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Hunter Local Land Services Regional Outlook
December 2014

Welcome to the Summer Issue of the Regional Outlook.  

Inside this issue:


Partridges and pear trees

Susan Hooke, Chair of Hunter Local Land Services

It is the time for partridges and pear trees and for all the wondrous variety of fauna and flora, mountains and beaches, farmlands and forests, cities and villages, rivers and wilderness in our Hunter Region. The objective of our team at Hunter LLS is to ensure we work with you to preserve our diversity for generations to come.

Working together, we hope to enable you to improve the productivity of your rural industries, keep our water clean, manage noxious weeds and feral animals, and maintain our biosecurity. In our first year we have listened to many of you to learn your particular needs. We have established four community advisory groups – one Aboriginal and one for each of our three districts of Upper and Lower Hunter and Manning Great Lakes. We are still learning and we are still listening and developing effective service delivery.  

Our Board says a big thank you to General Manager, Brett Miners and our very committed staff and to those of you who are placing confidence in us and working with us. May your Christmas be joyful and 2015 produce perfect seasonal conditions.

Susan, James, Daryl, Ted, Ron, Pete and Tony.

Feral pig program  

Stefanie McCowen, Senior Biosecurity Officer, Upper Hunter
Hunter LLS has been working closely with Upper Hunter landholders, National Parks and Wildlife Service and Coal & Allied to control feral pigs which have been wreaking havoc on crops, pastures and water sources in areas around Bunnan, Kars Springs, Merriwa and Cassilis.
Read more about this program on our website.

Are your stock fit to travel?

Lyndell Stone, District Veterinarian - Scone & Jim Kerr, District Veterinarian - Wingham
As summer and drier conditions worsen one of the best options is to start reducing stocking levels early. Leaving it too late to sell stock is inappropriate, on many counts, and poor and weak cattle are not suitable to be consigned to saleyards. Cattle and sheep have to be fit to travel. Stock must be strong enough to travel, walk normally on all legs and not be emaciated or dehydrated.
Read more about condition of stock for sale.


Are you feeding or selling stock in dry times?

Lyndell Stone, District Veterinarian - Scone 

The recent rain has given a life line to many producers and we are extremely grateful. However the falls have been geographically patchy. This means producers' issues across the region are also varied. 
Flushes of green growth can also bring some animal health issues. 
Read about the lessons learnt from past drought conditions.


Old versions of LPA NVDs to be phased out

SAFEMEAT will phase out all but the most recent versions of LPA National Vendor Declarations (NVD’s) at some time during 2015. The Chair of SAFEMEAT Partners, Ross Keane has announced that the policy will apply to all LPA NVDs prior to the 0413 versions for cattle, EU cattle, sheep and goats and the 0412 version for bobby calves. Read more information

Cropping morsels from the Upper Hunter

Sarah Giblin, Land Services Officer, Upper Hunter 

Upper Hunter farmers enjoyed a snapshot of cropping activities at a recent field day held in the Merriwa Cassilis region. The field day included presentations from cropping experts from NSW DPI, Pulse Australia, local agronomist Tim Sawley, and landholders in the area.
Read an outline of the key messages on our website.


Using the BoM to plan ahead 

The Bureau of Meteorology's revamped Climate Outlooks service has great new features that people on the land have been waiting for. It offers more detail, with monthly outlooks and the ability to zoom in on any geographic location in Australia. To complement DPI and BoM spatial and meteorological reports, Hunter LLS also collects monthly on-ground seasonal conditions reports on water, pasture and livestock quantity and quality from participating landholders throughout each district. Contact your local Hunter LLS office to find out more about the LLS seasonal conditions workshops in your area. 
Read more about Climate Outlooks on our website. Visit the BoM outlook section for the seasonal outlook for December 2014-January 2015. Visit the NSW DPI Climate and Weather web page for more resources and tools about seasonal outlooks.


New self assessable codes for managing native vegetation 

Nicky Cooper, Native Vegetation Officer, Lower Hunter  
Three self-assessable native vegetation clearing codes now exist to help landholders manage their land sustainably while protecting the environment. The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) information tools can assist to see if the codes would apply in your case. An essential part of the process is to give 14 days notification of your intended activity, which can be done online by visiting the OEH website. If you need assistance determining whether the codes apply in your situation, contact Nicky Cooper on 4930 1030 or Jesse Gollan on 6551 8994. Visit the Office of Environment and Heritage website for the codes and submission details. 
Read about each of the three codes on our website.


