sullivan A (2008). Grassfires: fuel, weather and fire behaviour. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne.
Fire management for biodiversity conservation: NSW Department of Planning and Conservation
Rural Fire Service NSW
Dorrough J, Stol J and McIntyre S (2008). Biodiversity in the Paddock: a Land Managers Guide. Future Farm Industries CRC.
Stol J and Prober SM (2015). Jewels in the landscape: Managing very high conservation value ground-layers in Box-Gum Grassy Woodlands. www.publications.csiro.au
Stol J, Doerr V, Davies M and Doerr E (2016). Checking for change: A practical guide to checking whether sites newly managed for conservation are on track to improve. www.publications.csiro.au
This event was made possible with funding from the Australian Government through the National Landcare Program.
At this webinar we discussed regenerative agriculture with Vince Heffernan from Moorlands Biodynamic Lamb, Vince shared his extensive knowledge of natural systems farming, discussed the principles of regenerative agriculture and how they can be applied on small farms.
The webinar was recorded and can be viewed on the Small Farms Network Capital Region YouTube Channel.
This is a summary of the key points from the webinar and links to further information.
These are some of the resources that Vince suggested during the webinar.
Darren Aitken – Vortex Veggies
Alex Podolinsky – Biodynamic Farming
Allan Savoury – Holistic Management
Collin Seils – Pasture Cropping
Lamb Pro – Holbrook – Lamb benchmarking
Soil Knowledge Network
Sustainable Farms ANU
Fire Country – How Indigenous Fire Management Could Help Save Australia by Victor Steffensen
Regenesis by George Monbiot
This webinar was made possible with funding from the Australian Government through the National Landcare Program.
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:
1. Native and introduced perennial grasses can be divided into groups depending on their main growing season. The main groups are temperate (e.g. some Spear grasses, Phalaris, Yorkshire fog grass), tropical (e.g. Kangaroo grass, Red grass and Wire grass) and year-long green perennial grasses (e.g. Weeping grass, Wallaby grasses, Poa, some Speargrass species, some Cocksfoot cultivars, some Tall Fescue cultivars). Year-long green grasses respond well to rain in all seasons often providing green feed in summer when temperate species are dormant.
2. Learn what pasture plants you’ve got and consider doing a grazing management course such as PROGRAZE. Modified native pastures can be manipulated using grazing and fertiliser to increase dry matter production and animal productivity. Seek advice from South East Local Land Services through workshops and reading grazing research trials for your area.
3. Some native grassland ecosystems are protected under threatened species legislation and these high conservation grasslands should be managed for diversity through modified grazing plans and management. If you need advice contact South East Local Land Services or the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust.
4. Research has shown that most native grasses respond well to fertiliser and lime application, some species such as Weeping grass, have a particularly high requirement for phosphorus, similar to the level required for Phalaris.
5. Legumes are an important component in native perennial grass pastures. In order to realise a pasture production response it is essential to have a legume present with the native perennial grasses. Subterranean clover is a common introduced legume found in native pastures and usually has been sown into the pasture at some point in the past. However, there are a number of other introduced annual legume species that have become naturalised over time (e.g. Yellow suckling clover, Cluster clover, Hop clover) that are often found naturally occurring in native pastures and also respond well to fertiliser application.
6. Learn to use a land lens to help look at the different parts of grasses and forbs to aid their identification. You can buy cheap hand lenses at JayCar.
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.
Small Farms Network Capital Region IncPO Box 313BungendoreNSW 2621