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Western Local Land Services - November newsletter

Spring wild dog baiting campaign successfully carried out   

Western Local Land Services has concluded its spring wild dog baiting program which was another successful operation involving 11 pest animal control and Landcare groups. 

Building on the work that was carried out in autumn earlier this year, the program ran from the end of September to the end of October with 109,424 baits issued to members of the 11 groups. 

While wild dogs continue to be an issue in the Western region and other parts of the state, the best way to manage this pest animal is through a large scale, highly coordinated approach which is what our autumn and spring programs involve. 

All landholders are encouraged to join their nearest pest animal control group or Landcare group, and if there is not one currently in your local area, please contact our office so we can assist in getting one established. 

Click here for further information on our spring baiting program or contact our Senior Biosecurity Officers, Tim Wall on 0428 915 070 or Grant Davis on 0400 873 378, for more information on pest animal control. 

This photo shows baits on the drying rack at Fords Bridge as group members come to collect their baits.  

Demonstration site provides food for thought when it comes to cropping

A demonstration site sown earlier this year at Kyalite, near Balranald is progressing well following inspections that were carried out at a Mallee Sustainable Farming workshop in September.

The Kyalite Crop Walk and Spray Application workshop, which was coordinated by Mallee Sustainable Farming and supported by stakeholders including Western Local Land Services, was held on 19 September and included inspection of the trial site and covered important information on herbicide resistance management and spray application.  

The demonstration site, which was sown earlier this year on 11 and 12 May, will provide valuable insights on the impacts of pre-emergent herbicides on selected break crops and monitor the performance of break crops on two soil types. 

Western Local Land Services were guided by landholders, who identified these as major issues for the local area. 

Click here for more information on the workshop and landholders looking to get involved in a future trial site or upcoming workshops are asked to contact Senior Land Services Agriculture Officer, Greg Moulds on (03) 5021 9444.

Since the crops at the trial site were sown in May, results have been gathered by Mallee Sustainable Farming agronomists and will continue to be for the remainder of the year. 

Recent rangeland rehabilitation works pass first test with flyer colours

Landholders that participated in a Western Local Land Services property planning program have reported positive outcomes following the first significant rainfall since the works were carried out. 

Earlier this year, Luke and Sarah Mashford of “Katalpa Station” which is 85 kilometres west of White Cliffs, were one of six properties to take part in a property planning program which focused on landscape rehydration and restoration. 

Several months on and following the first significant rainfall of 24 millimetres, the Mashfords and Western Local Land Services were pleased to see virtually all the water spread and captured by waterholes which will eventually result in the growth of green grass.

Click here for more information on the Mashford's project and rangeland rehabilitation or contact our Rangeland Rehabilitation Officer, Paul Theakston on 0428 259 231. 

The 24mm that fell at "Katalpa Station" will now rehydrate the landscape and greatly assist with agricultural productivity and landscape health. 

Landholders warned of the dangers of scaling back supplementary feeding

Our District Veterinarians are warning landholders of the risks of immediately ceasing stock feeding following rain, in light of recent rainfall in parts of the Western region. 

After an extended period of little to no rain, many landholders have been supplementary feeding their stock to ensure they are receiving sufficient energy and protein to maintain body condition, something that is particularly important for breeding ewes. 

In the event of rain, District Veterinarian Hannah Williams called for landholders to be cautious before making the decision to stop feeding stock.

“For sheep that are no longer supplementary fed and chase the green pick, if the green pick diminishes and the sheep return to eating grain, the ruminal bacteria may not have had time to adjust to these changes so there is an increased chance of grain poisoning," Dr Williams said. 

“Similarly, sheep will spend much more energy chasing the green pick after rain and as a result can rapidly lose body condition and ultimately die if already in poor condition from the dry conditions.”

Click here for more information on supplementary feeding or contact our vets:
  • Charlotte Cavanagh, Bourke, 0429 773 021
  • Hannah Williams, Balranald, 0439 830 280  
  • Felicity Wills, Broken Hill, 0409 858 901.

After a tough winter with little to no rain, towns such as Bourke, Wanaaring and Buronga all received decent rainfall in October.

Fencing and erosion control works protect Aboriginal burial and camp sites 

Western Local Land Services has worked with landholders and stakeholders including the Yetta Dhinnakkal Correctional Centre to protect several major Aboriginal burial and camp sites on “Templestowe Station”.