Community Education Grants Program

If you are part of a group or organisation that is planning an educational event or developing an educational resource for the local community, you might be eligible for financial assistance through the LLS 2014/15 Community Education Program. Check online for a copy of the application form and more details.

Building the capacity of our Aboriginal community 

Hunter LLS is committed to working with traditional Aboriginal owners and building the skills and capacity of Local Aboriginal Land Councils (LALCs) and land managers in the region. LLS delivered two key training opportunities this month - an intensive three-day wild dog and fox trapping workshop, and a one-day property planning workshop. Read more on our website.

Hunter responds to Red Imported Fire Ant threat

The NSW DPI has mounted a response against an incursion of Red Imported Fire Ants (RIFA) detected at Port Botany in late November 2014.  Red Imported Fire Ants are classified as an Emergency Animal Pest. LLS staff trained in Emergency Management have been drawn from various regions of the state, including the Hunter, as part of the response. Information about Red Imported Fire Ants and the threat they pose can be found online.

More habitat for flying foxes
A Hunter LLS project to create new habitat for Grey-headed flying foxes is currently underway in the Lower Hunter. With a declining population, these mammals are listed as 'vulnerable' to extinction both in NSW and federally. Attempts to disperse flying foxes are more likely to be successful if suitable alternative habitat is available. Read more on our website.

Report card shows opening of floodgates is great for prawns
Important habitats for juvenile fish and prawns have been restored in Ironbark Creek and its tributaries, following the opening of floodgates in recent years under the Hexham Swamp Rehabilitation Project. Read about the history of this project on our website.

Alive and well on the farm

WorkCover NSW has teamed up with partners across the industry to help farmers stay alive and well by developing a campaign that is all about farmers talking to farmers about their own experiences. As part of this campaign, a number of videos have been developed on personal stories of landholders, including a mixed crop and livestock farmer, beef cattle farmer who have been affected by accidents and near misses on their farms. The stories explore why particular accidents occurred and what can be done to reduce accidents. Watch the videos and don't forget to share with family and neighbours. 

Phone app to help manage pesticides

Australian Veterinary Pesticides Medicines Authority (AVPMA) has developed a convenient mobile phone app that provides details from the databases of Australian registered agricultural and veterinary chemical (agvet) products including minor-use and off-label permits. It allows you to search, browse and find details for registered, suspended, stopped or cancelled agvet chemical products in Australia. Visit the APVMA website for full details or to download the app.

In profile:  XL Oysters

Mark Salm and his brother-in-law, Don Burgoyne, run XL Oysters Pty Ltd, a thriving commercial Sydney rock oyster farm based in Lemon Tree Passage on Port Stephens. The family business has grown from humble beginnings, to one of the Hunter's key oyster producers. They attribute the success of their farm to working smarter, not harder. 
Read more on our website. 

New Trade & Investment website

Check out the agribusiness and food section available on the new look customer focused NSW Trade and Investment website

Contact us 
Hunter LLS has staff based in locations across the region. Contact offices marked with an asterisk (*) for enquiries on rates, animal health, pest animals, stock permits, property details, stock identification (including brands and earmarks), Property Identification Codes, and Travelling Stock Reserves. Opening hours are 8.30 am to 4.30 pm unless otherwise stated.

Please note, all LLS offices will be closed from Monday 22 December and will reopen on Monday 5 January. Local emergency contacts are available during this time.

Kooragang: 4964 9308
Maitland Saleyards*: 4932 8866 (open 10.00 am to 3.00 pm)
Merriwa*: 6548 2175 (open Mon-Tue 9.00 am to 4.00 pm and Wed 9.00 am to 3.30 pm)
Muswellbrook: 6542 4444 
Paterson*: 4930 1030
Scone*: 6545 1311 (open 9.00 am to 3.00 pm)
Singleton*: 6572 2944 
Taree: 6551 8994
Tocal*: 4939 8967 
Wingham*: 6553 4233 
Wyong: 4352 5100

Keep up to date with current Hunter LLS news and events on the Hunter LLS website.
The information contained in this publication is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing. However, because of advances in knowledge, users are reminded of the need to ensure that the information upon which they rely is up to date and to check the currency of the information with the appropriate officer of the Local Land Services or the user’s independent adviser.

© State of New South Wales published by Local Land Services 2014. You may copy, distribute and otherwise freely deal with this publication for any purpose, provided that you attribute Local Land Services as the owner.