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South East Circular

Edition 23, September 2016

Local disease watch 

Bill Johnson
District Veterinarian
Liver fluke
Reports of liver fluke in cattle and sheep continue to increase.  As discussed last month, testing to determine if fluke are present, and treating before the warmer spring temperatures arrive, are important to breaking the liver fluke life cycle.

Managing ill-thrift and scours in weaner sheep

Petrea Wait
District Veterinarian, Cooma
As many producers will know, balancing the relationship between management, nutrition and disease in the weaner sheep is an ongoing challenge. Conditions throughout winter (on the Monaro) only increase this challenge with minimal pasture growth, poor feed quality, and cold, wet and windy weather. Cold and hungry weaners will quickly lose weight and their resistance to disease will wane making them susceptible to a number of conditions, and one of the most common of these is scouring.

Scours may occur for a variety of reasons including internal parasites, mineral deficiencies and infections. Most livestock managers will quickly notice a tail in the mob, dirty breeches, listless animals and sometimes deaths. The tendency is to give them a worm drench and move them to a better paddock, but sometimes the sheep don’t respond and continue to do poorly.

Read the full article:  Managing ill-thrift and scours in weaner sheep

Southern Highlands feral pig program

Charlie Signorelli
Senior Biosecurity Officer
Almost 100 feral pigs have been removed to date on the Southern Highlands as part of South East Local Land Services’ annual winter coordinated feral pig control program.

The program, which is set to conclude in late September, engages private and public land managers, including NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Forestry Corporation of NSW and NSW Crown Lands.

Feral pigs are an environmental, biosecurity and productivity issue.  They damage native vegetation and are vectors of endemic parasites and diseases.  Feral pigs are a declared pest under the Local Land Services Act 2013, and all land managers have an obligation to control them on their land.

Several methods can be used to control pigs including trapping, baiting and ground shooting.  Trapping is the preferred and most effective method of reducing feral pig numbers on the Southern Highlands, due the size of land holdings and pesticide restrictions.

Trapping involves a period of free feeding with prepared grain in areas where pigs are active.  Once pigs are found to be feeding traps are set up with free feed, to encourage the pigs to enter the trap to consume the food.  After a number of days of successful feeding the trap is triggered and wired for capture.

Pigs caught inside a trap need to be immediately and humanely destroyed.  Ground shooting has been found to be an effective follow up method.

Land managers should report feral pig sightings or signs of feral pig activity to Local Land Services as soon as possible. This allows us to respond swiftly before pigs move on to impact other areas.

Further information:  Contact your nearest Local Land Services office on 1300 795 299 to report sightings or for information on feral pig control.

Image: The trap is set to catch feral pigs on the Southern Highlands as part of South East Local Land Services annual winter coordinated control program. 

Saving the scarlet robin

Rebecca Bradley
Senior Land Services Officer (Industry Partnerships)

South East Local Land Services is encouraging members of the Braidwood community to become involved in a project to help save the scarlet robin.

Land managers and members of the community are being asked to complete a survey to help us build local knowledge about the species.  The information will be used to define project activities that will be undertaken to address the loss of its habitat, protect the bird and improve its future prospects.

The scarlet robin is a vivid woodland bird listed as a vulnerable species within NSW.  It is declining in numbers, mainly due to degradation of habitat from weed invasion and predation.

The 10 year save our scarlet robin project is funded through the NSW Environmental Trust's Save our Species program.

Further information: Complete the survey or contact Rebecca Bradley, South East Local Land Services, Braidwood on 02 4842 2594 for more information.

Pambula River willow removal

Shannon Brennan
Senior Land Services Officer (Natural Resource Management)
Project works to remove 5 hectares of willows along the Pambula River at South Pambula have recently been completed as part of a joint project between South East Local Land Services, a land manager and a local dairy producers.
The site is located on the tidal interface of the Pambula estuary - from the bridge crossing on the Princes Highway to approximately 800 metres upstream. The project complements efforts by the Panboola Wetlands Group which is working on a significant wetland and riparian rehabilitation project on the adjacent downstream property.  It also continues efforts to protect the Pambula River estuary, which supports a thriving oyster industry.
Over the past 18 months the riparian areas along this stretch of the river had been fenced and revegetated.  However, willows which are a Weed of National Significance, remained a key threat to the riparian condition of the area.  The willows were distributed along the river banks and instream sand sheets.  They were threatening to choke the river channel, block fish passage and cause the channel to cut a new course.   Seeding and vegetative spread species were flourishing in the area and the exclusion of stock had led to their recent proliferation.  The long, silky hairs attached to one end of the seed act like a parachute which helps them to spread and multiply.
The willows were treated by chemical control methods six months prior to removal.  Due to the close proximity of the site to the estuary and Pambula township, removal works included a combination of mechanical removal using a excavator with a log grab and chainsaw operator for large trees and mulching of debris.  Willow removal was followed by supplementary plantings to thicken the density of native plants along this stretch of river.
The project was made possible with Australian Government funding through the Pambula Rivers Project. 