The project, which resulted in several sites in Ngemba Traditional Country being protected, took place 40 kilometres south of Brewarrina in the Western region.

The project was particularly important to the Ngemba community and “Templestowe Station” owners, Garrie and Rita Turnbull, after skeletal remains were unearthed from years of erosion.

In addition to the skeletal remains, the sites also consisted of hearths (ground ovens) and rock scatters (stone tools).

Following discussions between the Turnbull’s and Western Local Land Services, it was decided the best way to protect the sites against the impacts of vehicles, livestock, native and pest animals was through the construction of suitable fencing.

To assist in preventing further erosion, the sites of skeletal remains were also covered with protective matting filled with soil to encourage the growth of plant species.

Click here for more information on the project or contact our Aboriginal Communities Officers:
  • Blackie Gordon, Brewarrina, 0428 607 536
  • Guy Gibbs, Bourke, (02) 6870 8629
  • Ronni O'Donnell, Buronga, 0409 334 956.
Blackie Gordon (third from left) and Guy Gibbs (back right) with the men from Yetta Dhinnakkal Correctional Centre get to work on the fence. 

Through the fencing and mesh works that were carried out, two 80m x 80m sites and two single burial sites have been preserved. 

Introducing our newest vet, Felicity Wills based in Broken Hill

In our September e-newsletter, we profiled Hannah Williams who had just joined Western Local Land Services as a District Veterinarian, based at Balranald. 

It is great that we can now introduce Felicity Wills who has just joined Western Local Land Services and is our third District Veterinarian, being based at Broken Hill. 

Felicity completed her Bachelor of Veterinary Science from Charles Sturt University Wagga Wagga in 2011 and went on to work at the Ballarat Veterinary Practice as a large animal ambulatory vet for three years.

She then moved to the University of Saskatchewan, in Saskatoon Canada and completed an internship in Large Animal Internal Medicine, followed by a Master’s Degree in Epidemiology which focused on developing a disease surveillance program for beef cow-calf herds in the western Canadian prairie provinces.

Felicity has a very strong interest in internal medicine and the herd management of large animals and is very much looking forward to working with producers in the Western region to manage any issues they might have with the health and management of their stock. 

Please contact any of our vets with your animal health enquiries:
  • Felicity Wills, Broken Hill, 0409 858 901
  • Charlotte Cavanagh, Bourke, 0429 773 021
  • Hannah Williams, Balranald, 0439 830 280.

Felicity grew up on a beef property running commercial Angus cattle in the Central Tablelands between Blayney and Cowra. 

Recording of webinar on feeding for the current climate now available

Landholders throughout the Western region gained useful insights on how to best manage the nutritional needs of their stock through a recent webinar that focused on pastoral livestock nutrition for dry times. 

The webinar, which was coordinated by Western Local Land Services and Sheep Connect NSW, was held on Thursday, 9 November and is now available to be listened to via recording. 

Well known pastoral consultant, San Jolly was the guest present and covered a range of topics including identifying feeding options to suit your situation during dry times but also the period immediately after rain, how to analyse types of feed, things to be aware of and how best to maintain stock when its dry. 

Click here to listen to the recording. 

Despite some much needed rain during October, conditions throughout much of the Western region remain dry, and landholders are having to make tough decisions about feeding and flock management.

Kids in Cobar learn about Landcare from the Buckwaroon group 

Last month, Year 6 students from Cobar Public School and St Johns Primary School got to enjoy a two-day program learning about Landcare and natural resource management from the Buckwaroon Landcare group, Western Local Land Services, Western Landcare, OEH and GreenCollar. 

The first day of the program involved the kids learning about invasive native scrub, native grasses, malleefowl, monitoring and pest management, resource management, property planning and erosion control. 

On the second day the kids travelled by bus to "Nullogoola Station", owned by Dave and Rik Allen who are also members of the Buckwaroon Landcare group, and got a more hands on perspective of some of the topics they'd covered on day one. 

By the end of the program, the students had a much clearer understanding of Landcare in their region and organisers hoped they were inspired to think about careers on the land, in agriculture or natural resource management.

The Buckwaroon Landcare group have been delivering a school education program to Year 6 students for the past 12 years. 

Western Local Board meet with Community Advisory Groups in Buronga  

Last month, the Western Local Board had their third face-to-face meeting for the year in Buronga (other meetings held via teleconference).

