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a newsletter from South East Local Land Services
Edition 5, February 2014
LLS joins fire ant response
Finishing lambs vs selling as stores
European Red Fox now a declared pest
Landcare in the South East
Local disease watch
Pestivirus in cattle
Avoid contracting animal diseases
Erosion works protect upland swamps  
Drought feed calculator app
New website to track mice numbers
Soils Club and Wether Trial Field Day
Local Customer Forum report
New numbers for Yass and Goulburn

Succession planning for farming families
Local Leaders Program

Local Land Services staff join 
red imported fire ant emergency response

Dan Shaw
Manager, Biosecurity and Emergency Services

I recently had the opportunity to lead an inter-agency and biosecurity emergency response for detected red imported fire ants at Port Botany, Sydney. Red imported fire ants have not been detected before in NSW and are a serious exotic threat to the community, industries and the environment. Myself and three other Local Land Services staff were part of the response team looking for nests, setting traps and eradicating the ants. The level of professionalism, commitment and capacity demonstrated by our staff throughout this response is reassuring for the safeguarding of the people of NSW against the negative impacts of biosecurity threats.

As Manager, Biosecurity and Emergency Services for Local Land Services I am privileged to work with a team of dedicated professionals to deliver a range of regulatory and advisory services to protect communities, industries and the environment from the negative impacts of pest animals and plants, animal diseases and weeds for the benefit of the people of NSW.

Since the establishment of Local Land Services in January 2014 biosecurity teams have continued to deliver animal health and welfare, invasive species, plant biosecurity and emergency management services. These teams have delivered key programs for wild dogs, feral deer, rabbits, Bovine Johne's disease, footrot eradication and a suite of surveillance and compliance programs to maintain market access and farm gate biosecurity.

During 2015 I look forward to further opportunities to work collaboratively with our customers and stakeholders.
Photo: Rob Freebody, Alice Peillon, Dan Shaw and Andrew Kirkley at Port Botany

Finishing lambs vs selling as stores

Matthew Lieschke
Senior Land Services Officer - Livestock

The Eastern States Trade Lamb indicator is well above what we normally see this time of the year. The price kick that normally occurs in January/ February took off before Christmas and has continued to climb, currently sitting at 550 c/kg (at the time of writing). History tells us that very rarely does lamb go over 600 c/kg, and when it does, it doesn’t last long.

The high store price is very tempting and you may be thinking of cashing your lambs in and letting someone else worry about finishing them off. However, green feed in the paddock also presents an opportunity to put a few extra kilos on. So, the million dollar question is: do I hang on to my lambs and try and put a bit more weight on them, or do I take the money and run?

Read the full article on our website.

Foxes a declared pest

A pest control order for foxes has been introduced for the first time in NSW. The Local Land Services (European Red Fox) Pest Control Order 2014 means foxes are now a declared pest species, bringing NSW into line with all other states in Australia.

The pest control order means foxes must be controlled by landholders on their properties. It also means no newly acquired foxes will be allowed to be kept in captivity, and those people that currently keep foxes in captivity will be required to apply for a permit from Local Land Services. The pest control order can be viewed at

Landcare in the South East

Peter Pigott
Senior Land Services Officer - Landcare

The South East Local Land Services region has more than 300 Landcare groups in 13 local network areas. Groups vary in size, focus, approach and level of activity. Three regional networks provide support to groups in their area: Murrumbidgee Landcare, Lachlan Landcare and South East Landcare. In addition to these, there are groups and local networks in the Goulburn and Southern Highlands area.  

Landcare is many different things to different people; farming systems groups, local food and fibre production, landscape scale conservation and connectivity, coastal rehabilitation, river health, soil health, weeds, community networks, local government, education, training, art, health and wellbeing all contribute to Landcare.

Landcare has great relevance with our local Aboriginal communities and the strong cultural connection to the land and the concept of caring for Country. Many groups and networks have developed cultural connections with the land and worked with community to address land management, employment and community wellbeing issues.

Read the full article on our website.

Local disease watch

Bill Johnson
District Veterinarian

Scouring in weaned lambs is a frequent observation at this time of year. With so much green feed around, many producers blame “the green pick”. While some plants are associated with scouring, a range of gut infections have caused most recent cases.

Nematodirus (thin necked intestinal worm) is one sheep parasite prevalent at the moment. Its egg stage survives well from one year to the next in the environment. Numbers of this parasite increase following a period of rainfall, especially when this period is preceded by a dry time. In young sheep, Nematodirus results in scouring and ill thrift despite relatively low numbers of adult worms, and before faecal worm egg counts rise significantly. Nematodirus faecal egg counts as low as 100epg may be enough to warrant drenching in young sheep, particularly if there are signs such as scouring 
and ill thrift. This worm infestation can also increase the animals’ susceptibility to other gastrointestinal problems such as bacterial scours.

Bacterial gut infections and coccidiosis have also caused scouring and deaths in lambs. A post mortem examination is needed to confirm the diagnosis.

Read the full article on our website.

Pestivirus in cattle

Alex Stephens
District Veterinarian

Farmers will adopt activities which they believe will increase income or income security. They will also invest in products that improve the welfare and appearance of their stock. Why then has the uptake of pestivirus vaccination been so slow in Australia? 

Pestivirus is a viral disease that causes reproductive failure in breeding herds and ill-thrift and mortality in young cattle. In cattle that do not have immunity pestivirus is capable of crossing the cow’s placenta and infecting and damaging the developing foetus. Australian published serological surveys show that 80-90% of herds have evidence of exposure. Ongoing surveillance in the South East LLS in 2014 showed a similar level of exposure.