Further information: Contact Shannon Brennan, South East Local Land Services, Bega on 02 6491 7823.

Image:  Over 5 hectares of willow removal works have been completed along the Pambula River on the Far South Coast.

Nitrogen use efficiency in kikuyu/ryegrass pasture systems

Hayden Kingston
Land Services Officer
A nitrogen fertilizer application rate trial site was established in November 2015 at Sue and Angus Johnston’s dairy, Morans Crossing via Bemboka, in a well-established, fertile, irrigated kikuyu pasture. This trial replicates the Manning nitrogen rate trial established in December 2014 at James Neal’s dairy, Oxley Island, Taree.

The trials have been developed, established and funded in a partnership between South East and Hunter Local Land Services, Dairy Australia and Far South Coast Dairy Development Group.
The objective of the trial is to establish three nitrogen regimes over the kikuyu growing season: very deficient (0 kg N/ha), deficient (150 kg N/ha) and adequate for high production (300 kg N/ha) and to then compare the effect of these treatments on ryegrass establishment and growth after the kikuyu growing season.

Read the full article: Nitrogen use efficiency in kikuyu/ryegrass pasture systems


Images: A nitrogen fertilizer application rate trial site at Morans Crossing.

Make sale day easy with RamSelect Plus

Matthew Lieschke
Senior Land Services Officer, Livestock
RamSelect Plus was recently launched at the Albury Lambex conference, just in time for the 2016 ram selling season. RamSelect Plus is the latest version of the RamSelect tool which was developed to simplify the ram purchasing process. The main advantage of the web-based tool is that producers are able to utilise Australian Sheep Breeding Values when purchasing rams without having to fully understand all the ‘technical stuff’. The tool has been expanded to cover merino, terminal, maternal and dohne rams.
Compared with the previous version, RamSelect Plus has a range of new features including:
  • more precise genetic selection tools (i.e. greater ability to ‘fine tune’ the traits you want to put emphasis on)
  • ability to customise and save your own breeding objective
  • graphical display showing how a particular ram compares to industry averages
  • ‘ram team manager’ function. This enables you to store information about your current ram team and compare ram teams across years.
One of the biggest advantages of RamSelect Plus is you can sort a ram catalogue based on your breeding objective – simply dial in what traits you are interested in (using the slider bars) and the rams are ranked in order from top to bottom. You can then print this list off and take your ‘cheat sheet’ to sale day; reducing your workload and giving you more time to visually examine and assess your top picks.
While RamSelect Plus is a great tool for commercial producers, the downside is that not all stud producers upload their sale catalogues onto the RamSelect Plus database. Hopefully over time we will see more studs using the tool.

Further information:

ChemClear coming to NSW

Kate Sawford
District Veterinarian
Keeping old or unwanted agricultural and veterinary chemicals stored in your shed can present an unnecessary risk to people, livestock, pets and the environment.  South East Local Land Services is encouraging land managers and other agvet chemical users in NSW to register chemical disposal with ChemClear.

ChemClear classifies chemicals as either Group 1 or Group 2. Group 1 chemicals are collected free of charge under a levy paid on these products at point of sale. Group 1 chemicals are identified by a drumMUSTER logo. This logo may appear on the container or product label, or embossed into the container’s wall. Group 2 chemicals do not display the logo and may include unlabelled, out of date by more than two years, deregistered or mixed chemicals. Collection of Group 2 products via ChemClear attracts a fee per litre charge for disposal.

Please take an inventory of your products and visit ChemClear or free call 1800 008 182.

South Eastern Livestock Exchange

Fiona Kelk
District Veterinarian

On Thursday, 18 August 2,369 cattle were sold at the inaugural prime cattle sale at the South Eastern Livestock Exchange (SELX), Yass. The best prices on the day were left to the charity auction, with one of the six heifers donated by the six SELX Directors, selling for $12,500. A total of $29,500 was raised in the charity pen, with the money donated to the Country Education Foundation. The first sale attracted over 1,000 people.

With a roof spanning five rugby fields and 86 km of steel railing used to construct 524 selling pens, the 16 hectare SELX was constructed without government funding. Its construction used 1,450 tonne of steel, 63,000 tonnes of gravel and more than 275,000 roofing screws, but proponents say the most important figures of all are the predicted annual through-put of 100,000 cattle and 1.2 million sheep.

Twelve agents from around the Yass Valley took part in the first cattle sale. SELX will host cattle sales every Thursday, and sheep sales every Wednesday. The facility can yard 3,800 cattle and 30,000 sheep on any given day.

It is a great asset for the Yass Valley area.  South East Local Land Services will have a role in working with the facility and producers to assess livestock health, welfare and traceability requirements.

Further information:  SELX


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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
1 300 795 299