Rangeland rehab projects prove their worth following rain

Landholders in the White Cliffs area that have participated in our rangeland rehabilitation programs have seen some incredible images of water spreading across their parched paddocks following rain at the end of April.

With many landholders not getting any decent falls for the best part of two years, they were yet to see how the landscape would benefit from the changes. 

Any questions the landholders had were certainly answered as the pictures tell the story, but one particular case study gives an insight into just how beneficial the works can and will be. 

On a particular property that recorded 21 mm of rain, water that would have previously flowed down an erosion gully was calmed and spread over the adjacent floodplain over 300 hectares. 

Previously, 200 mm of rain was required to activate this same floodplain and in addition to this, the erosion gully can now start to rehabilitate.

Landholders looking for more information regarding rangelands rehabilitation should contact Senior Land Services Officer, Paul Theakston on 0428 259 231.

The programs the landholders participated in that we coordinated undertook the Ecosystem Management of Understanding (EMU) approach and were supported by funding through the Australian Government’s National Landcare Project and Catchment Action NSW. 

Important considerations for livestock producers following rain

It was wonderful for many landholders to receive some decent rain over the Easter weekend and again at the end of April. 

While the rain was welcomed, there is a number of things livestock producers should consider to help keep their stock healthy post rain:
  • whilst it's tempting to let stock out onto the green pick, producers should continue to feed stock until the pick grows into useful feed 
  • short green feed has very high water content and stock will need to eat a lot of it to meet their energy requirements. They will also use up energy whilst trying to fill up
  • stock will need extra feed to provide energy in cold conditions, particularly sheep off shears
  • if stock are not contained, provide some supplementary hay. Green feed is highly digestible and the stock will need time for their rumen bugs to adjust to the change in feed 
  • it is important to ensure stock are vaccinated against the clostridial diseases, particularly pulpy kidney before being introduced to rapidly growing feed. Ensure their 5-in-1 or 6-in-1 vaccinations are up to date. 
A quick note on weeds and plants 
  • if you have purchased or received donated hay throughout the drought, now is the time to monitor for any strange weeds coming up. Either identify and/or spray to prevent the introduction of nuisance weeds to your property
  • monitor for plants that may be toxic to your livestock. Take particular note if growth is a monoculture as there will be less or no opportunity for stock to discriminate between feed species or for a dilution factor for toxic weeds
  • landholders looking to identify unknown weeds should contact either their Shire Weeds Officer or Western Regional Weeds Coordinator, Andy McKinnon on 0428 671 370
  • as always, do not introduce hungry stock to green feed. If you are lucky enough to be re-stocking or taking on agistment stock, a quarantine period is advised. In this time stock can be fed with hay so that they are going out onto green feed with full bellies and will not gorge. They may also require drenching for worms.
For further information on this or another animal health enquiry, contact our District Veterinarians Trent McCarthy (Buronga) on 0437 822 012 or via email or Charlotte Cavanagh (Bourke) on 0429 773 021 or via email      
Great to see a green tinge coming back throughout much of the Western region. 

Game changing opportunity for landholders in the Western region

Landholders that are interested in participating in our Land Services Program have until the end of May to submit their expression of interest form. 

The Program offers participants the chance to gain a holistic and comprehensive appreciation of best practice through regular training, mentoring and capacity building over a two year period.  

See our recent newsletter on the Program for further information or contact Senior Land Services Officer, Mitch Plumbe on 0408 241 200 or via email

In addition to the training and services estimated at $26,000 over the course of the Program, the potential longer term benefits to individuals and businesses are substantial. 

Assisting landholders with fodder drops following heavy downpours

After some significant rainfall around Easter and at the end of April, a number of landholders had stranded stock that still required hand feeding which presented an emergency situation. 

We were contacted and along with the NSW Department of Primary Industries were able to coordinate fodder drops to assist these landholders.

The locations of where the landholders were impacted included Louth, Bourke, Wilcannia and Menindee.

As a result of the fodder drops, thousands of stranded sheep and cattle received feed which was a great outcome.  

The Murray family at "Trilby Station", Louth were one of the properties impacted and they provided the below images while there are others on their Facebook page.

Community groups help carry out major wild dog baiting program

We've recently completed our autumn wild dog baiting program which involved both aerial and ground baiting.

