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South East Circular

Edition 17, March 2016

African Lovegrass
in Bega Valley


Graham Scott
Senior Land Services Officer - Partnerships
Graham.Scott@lls.nsw.gov.au
African Lovegrass (Eragrostis curvula) (ALG) invasion is having a significant impact on the economic viability of farming in large areas of the Bega Valley. Additionally it poses a significant threat to the threatened Lowland Grassy Woodland ecological community. Springvale Landcare recognising the ongoing impacts of ALG and its potential to become even more widespread across the Bega Valley and beyond were successful in obtaining a grant from the Australian Government to carry out research into improved management techniques to help land managers deal with the problem.
The importance of this issue to the wider Bega Valley farming community was recognised with the initial grant providing the impetus for a partnership between Springvale Landcare, Far South Coast Landcare Association (FSCLA), the Far South Coast Farmers Network and South East Local Land Services along with additional funding from South East LLS, and FSCLA. The project engaged Dr Josh Dorrough, a grassland ecologist, to carry out research into different control methods, the impact of the weed on stocking rates and the viability of the underlying native pasture to recover if intervention was carried out. The project provided an opportunity for further collaboration with Queensland University of Technology and Wollongong University to assist with the project research and extend their own research into the impacts, management and farmer perceptions of ALG.

Read the full article: African Lovegrass in Bega

New study aims to benchmark weed hygiene


Dr Nicholas Gill
University of Wollongong
ngill@uow.edu.au
Poor weed hygiene undermines the efficacy of weed control efforts and enables the spread of noxious weeds into and across NSW. Weed management guidelines emphasise the importance of weed hygiene  - cleaning vehicles, machinery and equipment, and taking precautions in fodder and animal transport. However, little is known about weed hygiene knowledge and practices among public and private land managers, weed contractors, and agricultural transport companies.

This study aims to explore the extent to which these actors know about, practice, and support good weed hygiene practices. Interviews will be conducted with land managers, contractors and transport companies to investigate the weed hygiene practices that these actors engage in. The results will provide a valuable benchmark of what is reasonably practicable for weed hygiene, the standard against which the general biosecurity obligation - proposed in the new NSW Biosecurity Act - can be evaluated
 
The overall aim of the project is to investigate the extent to which landholders, contractors, and agricultural transport companies know about, practice, and support good weed hygiene practices. 

We are looking for interviewees who are weed/rural/bush regeneration contractors, land managers and rural transport industry people. If you are interested contact:
Dr Nicholas Gill
02 4221 4165
ngill@uow.edu.au.
Dr Rebecca Cross
0405 707 756
r.cross@unsw.edu.au

South Coast Industry Dinner 2016


You are invited to attend the South Coast Industry Dinner 2016 in the Oak Room Eleven Dining and Wine Bar at Crooked River Wines, Gerringong, You will sample a fine selection of local produce prepared by a team of chefs, and be inspired by guest presenters from local businesses.

The four representatives who will showcase their businesses are successfully producing, marketing and processing their produce.  They will share their insights, the challenges facing their industry and the innovations they have applied to overcome them.

The evening provides an opportunity to connect with local producers from a range of industries and discuss how we can work together to promote profitable and sustainable primary production on the NSW South Coast.


Further information: South Coast Industry Dinner 2016

Your rates at work 

South East Local Land Services has begun issuing Annual Rates notices to our customers for the period 1 January to 31 December 2016. Included with each notice is an overview of what rates and other funding sources deliver, as well as programs delivered in the region in the past year. This overview is also available online.

Download: South East Local Land Services - Your rates at work

Video: What do your Local Land Services rates pay for and how do they benefit you?

Coastal Pasture Transitioning


Amanda Britton
Senior Land Services Officer -Pastures
Amanda.Britton@lls.nsw.gov.au
The predicted El Nino that loomed at the end of 2015 was not looking favorable; hot, dry and potentially very desperate. Then the rain began to fall in early January, with some areas receiving double their January average rainfall. Temperatures remained mild with high humidity; providing perfect conditions for summer growing species particularly kikuyu. In a monitoring program conducted locally on a dairy farm some years ago, actual growth rates were recorded at 100kg/DM/ha/day, imagine what growth rates may have been recorded this year. Coincidently this year’s abundance of feed sits alongside high cattle prices making pasture management options limited. As a result landowners are now asking how to manage large pasture yields and how to prepare for autumn/winter feed.

If we look at pasture management options this year, buying extra mouths to keep pastures under control may not be a financially viable option, but conserving surplus pasture growth is a real possibility. Just remember the quality of the bale will never be better than the fresh standing feed. It is essential to assess the stage of growth when pasture is to be cut and think about which class of livestock you intend to feed it to. This will help determine possible weight gain or maintenance outcomes in the livestock.

The third option is to use the mouths you have on hand and sacrifice a proportion of your property while setting up the remaining area for temperate species.

Read the full article: Coastal pasture transitioning

Weaner project reveals the power of green feed 

Matthew Lieschke
Senior Land Services Officer - Livestock
Matthew.Lieschke@lls.nsw.gov.au
Significant rainfall in late January has provided a real boost for livestock across the region, particularly young stock. This is reflected in the results from a weaner monitoring project that was recently established on Jack and Jennifer Medway's property just north of Gunning.

