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Hi Richard,

Over the course of the last few months, we’ve covered many of the things you need to know as a landowner of a block or small farm.

Hopefully you’ve found it useful and have been putting things in action to improve your land and get more enjoyment out of your rural lifestyle.

This is email will help you draw it together...

Enter the property plan

Now that we’ve covered the range of things that make up rural land management, let’s cover how to pull all of these things together in a property plan.

Property plans can help you to achieve your rural living goals. They will guide your efforts towards the things you value and want to achieve.

This, in turn, will help you to play a part in supporting a healthy landscape and prosperous region. 

 

What is in a property plan?

Approaches to property planning are mixed and varied, but essentially you take a whole-of-property approach and document your vision for your land.

We’ve provided a basic guide to property planning below to help get you started.
 

Where do you want to end up?

What do you want to achieve on your property? Try to summarise your vision for your:
  • natural resources
  • production
  • community
  • family
  • lifestyle.

Get spatial

To help you with your planning, get a good map of your property.

Aerial photographs are very useful, as well as surveyor’s boundary plans, topographic and cadastral plans. The map will need to be a large enough size to clearly show the features of the property.

You can get free imagery of your land to support your property planning through Google Earth or via the Department of Lands Spatial Information Exchange website.


What is the state of play?

You will need to identify and map the following:
  • soil types and soil characteristics (e.g. pH, salinity, erodibility, phosphorus and nitrogen content)
  • slope
  • areas of natural vegetation and vegetation type
  • streams, gullies, drainage lines and dams
  • flood liable land
  • erosion and salinity prone areas
  • water and shade areas for stock
  • rock outcrops
  • water supply
  • climate, rainfall and seasonality
  • any historic signs of occupation or culturally significant areas (Aboriginal and European)
  • landscape types and physical features
  • current land uses.

What is your SWOT?

Carry out a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) review of the property’s capabilities as follows:
  • What strengths does the property have that you can take advantage of (e.g. existing habitat, areas of high-quality soils)?
  • What weaknesses will need attention before they cause problems (e.g. existing weed-infested areas)?
  • What opportunities are there to develop your resources further (e.g. moving fence lines to improve management or protect sensitive areas)?
  • What threats exist that could affect the property (e.g. bushfire, flood, potential erosion areas)?
On a plastic sheet overlay of the map, illustrate the permanent features such as the property boundary, waterways, habitat and bushland, structures and land types (i.e. the most productive soils to the least).  Use this information as your base.
 

Culture and community

How will you find out more about the region you live in and managing to its character? 

Neighbours. Who has local knowledge? Who has been there the longest? Who do you relate to? Who is open with their knowledge? What sort of things do you want to know about the area?

Community groups and networks. Are there any groups that you can join or connect with? Landcare, Bushcare, Producer Groups? Talk to your local Every Bit Counts Extension Officer about the networks in your regions.

History and Culture. Who is your local Aboriginal Nation? How can you find out more about their culture and how people lived on the land? Are there signs of early Aboriginal or European people who occupied the land?

Experts. Are there events and workshops happening that you can join? Check out the Local Land Services website for your local events.
 

Where do you want to go?

Sketch where features are wanted, e.g. fences, productive paddocks, habitat/ corridor/ shelter-belt plantings, dams, troughs, lanes and gates.

Having another clear plastic overlay sheet over your map can help with this process.

Rearranging fences according to land features can help you to use the land more efficiently.

Work out where trees and shrubs need to go to achieve a range of services, such as windbreaks, erosion control and repair, shelter, salinity reduction and habitat for native birds and animals.

Write notes about:
  • proposed land use and any new housing
  • will you run any livestock?
  • if yes, what are your obligations and what are the disease risks?
  • what are the key weeds and pest animals in your region and how will you manage them?
  • sheds, stockyards, windbreaks, dams, roads and fence alignments
  • methods to control and prevent weeds and pest animals
  • methods to sustain or improve water quality for stock and downstream users
  • methods to control stormwater movement and prevent erosion
  • reducing bushfire hazard, conserving soil, preserving trees
  • how you will manage flood risk
  • how will you manage any chemicals you use
  • what are the key farm safety risks and how will you protect your family and visitors
  • treating and disposing of effluent and rural rubbish
  • methods to improve water sources for stock
  • methods and timing for proposed revegetation of disturbed areas.

Stepping it out

Use the map, your notes, and information in this email series to set goals and actions. Make a plan for how you can achieve these goals.

Prioritise your actions and then do them. Remember certain activities (e.g. tree planting) should be timed to take into account seasonal conditions.

Constantly monitor, improve and reshape your goals as necessary along the way.

Make sure you regularly monitor and maintain the areas where you have worked to address any issues quickly.
 

All the best

On behalf of the team, good luck with your land.

If you have any feedback on the Blockies Bootcamp, please hit reply and let us know what you think.
 

Cheers

- The Every Bit Counts Project Team
This project has been assisted by the NSW Government through its Environmental Trust.

Disclaimer

The information contained in this publication is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing (July 2020) and may not be accurate, current or complete. The State of New South Wales (including Local Land Services), the author and the publisher take no responsibility, and will accept no liability, for the accuracy, currency, reliability or correctness of any information included in the document (including material provided by third parties). Readers should make their own inquiries and rely on their own advice when making decisions related to material contained in this publication.

Copyright © 2022 Local Land Services, All rights reserved.



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