Pestivirus is also referred to as BVDV (bovine viral diarrhoea virus) and mucosal disease virus. It is now well recognized as an insidious cause of losses in beef and dairy herds in Australia. An unseen ‘profit thief’. In a previously uninfected herd recently infected with BVDV, production losses of between 25 and 40% have been recorded, otherwise known as ‘the pestivirus train wreck’. This is due to a sudden increase in the number of dry cows, mid stage abortions and birth of dead, weak or persistently infected (PI) calves. Ongoing losses in herd where pestivirus is endemic have been notoriously difficult to model or estimate. 

Read the full article on our website.

Avoid contracting animal diseases

Bill Johnson
District Veterinarian

There are many diseases that farm animals can pass onto humans.  Awareness and some simple measures will help to keep you safe.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection capable of infecting many species. Humans commonly catch “lepto” through contact with the urine of an infected animal, particularly cows and pigs. Urine often splashes when handling cows, especially during milking or calving. Recent cases have involved people attempting to control feral pigs and the last mouse plague also contributed to a rise in human lepto cases. Lepto causes flu-like symptoms including high fever, sweating, headaches and muscle soreness.  

Another common animal infection causing serious complications in humans is Q-fever. Assisting at the birth of calves, lambs, kids and puppies has seen whole families 
infected with Q-fever. Q-fever symptoms are similar to those of lepto. 

Read the full article on our website.

Erosion works protect upland swamps 

Shannon Brennan
Senior Land Services Officer - Rivers

Recent erosion works have protected a large upland swamp along a tributary of Buckajo Creek (itself a major tributary of the Bega River). The works include a large rock ramp to control a headcut (a step or waterfall in the bed of a stream), which has been moving during rainfall and eroding the swamp. 
Upland swamps or 'valley fills' are important as sponges that store large amounts of water that is slowly released into river systems over many months. Protection of upland swamps benefits landholders and the community in droughts as water remains in the system much longer. They are also important sources of feed for stock during droughts through a controlled grazing strategy. 

Read the full article on our website.

Drought Feed Calculator

Fiona Leech
Senior Land Services Officer

The Drought Feed Calculator is a useful tool for sheep and cattle producers to make more informed decisions regarding feeding during dry seasons or drought conditions. The app assumes there is no nutritional benefit from the pasture and is used to determine full feeding rations for livestock. It allows producers to easily and quickly determine the minimum feed requirements for a range of animals with different nutritional needs. The app calculates: 

1. The amount of feed required per head
2. The cost to feed per head
3. The cost per head for a period
4. The feed required for a mob/herd for a period
5. The total cost for a mob/herd for a period

The app will compare the economic value of up to three different feeds at a time as well as a mixed ration. Within the App there are 71 different feeds to select from, each with their own average energy, protein and dry matter values built in. However these values can be altered if you have feed test results for your feed(s) in question.
The app is also very useful for quickly comparing the cost of feeds on a dry matter basis. It is important to remember that some feeds such as silage contain a considerable proportion of water while others only contain 10% or less. In addition, by entering the cost of each feed in $/tonne the app will allow you to compare the cost of the feeds in cents per mega joule of energy or dollars per kilogram of protein. Remember in periods of drought it is the energy content of the feed that is most critical in order to keep animals alive. The protein content of feed becomes more important when feeding young growing animals.

It is important to stress that producers should test individual feed samples to ensure more accurate feed rations are developed. This is especially true for hays, silages and some grains.There are a number of warnings built into the app to help guide farmers when developing a ration. 

The app is free of charge and available on iTunes and Google Play.


New website helps track mice numbers 

The best way for grain producers to keep track of changes in mouse abundance is to use MouseAlert – produced by the Invasive Animals CRC, CSIRO and several other partners. This website provides a quick and easy-to-use method of recording mice activity, and seeing what other farmers are recording in their local area.

The website also contains fact sheets and management recommendations about controlling mice during key periods in the cropping cycle: prior to sowing, during crop emergence and prior to harvest.

For access to Mousealert and the latest monitoring data go to

Soils Club and Wether Trial Field Day

Luke Pope
Senior Land Services Officer - Pastures

Presentations from the Soils Club and Wether Trial Field Day in December are now available on Monaro Farming Systems websiteThey include Dr Richard Simpson's (CSIRO) analysis of over 1000 Monaro soil test results over the last five years and Phil Graham's (NSW Department of Primary Industries) summary of the Merino Wether Trial.

Local customer forum report

A report is now available on the local forums hosted in 2015 by South East Local Land Services. Eight local forums were held with more than 167 customers and stakeholders in Nimmitabel, Bega, Braidwood, Batemans Bay, Goulburn, Yass, Berry and Moss Vale. 
A summary report, as well discussion forum, is available from South East LLS Open.

New phone numbers for Yass and Goulburn

The South East Local Land Services offices at Yass and Goulburn have recently had their telephone numbers changed. Yass staff members can now be contacted directly or via reception on 02 6118 7700 (please note the former telephone number 02 6226 1155 will remain in operation). 
Go to the staff directory for Yass.

Go to the staff directory for Goulburn.



Succession planning for farming families

6 February, 5.30pm
Tuena Hall, Tuena

The need for farm succession planning is a major issue as traditional inheritance norms and practices are becoming less suitable. In addition to passing on the farm, the older generation usually also has to provide for their retirement and inheritance for other children.

Read more about this event on our website.

South East Local Leaders Program

Applications close this soon for the Landcare, agriculture industry, biosecurity and natural resource management parts of this program.  The two cohorts will start in March and May with a three-day residential component at Silver Wattle Quaker Centre at Lake George.

Click here to download the flyer and application form.


South East Circular is a monthly email newsletter containing information about our services, biosecurity alerts, technical articles and notices of upcoming events, training and funding opportunities. It also celebrates the innovations and achievements of the wide variety of land management partnerships, projects and programs across our region.

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Local Land Services South East
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