Spring 2015

Message from the
General Manager

Brett Miners
General Manager
Welcome to the next edition of our Regional Outlook newsletter. We have had a busy winter refining our draft Local Strategic Plan - this has developed with a large amount of input from our Community Advisory Groups and I thank them for their valuable contribution to shaping the business of Hunter Local Land Services.

Thank you also to all those who filled in our Service Delivery Survey, we are currently analysing all the results and will be using the information to shape and direct the services we provide for ratepayers and other clients in the Hunter.

Hunter Local Strategic Plan:
Have Your Say

The draft Hunter Local Strategic Plan 2015-2020 has been released for public exhibition and members of the community are invited to have their say on Hunter LLS services and programs.

The Hunter Local Strategic Plan is an opportunity for the public to familiarise themselves with what we do and what we aim to achieve. The plan outlines how Hunter LLS will continue to work with the community to improve the sustainable management of primary production, natural resource management, biosecurity and emergency management. It prioritises and directs LLS’ customer services, partnerships and investment across the Hunter for the next five years. It will guide the way LLS will deliver services for the people, primary industries and landscapes of our region.

We are keen to hear from all members of the public, whether they are landholders or not, about the activities we propose to undertake at the property, community, landscape and industry scales. We will consider all feedback and detail the responses in a publicly available report.

Visit or call 1300 795 299 to read the draft plan and provide comments before 22 November 2015.

How will a hot dry Spring and Summer 
affect your farm?

With Bureau of Meteorology weather predictions tipping that we are heading for a dry and hot spring and summer we need to manage the risks that these conditions may pose.

These predictions are based on an increasing risk of an El Nino which usually means that we are in for below average rainfall and above average daytime temperatures over the southern half of the country. This means that the upcoming spring and summer could bring similar conditions to the big El Niño events of 1982 and 1997.

A dry spring and summer and an increase in heatwaves can certainly make for difficult farming conditions. Producers should start preparing their farm for the possible effects of El Niño. Following are a few items to consider for your farm:
  • What are your farm objectives and how would a warm and dry spring affect your operations in the short and longer term?
  • Start auditing your farm’s resources on a regular basis (pasture, feeds, water and livestock condition) so you aren’t presented with any nasty surprises.
  • Start monitoring hay and feed prices now, and develop relationships with suppliers to work out potential contingency plans for dry weather if it hits.
  • Develop a feed budget and alternative options if fodder becomes less available in your region.
  • Consider at what point you will sell or agist stock.  Often it is best to sell stock early in the dry period when prices are good and the condition of the cattle hasn’t deteriorated.
  • Which stock are best to sell? Which types of livestock will best handle a dry period and which stock will give you the best returns after the El Niño breaks?
Taking advantage of the good cattle prices that are currently on offer and reducing stocking rates before dry conditions set in is often the best strategy.  

Further information on drought management:

Weed warrior recognised for
her tireless efforts

Lorna Adlem from Hunter LLS has been awarded the inaugural NSW Weeds Society Industry Award for outstanding contributions from a weed professional involved in planning and coordinating weed management in NSW. 
The inaugural award aims to acknowledge weed professionals not working in Local Government, with professionals working in weed management eligible to apply (eg. State Government, Local Land Services, National Parks & Wildlife Service, Landcare, private enterprise, etc).
Lorna has been involved in various weed management projects for more than 10 years, during which she has worked towards instigating a large scale coordinated regional approach to addressing African Olive, with multiple stakeholder partners. She also set up an inter-regional email network for information sharing of African Olive research, control methods, projects and events, which has over 80 members.

Her projects involve developing and implementing partnership projects with local government and other public land managers, along with local landholders.

Through her work with the Dungog and Glendonbrook projects, neighbouring Landcare groups and networks have recognised similar issues and made steps towards working more closely together.

The award was presented at the NSW Weeds Conference in Cooma this month.

Lorna, a Senior Land Services Officer, was unable to attend the conference and was surprised to learn she had won. Lorna’s colleagues nominated her for the prestigious award, and say it was very highly deserved.
The Hunter LLS region also saw another award category, with Terry Inkson, Weeds Officer at Great Lakes City Council, winning the Local Government award. 

Agencies unite to tackle weeds

Local councils, government agencies, environmental interest groups and land managers from around the region are forming a new Hunter Regional Weeds Committee.

The committee will improve weed management by coordinating the control efforts of land managers across the region.

Its objectives are to prevent the establishment of new invasive species; eliminate, or prevent the spread of new invasive species; manage and reduce the impacts of widespread invasive species; ensure the Hunter has the ability and commitment to manage invasive species; and to promote awareness of invasive weed species within the community.