The day prior and post the meeting, Chair Ben Barlow and Board members, along with several Western Local Land Services staff, met with members of the Aboriginal Community Advisory Groups (ACAG) and Local Community Advisory Groups (LCAG). 

The purpose of both meetings was to provide an update of the Board's progress for the year, outline it's objectives and give ACAG and LCAG members the opportunity to provide robust feedback on what they believed Western Local Land Services was doing well and identify areas for improvements. 

Both sessions were highly productive for the Board and the ACAG and LCAG members, with a number of actions to be carried out stemming from the meetings.

Click here for more information on our Board members. 

Click here for more information on our ACAG and LCAG members.

The ACAG and LCAG play a vital role in ensuring Western Local Land Services is providing the services that are required by landholders and community members. Please ensure you're always providing feedback to ACAG, LCAG and Board members at every opportunity. 

Landholders working on applications to fund priority weeds projects 

Landholders and community members that submitted an expression of interest (EOI) in the Western Weed Management program have now completed their applications in the hope their projects are green lit.

In total, eight submissions to carry out weed control works on land located within the Western Local Land Services region were received, and Western Local Land Services assisted those people and groups with their applications. 

The Western Weed Management program was launched in September and seeks to improve and sustain the condition of natural resources in the Western region by implementing control measures for weeds.

Click here for more information about this project or contact Senior Land Services Officer, Brian Dohnt on 0455 901 258. 

The due date for applications is Wednesday, 15 November following which a review process will take place. Funding for this program is through the National Landcare Program and Catchment Action NSW. 

Hot and dry conditions impact on groundcover - DustWatch September report 

While there was welcome rain in October across much of the Western region, the DustWatch September report painted a grim picture following an extended period of hot and dry weather. 

The key take home points from the report were:
  • hot and dry conditions caused groundcover in much of the Western region to decrease below 50% which is a critical level for the occurrence of active erosion
  • there was increased dust activity in the north west of NSW
  • the strongest winds during September for the last 12 years were recorded
  • it was the driest September for NSW on BoM records 
  • Wilcannia set a September temperature record of 40.5 degrees on 23 September, only for it to be broken four days later by Wanaaring with 41.1 degrees. 
Click here to read the full DustWatch report.

This image was taken of a dust storm near Wilcannia on 23 September (credit: Ayala McFarland @kangacamping).

Results of the Regional Landholder Survey to be known in coming months

Earlier this year, landholders were asked to take part in a Regional Landholder Survey from which the results would be used to inform the Western Local Board and Western Local Land Services of what issues are of highest importance. 

The questionnaire, which was posted out to all landholders in mid-June, will also reveal what trends are emerging in the Western region following a similar survey that was carried out in 2014.

Comparing the results of the two surveys will give an insight into the way the region is changing and what that means for services required by landholders in a range of areas.

Once the results of the 2017 survey are available, Western Local Land Services will communicate those to landholders.

Of those surveyed in 2014, 62 % ran sheep while 50 % ran cattle and 55 % ran goats. The results from the 2017 survey should be known next month or early 2018. 

Free quad bike safety training for landholders 

Free quad bike training is still available under the NSW Quad Bike Safety Improvement Program.

While landholders previously received a rebate, training through an authorised Registered Training Organisation is now not only free, but landholders who complete it will also receive a free compliant helmet, worth around $120. 

More information regarding this can be found by clicking here. 

Local Land Services doing its part to advance reconciliation

We are committed to advancing reconciliation by fostering meaningful partnerships and relationships with Aboriginal communities across NSW. 
We are in the process of developing our first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

A draft RAP has been developed in collaboration with Reconciliation Australia and with the support of funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Programme.

The document identified actions we can take across key areas, including:
  • enhancing respect
  • enriching relationships
  • preserving our past
  • creating opportunities.
We recognise the traditional owners of NSW and the primacy of their role in cultural heritage, cultural economy, cultural knowledge and connection to Country.
This will be Local Land Services' first Reconciliation Action Plan and we are seeking community input to ensure we build on the work already being undertaken in collaboration with communities to establish a solid foundation which supports our ongoing commitment to support local Aboriginal community, organisations, programs, events and the adoption of respectful protocols.
To find out more and help us deliver services that support Aboriginal people to care for Country and share traditional land management knowledge click here

Senior Land Services Officer - Aboriginal Communities, Blackie Gordon leads a group demonstration about how Aboriginals used 'tools' such as rocks in their day-to-day lives. 