The fast facts of the program are:
  • 16 Landcare and pest animal control groups involved 
  • 445 individual landholder properties involved 
  • an area of 12,905,726 hectares covered
  • 35,451 baits used for aerial baiting 
  • 78,900 baits used for ground baiting. 
Some of the activities landholders and community members should now be undertaking include:
  • using motion sensor surveillance cameras
  • ensuring information gets entered into the feral scan community website
  • trapping on your property and throughout local community
  • joining a Landcare or pest animal control group if not currently a member or inviting your neighbours and/or friends to join your group.
Landholders looking to get more information regarding pest animal control groups in their local areas should contact Biosecurity Team Leader, Tim Wall on 0428 915 070 or their Western Landcare Coordinator. 

Biosecurity Support Officer, Kagen Pearce and Senior Biosecurity Officer, Grant Davis injecting baits prior to ground baiting near Broken Hill. 

The 2019 Life and Light Photo Comp launched with exciting new theme

It's time for photographers to get their cameras out or scan through their recent archives and enter what could be a winning image in the 2019 Life and Light in the Western Region Photo Competition.  

A total of $4,000 in prize money is up for grabs in the highly regarded photo competition which has been running for over 20 years and represents a great opportunity for photographers of all abilities to capture the beauty, diversity and uniqueness of the Western region, the people and flora and fauna that live in it.

The theme for this year’s competition is ‘Beyond the dust’ and aims to showcase what life is like beyond the dust veil and it is hoped that submissions will include both agricultural and environmental perspectives.

Potential entrants are reminded that photos must be taken in the Western LLS region with images taken after
1 January 2017 eligible to be entered. 

All photos must be submitted through the Life and Light website which also has all the categories, information, FAQs, entry rules and more about the competition. 

Entries for this year's competition are now open and will close on 14 July. For more information contact Western Landcare's Local Landcare Coordinator, Jasmine Whitten on 0487 905 972. 

"When the Dust Settles" by Jenna Shirt was the winner of the people's choice award in 2018.  

Landholders taking the fight to weeds in the Western region

A number of our weed management projects involving landholders are winding up with some great outcomes achieved. 

Project 1 - addressing invasive species, specifically African Boxthorn, which threatens the condition of the Coolibah-Black Box Endangered Ecological Community. Five landholders treated 6,432 ha of African Boxthorn and Mesquite. 

Project 2 - 10 landholders treated 16,830 ha of African Boxthorn, Mesquite and some cactus species (Boxing Glove and Prickly Pear). Treatment methods varied across the region due to the dry conditions. Basal spraying was the preferred choice for the treatment of Mesquite and chemical spraying of cactus. 
For more information about these programs contact Senior Land Services Officer, Brian Dohnt on 0455 901 258.

Western LLS supported these projects through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Program and Catchment Action NSW. 

Plenty of smiling faces at the recent healthy soils event 

It was great to see a total of 44 students from the Cobar Primary School and St John's Parish Primary School (Cobar) enjoy the chance to learn about the importance of our soil resources and how farmers care for them.

This was a grassroots initiative which was designed and delivered by members of the Buckwaroon Landcare, Western Landcare NSW and our staff to educate primary school children about what farmers do to ensure good soil health.

Through playing for purpose with a stream table, QR codes and scientific experiments, the students got a unique experiment-based learning experience that left both them and the teachers asking for more. 

For more information contact Western Landcare Coordinator, Jasmine Whitten on 0487 905 972.

Improvement in groundcover when factoring in the conditions

Groundcover levels in the cropping zones in the south of the Western LLS region are greater than what has been achieved in previous seasons with similar weather conditions. 

In 2008, only 32% of sites achieved groundcover greater than 50% whereas this year, there are 55% of sites with groundcover greater than 50%. 

With 50% groundcover being the threshold level that is required to protect the soil from wind erosion this is a great outcome. 

The main reason for the increase in groundcover is the use of chemical fallow methods rather than tillage. In 2019, 85% of fallowed sites used chemical methods whereas in 2008 this was only 33%. 

To continue to improve outcomes in the future, it is recommended to avoid overgrazing stubble and annual pastures by keeping groundcover levels above 50%. Continuing to use chemical methods to control weed germinations rather than tillage is also encouraged to reduce erosion damage.