Organisations have been asked to submit nominations, with Hunter LLS to collate nominations and make membership recommendations later this month. 

Guided by a major review of weed management during 2013, the NSW Government has decided to establish 11 Regional Weeds Committees, one in each Local Land Services region.

Further information:

New office in Scone

We now have new office in Scone, providing local landholders greater access to our services and advice in agricultural production, natural resource management, biosecurity and emergency management.

The new office is based at Scone TAFE campus, 2 Flemington Drive, and provides landholders improved support with a team of extension, field and customer service staff, including a district veterinarian, on hand.. 

The new office is equipped to provide a range of services including:
  • enquiries on rates, animal health issues, pest animals, stock permits, property details, stock identification (including brands and earmarks), Property Identification Codes and Travelling Stock Reserves
  • NLIS tags and stock signs
  • advice on agricultural production, managing natural resources, biosecurity risks, management and preparedness; and emergency planning and recovery.
The existing Muswellbrook and Scone Hunter LLS offices have now closed, merged and relocated to the new office, resulting in a larger team of staff on hand and longer opening hours - 8.30am to 4.30pm.

Visit or call the office for reliable, professional advice and support on 02 6540 2400. 
Please note: our Wyong office has a new phone number:  02 43558200.

Water contamination

You may have noticed media coverage in relation to water contamination caused by the historical use of fire-fighting foams at the Williamtown Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base.
Further information on water precautions or precautionary fisheries closures is available from the DPI website: Williamtown RAAF Base contamination

New Vet in Scone

Join us in welcoming Dr Jane Bennett as the Upper Hunter District Veterinarian. Jane has more than 30 years’ experience in mixed, equine and small animal practice in the Scone area. Her background also includes teaching Vet Nursing with TAFE and a strong involvement with pony, swim and hockey clubs and as a member of the Scone Grammar School Board for the last eight years. Jane brings a range of valuable skills and experience to Hunter LLS.

The employment of Jane enables a repositioning of our existing veterinarian staff.  Jim Kerr is now based at Tocal with Digby Rayward, and Lyndell Stone has moved to the Wingham office. Kylie Greentree continues to work out of the Maitland office.

These changes are designed to ensure a continued high level of service delivery to ratepayers by providing a District Veterinarian team that is able to continue to meet animal health, livestock production and emergency responses.

Department of Primary Industries Water

The Department of Primary Industries Water (DPI Water) replaces the NSW Office of Water and remains within the Department of Primary Industries. DPI Water focuses on water planning and policy in urban and rural areas and ensuring our state’s interests are progressed at the national level. It will also oversee government-funded water infrastructure programs and develop more information on water for the community.

You can now apply online to DPI Water for an approval to construct a bore to access water under a domestic and stock right. You will receive a unique application number so you can track the progress of your application.

Further information: DPI Water website

Dairy heifer resistance trials

An exciting agreement between Dairy NSW, the Hunter Dairy Development Group (HDDG), the Dairy Advancement Group (DAGs) and Hunter Local Land Services (LLS) aims to shed some light on the degree of worm and drench resistance on Hunter dairy farms.

Drench resistance is an emerging problem and can affect heifer weight gain, growth and subsequent milk production. Hunter LLS  district veterinarians are acutely aware of the risk that drench resistance can present to farm productivity.

The district vets have initiated this study to enhance the industrys’ knowledge and understanding of the current level of drench resistance and which worm species are involved. Practices used on farm that promote or delay resistance will also be explored.

The study looks at resistance to the three classes of commonly used drenches, these being the Macrocylic Lactones, Benzimidazoles , and Levamisoles and where possible a combination drench. Assessing the merits of a combination drench will prove interesting if resistance is an issue on farm.

Farms which meet the studies’ criteria and have 60-75 dairy heifers around 6 months of age are invited to find out more about the study by contacting your local district veterinarian. The study hopes to involve eleven dairy farms in the Manning/Gloucester, Lower and Upper Hunter regions. On each of these farms heifers will be split into groups, drenched according to the studies’ plan and worm burdens assessed. Participating farmers will also be asked about their drenching history and other farm management practices used for worm management such as paddock rotation systems. 

The trial will be undertaken by Hunter LLS veterinarians over the next 12 months. 

Further information:
Digby Rayward - Paterson 

4939 8966 or 0427 493 617

Kylie Greentree - Maitland 

4932 8866 or 0428 498 687

Jane Bennett - Scone

02 6540 2419 or 0427 322 311
Lyndell Stone - Wingham

6553 4233 or 0429 532 855 

Jim Kerr - Tocal/Singleton

49398966 (Tocal)
6572 2944 (Singeton) 
or 0429 532 855 

Flood readiness plan for farmers

Hunter Local Land Services is developing a flood readiness packaget for farmers, in the wake of the April super storm. Flood Recovery Officer Skye Moore said it was important people know what to do in the event of a massive storm or flood.