Results show that the Merino weaners have put on an average of 4.4kg over the period, which equates to around 110g/hd/day. This was achieved on a green 'pick' made up of mainly weeping grass (Microlaena stipoides). Interestingly, the variation between animals was staggering, with some weaners putting on 1-1.5kg and others putting on over 6kg!



For further information on the project, including suggested feeding strategies for the next 2-3 months go to the project page: Photo: Matthew Lieschke and Gunning producer Jack Medway weighing Merino weaners at 'Hillcrest'

Laggan Grazing Demonstration project now online

 
The Laggan Grazing Demonstration profiled last month now web page where you can follow the result of the project.

The aim is to investigate the level of pasture and animal production that can be sustainably achieved on a native-based pasture in the Crookwell region. Specifically, the project is investigating the effect of applying fertiliser (single superphosphate) and lime on:

    •    Stocking rates and overall farm profitability (using a fully-costed economic analysis)
    •    Soil fertility and pH
    •    Pasture composition
    •    Soil carbon levels

The results to date show the application of P at the beginning of February 2015 had an immediate impact. The two fertilised paddocks responded, growing more pasture and were able to sustain higher stocking rates (+ 28%) than the control.

Visit the project page: Laggan Grazing Demonstration

South Coast livestock news


John O'Connor
Senior Land Services Officer - Livestock
John.OConnor@lls.nsw.gov.au
The Summer season on the south coast has generally been rather exceptional, with lots of rain, grass and good prices. Great as the season has been, it does pose a few challenges both now and as we look to the future. The risk from  Worms and Liver Fluke are higher now and may warrant extra drenching for at risk animals, and the strong kikuyu growth will need to be managed to allow winter active species to form the winter feed base. Grazing the kikuyu to keep it short and highly digestible is desirable, but with such a good season some areas will inevitably get rank and need extra consideration. Making sure at least part of your farm will have winter active species is important, as old kikuyu is barely a maintenance level feed and  will limit growth or lead to weight loss in winter if it is the only feed on offer.  Supplements can help avoid weight loss and utilize the kikuyu, but it may be better to work during Autumn, on having some areas with winter active species, rather than choose between weight loss or feed bills in winter. (NB Amanda Britton’s article covers the kikuyu management options in detail).

Help for new landholders

A Local Land Services seminar for new landholders will be held at Berry  on 7 March and 4 April, at Batemans Bay on 14 March and 8 April and at Bega on 11 April.  These aim to assist new landholders understand the requirements of livestock owners and systems that they need to use.  Please contact me : john.oconnor@lls.nsw.gov.au  or 0412 359 084  if you are interested in attending.

Upcoming Seasonal Update

Our first Bega Seasonal update will be held at the Bega Civic Centre on 21 April  with the main presenter being Gary Alan from the Bureau of Meteorology ( BOM) who will explain the BOM website and how to get the best from it.

Local disease watch


Bill Johnson
District Veterinarian
Bill.Johnson@lls.nsw.gov.au
Livestock and their owners are constantly challenged by seasonal conditions. This month, a number of problems occurred on farms in response to summer rainfall. In addition, some valuable tips were learnt on worm control in cattle, and a warning given about treating backyard chooks.

In this month's disease watch:
  • Pulpy kidney kills sheep
  • Worms in sheep and goats
  • Blind sheep
  • Not food poisoning, but poisoned food
  • Cattle producers wage 'War on Worms'
Read the full article: Local disease watch - March 2016

Upper Snowy Landcare commences dieback revegetation 

The Upper Snowy Landcare Committee (USLC) has embarked on a large scale revegetation project amongst the dieback scarred hills between Cooma and Berridale, and with funding from South East Local Land Services have put on an employee to manage the action.

Dieback project work has now commenced with contractors ripping 8ha of tree lines over four properties situated in the visual corridor of the Kosciuszko Highway. 

Further information: Dieback Update February 2016

Threatened species in flower


Laura Canackle
Senior Land Services Officer - Native Vegetation
Laura.Canackle@lls.nsw.gov.au
Summer and autumn are not seasons synonymous with show-stopping wildflower displays. However, it is from December to April that the endangered daisy, the button wrinklewort, shows its true colours. Button wrinklewort (Rutidosis leptorrhynchoides) is listed as endangered in NSW.  It is a multi-stemmed yellow daisy growing up to 30 cm tall, is perennial and holds on to the old stems long after they have died back.  One flower head occurs on each stem and each flower head is made up of many smaller flowers.

In NSW it is restricted to a small number of scattered populations from Goulburn to Bredbo. Around half of the populations contain less than 100 plants. Some of the most immediate threats to the species are physical disturbance of sites, urban development and weed invasion with the loss of genetic diversity due to small population sizes posing a longer term threat to the survival of the species.