The autumn DustWatch survey was completed in April 2019. The survey does not include the rangelands. 

Dates for the diary

Grazing naturally workshops (Brewarrina, Wilcannia and Anabranch)
What: The workshop series will offer landholders insights into landscape management options that will help to increase production, improve the properties natural resource base, provide greater biodiversity and enhance the resilience of the property. The highly regarded Dick Richardson has been engaged to run the workshop series. 
When and where: 
Brewarrina - 20 May. Commence at 9 am at the Brewarrina RSL. Property host is Andrew George, "Tarrion"
Wilcannia - 22 May. Commence at 9 am at "Kalyanka", property host Mog Davies. BBQ dinner to follow. 
Anabranch - 24 May. Commence at 9 am at the hall. Property host is Amber and Phil Baird, "Oakbank". 

More information: RSVP by 16 May to Land Services Officer, Andrea Cashmere on 0417 050 138 or email
We are running these workshops through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Program.

Pest animal forum (Bourke, Tilpa, Packsaddle and Broken Hill)
What: A number of stakeholders including Western Landcare NSW and the NSW Department of Primary Industries are organising a series of pest animal forums for early June throughout the Western region. The forums will primarily focus on wild dogs however they will also address feral cats, foxes and pigs. The forums will involve discussions on current scientific research and there will be a Q&A session. 
When and where: 
Bourke (venue TBC) - 9 am Monday, 3 June
Tilpa Hall - 9 am Tuesday, 4 June 
Packsaddle (Milparinka Hotel) - 9 am Wednesday, 5 June 
Broken Hill (venue TBC) - 9 am Thursday, 6 June.  
More information: Contact NSW Farmers Association Wild Dog Coordinator, Bruce Duncan on 0409 515 471. 

Managing outback floodplains (Tilpa)
What: This workshop will give landholders an understanding of how floodplains function and the threatening processes that dehydrate floodplains. Prevention and restoration techniques will be discussed and an inspection of previous earthworks will be undertaken in the afternoon. Presenters include:
  • Hugh Pringle is a rangeland ecologist with extensive knowledge and practice in rehydrating semi-arid floodplains throughout the world. He will present on floodplain function and the processes that threaten the productivity and health of floodplains. 
  • Martia Pearson is conducting PhD research on gully erosion along the Darling river and the affects this has on floodplain and river health. She will be presenting her latest research in this area.
  • Paul Theakston is our Rangeland Rehabilitation Officer and works throughout the Western region. He will be presenting on the techniques landholder's can use to rehydrate the landscapes they manage.
When and where: 
"Kallara Station", Tilpa. Property hosts are Justin and Julie McClure. Tuesday, 25 June. 
More information: Rangeland Rehabilitation Officer, Paul Theakston on 0428 259 231 or email
We are running these workshops through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Program.

2019 NSW Landcare and Local Land Services conference (Broken Hill)
What: For the first time in its 20 year history this conference is heading to the far west! Make your way to Broken Hill where you will find some of the most passionate, innovative and engaging people from across Australia. 
When and where: 
Broken Hill, 22-24 October
More information: Click here to view the conference website which includes information on registration or contact Conference Manager, Bradley Hayden on 0412 461 392.
Keep Western LLS updated with your details

If you have changed your address, phone number, e-mail address or recently sold your property then we want to hear from you. 

Please advise us of any change to your details via email or by calling one of our friendly Customer Service Officers:
  • Lauren Standen (Balranald/Hillston regions) on (03) 5020 1691
  • Mandy McKay (Broken Hill/Wilcannia/Tibooburra region) on (08) 8087 3378
  • Meredith Brands (Cobar/Brewarrina/Bourke/Wanaaring regions) on (02) 6836 2081 
  • Kristie Scott (Buronga/Wentworth regions) on (03) 5021 9400.
We can also assist you with:
  • information about property transfers
  • applying for new Property Identification Codes (PICs)
  • changing PIC managership 
  • applying for brands marks and routine stock movement permits 
  • assisting with Annual Land and Stock Returns.
Further information can be found on our website by clicking here.
Until next time...

Thanks for reading our May newsletter, please hit reply or contact your local Western LLS office for further information on any of the items.

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