"We're developing a flood readiness package, with a series of resources to help farmers and rural landholders be better-prepared for future flood events," Ms Moore said.

"We will be developing the package in consultation with local farmers, ensuring it meets their needs."

The first stage will be identifying current strategies farmers use to make sure that they are prepared. This will help identify gaps in these strategies to then be addressed.

Further information: Skye Moore, 49384956 or

‘Shorebird Snapshot’ Photographic Competition

The inaugural Shorebird Snapshot photographic competition invites photographers of all ages to capture images of the shorebirds that visit Stockton Sandspit, a unique sanctuary along the Hunter River in the Hunter Wetlands National Park.

The 'Shorebird Snapshot' competition aims to highlight the importance of Stockton Sandspit, which provides vital habitat for a variety of migratory shorebirds who fly across the globe to visit the site every summer to feed and rest.

The theme of the competition is the shorebirds of Stockton Sandspit - Images can be of shorebirds, shorebird habitat, evidence of shorebirds such as footprints, their diet, and/or people observing and appreciating shorebirds.

The competition runs from 15-22 November.

Further information: Shorebird Snapshot Photography Competition

Spring animal health issues

Hunter Local Land Services is urging producers to be alert to the continued risk of bloat in cattle grazing clover and medic rich pastures primarily in the Upper Hunter region, following an increased number of cattle bloating and cattle deaths.
Recent rains have again encouraged a flush of rapid legume growth at a time when dry paddock feed is lacking, increasing the risk that cattle develop bloat.

Full report: Spring animal health issues

University of Newcastle recognition

Hunter Local Land Services has been recognised for its support of the University of Newcastle by being added to the Supporters' Honour Board in its Great Hall at the Callaghan campus and online:
Hunter Local Land Services has worked closely with the University of Newcastle with its Hunter Regional Landcare Scholarships and Hunter Local Land Services Aboriginal Scholarships.

Travelling Stock Reserves

Travelling Stock Reserves (TSRs) are parcels of Crown land reserved under legislation for use by travelling stock. TSRs provide pasture reserves for travelling or grazing stock. These reserves can be beneficial in times of drought, bushfire or flood. They are also used for public recreation, apiary sites and for conservation. 

Local Land Services is responsible for the care, control and maintenance of almost 500,000ha of TSRs in NSW. 

All existing permitted long term grazing arrangements on TSRs in the Hunter will cease on 31 December 2015. Expressions of interest (EOIs) are being sought from eligible applicants for new Long Term Grazing Permits for these TSRs. 

EOI’s close at 4pm on Thursday, 29 October 2015. 

Further information: TSRs Expressions of Interest

TSR Draft State Planning Framework

Local Land Services has developed the first draft statewide planning framework for TSRs to support the future management of this land. We are now keen to hear from the public with their opinions on how to manage TSRs in the future. 

The draft statewide framework allows for the development of TSR regional management plans to facilitate more consistent and transparent management, resourcing and reporting. 

Further information: Travelling Stock Reserves

Annual Land and Stock Returns

Hunter landholders have embraced submitting their Annual Land and Stock Returns online. A total of 13,022 returns were submitted, with 6, 665 completed via our website. 

Customer survey calls starting soon

How are we going? What can we do better? These are the questions we want our customers to answer this spring.

In a bid to understand how we are performing and what our customers think we could do better, we will be surveying 2300 randomly-selected land managers this October and November. Independent consultants will be conducting phone interviews to find out how well we are delivering our services.

This is your chance to help guide improvements and changes to how we deliver our services, in keeping with our strategic direction. The survey will take about 10 to 15 minutes.

Even if you don’t receive a call to take part in the survey, you can provide your input. We value and welcome customer feedback at any time:

Property search requests

People in the community, and solicitors and conveyancers acting on their behalf, can request information from Local Land Services about the rates that apply to a property and animal, pest or chemical residue issues relating to that property. These requests are often associated with property sales.

There are rules and processes that must be followed in requesting and providing property-related information. In some cases, owner authority is required to release information.

Further information: Property search requests


Giant Reed infestations
If your property has something similar to this, it might be a good idea to give it a bit of a clean-up so you don’t get Giant Reed infestations occurring. 
Landcare in the Hunter
Meet Nev Reis, our Regional Landcare Facilitator, who explains some of the exciting ways he can help you get a Ladncare project off the ground.
Pastures and stocking density after floods
Pastures and stocking density after floods 
Here's a short video with Tony Blatch, our Pastures Officer based in Paterson, talking about some basics regards managing stock after the April 2015 flood.