Community briefing session on carp control in Bourke, Wilcannia and Menindee

Interested community members in Bourke, Wilcannia and Menindee are being encouraged to attend a community briefing session hosted by the National Carp Control Plan (NCCP), NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Fisheries and Western Local Land Services.
The community briefing sessions will provide participants an opportunity to hear first-hand from the NCCP, NSW DPI Fisheries and Western Local Land Services, as well as give community members the opportunity to contribute feedback to the plan.
The NCCP is investigating ways to control carp centered on the use of a species-specific virus known as Cyprinid herpesvirus 3 (the carp virus) as a biocontrol agent, and to ensure that risks associated with its potential use are identified and mitigated. 

The details of the three sessions are:
  • 12 pm – 2 pm, 29 November. 23-25 Sturt St, Bourke (Diggers)
  • 9 am – 11 am, 30 November. 1 Ross St, Wilcannia (Golf club)
  • 3 pm – 5 pm, 30 November. Yartla St, Menindee (Civic hall).
Click here for further information on the NCCP or for more information on the sessions contact Senior Land Services Officer, Kyra Roach on 0438 695 755. 

The NCCP initiative will provide detailed information to enable governments to make a well-informed decision on the best approach for carp control at the end of 2018. Pictured is the turnout at the session that was held in Balranald earlier in the month. 

Keep an eye out for the Murray Hardyhead and Flathead Galaxias 

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is asking the community to help find two critically endangered inland freshwater fish not seen in NSW for many years. 

The campaign, which was launched as part of Threatened Species Day (7 September), is aimed at increasing community awareness of the Murray Hardyhead and Flathead Galaxias, which DPI suspect may still persist in farm dams, irrigation channels, ponds or even tanks in inland NSW. 

DPI believe any new information from the community will be vital to the survival of these fish. 

More information on the Murray Hardyhead and Flathead Galaxias can be found on the DPI website. 

Both the Murray Hardyhead and Flathead Galaxias were once widespread in the slow-flowing steams of wetlands of the Murray Darling Basin that represent their preferred habitat. 

Weather report 

Some fast facts about the weather in October.

The October edition of the NSW Seasonal Conditions Summary is now available as is the latest NSW Climate Summary.

Dates for your diary

National carp control plan - Bourke, Wilcannia and Menindee

About: Landholders and community members are invited to attend a community briefing session hosted by NCCP, NSW DPI Fisheries and Western Local Land Services. 

When and where:

  • 12 pm Wednesday, 29 November, 23 - 25 Sturt St, Bourke (Diggers on Darling)
  • 9 am Thursday, 30 November, 1 Ross St, Wilcannia (Golf club)
  • 3 pm Thursday, 30 November, Yartla St, Menindee (Civic Hall).
More information: Click here or contact Senior Land Services Officer, Kyra Roach on 0438 695 755. 

Reconciliation Action Plan - meetings in Cobar, Broken Hill and Buronga

About: Consultation session to gather input into our first Reconciliation Action Plan and to identify opportunities to work collaboratively towards reconciliation. 

When and where:

  • 1 pm Monday, 4 December, cnr Broomfield and Barton st, Cobar
  • 9 am Wednesday, 6 December, 230 Argent st, Broken Hill
  • 10.30 am Thursday, 7 December, 32 Enterprise Way, Buronga. 

More information: Click here or contact one of our Aboriginal Community Officers:

  • Blackie Gordon, Brewarrina, 0428 607 536
  • Guy Gibbs. Bourle. (02) 6870 8629
  • Ronni O'Donnell, Buronga, 0409 334 956.
Until next time...

If you want more information about anything that has featured in the November newsletter, please contact your local Western Local Land Services office.

Please forward this newsletter onto anyone who would benefit or enjoy seeing what has been happening in the Western region.

You can also offer feedback and suggestions on what you'd like to see in future by clicking here. 

We welcome your feedback about this newsletter.  Please feel free to pass it on to anyone you think may be interested. If you would like to be added to our mailing list, subscribe here.

Western Local Land Services 
Freecall: 1300 795 299

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© State of NSW through the Dept of Trade and Investment, Regional Infrastructure and Services, 2014 · 32 Enterprise Way · Buronga, NSW 2739 · Australia