Read the full article: Threatened species in flower

Green Army fighting good fight


Shannon Brennan
Senior Land Services Officer
Shannon.Brennan@lls.nsw.gov.au
Bega's Green Army is providing significant assistance to local environmental and community projects in the region. Funded through the Australian Government’s Green Army programme and hosted by Conservation Volunteers Australia and Palerang Council, the crew is a team of eight young people, managed by experienced crew leader, Gunther Meessmann.
Working with project partners including South East Local Land Services, Bega Valley Shire Council (BVSC) and a number of community groups the crew have been undertaking various activities including training, weed control, revegetation and track maintenance with a focus on managing threats to endangered ecological communities.    

South East Local Land Services staff members have played a key role in coordinating a number of work sites, providing support for training and linking the crew with community and Landcare group contacts. 
Key areas where their efforts have significantly assisted existing projects include weed control, revegetation and pathway maintenance works for the Bega River Reserve, weed control at Bemboka Travelling Stock Reserve and Common, Narira Creek in Cobargo, maintenance, planting preparation and weed control for Springvale Landcare, weed control and revegetation at Fish Pen in Merimbula and maintenance for a number of small reserves in Tathra. 

Outcomes achieved under the Green Army programme have integrated well with current community, Local Land Services and BVSC programs running in the region.  The crew will continue until April this year, with another crew due to commence in May 2016. As with the current project it is anticipated that the next crew will continue to provide a complementary service to environmental and community projects in the area.

Photo:  Green Army crew ready to undertake weed control and revegetation work at Kiss’ Lagoon, Bega

Snowy River gets a ‘Big Lift’


Leon Miners
Senior Land Services Officer - Snowy River
Leon.Miners@lls.nsw.gov.au
Dalgety and the banks of the Snowy River were the destination for 30 students from the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) as part of the voluntary ‘Big Lift’ program in February 2016.  The Big Lift program provides students with the opportunity to visit regional areas and assist with community projects.   Some of these students were from overseas while others had not seen a lot of regional NSW. 
During their 2 day stay in Dalgety, students learnt about the Snowy Hydro-Electric Scheme, impacts of reduced flows along the Snowy River and the Snowy River Rehabilitation Program.

South East Local Land Services staff from the Cooma office including Leon Miners, Nicole Gammie, Jo Powells, Robbie Freebody and Luke Pope assisted in the two day event providing presentations about local projects and practical activities for the students.  Topics presented included the outcomes of the Snowy River Biodiversity Fund and Environmental Trust projects currently occurring in the area.  Practical activities including a tree planting session, site preparation activities and revegetation site maintenance along the banks of the Snowy River.

Students described the experience as very positive and rewarding with numerous questions asked and enthusiastic participation in programmed tasks.

Events


Southeast Harvest Festival
11 March 2016
Moruya
The Southeast HARVEST regional food festival's origins date back to 2009 and it is now conducted under the auspices of Sustainable Agriculture & Gardening Eurobodalla (SAGE). 

Community Pest Day
12 March 2016
Kangaroo Valley
Presentations and discussions on local vertebrate pest issues and control options for wild dogs, feral cats, foxes, deer, goats, rabbits as well as noxious weeds. 

Phosphorous management workshops
16 March - 28 April 2016
Boorowa, Braidwood and Moss Vale 
South East Local Land Services and NSW DPI are holding a series of FREE workshops that focus on the economics of investing in fertiliser. These workshops will be based on the ‘Five Easy Steps’ program that was developed by CSIRO and NSW DPI.

Pasture and River Health Field Day
2 April 2016
Bumbalong
Producers, land owners and managers join us for a FREE information session on how to assess pasture and river health on their properties. Discussions will include what are the indicators of pasture health and what management practices can we implement to improve pasture health.

Seasonal Update - Southern Highlands
7 April 2016
Mittagong
Join sheep and cattle producers for a FREE information session about seasonal issues and opportunities in autumn in your local area, including livestock health update, cattle marketing, pasture production, weed management and pest animal issues.

War on worms information day for sheep and goat producers
13 April 2016
Braidwood
Dr. Kate Sawford, District Veterinarian, and Dr. Steve Love, Parasitologist from the NSW Department of Primary Industries will discuss the cost of worms in sheep, drench resistance, how to manage and treat for worms and much more. Please RSVP to Nicky Clarke: nicky.clarke@lls.nsw.gov.au

Pasture and River Health Field Day
16 April 2016
Numeralla
Producers, land owners and managers join us for a FREE information session on how to assess pasture and river health on their properties. Discussions will include what are the indicators of pasture health and what management practices can we implement to improve pasture health.

Prograze - Braidwood/Bungendore
29 April onwards
PROGRAZE® is designed to help producers develop skills in pasture and animal assessment, and use these skills to improve the productivity and sustainability of grazing systems. If you would like to be part of these groups, please register your interest by 22 April 2016. 

Prograze - Bombala
20 May onwards
PROGRAZE® is designed to help producers develop skills in pasture and animal assessment, and use these skills to improve the productivity and sustainability of grazing systems. If you would like to be part of these groups, please register your interest by 29 April 2016. 

Feedback


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.

All comments can be sent to: southeast.circular@lls.nsw.gov.au.
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Local Land Services South East
enquiry.southeast@lls.nsw.gov.au
1 300 795 299