Manager - Biosecurity and Emergency Management
A serious fire occurred on a large pig farm located in the Southern Highlands in April. The fire completely destroyed shedding and other infrastructure including facilities which housed pigs. As a result nearly 500 pigs were lost, nearly half as a direct result of the fire and the other being humanely destroyed for welfare reasons by South East Local Land Services as part of its commitments to the NSW Emergency Management arrangements.
Whilst this is an absolutely tragic event for all involved, none more so than the owner, it was a test for our emergency response capabilities.
The South East Local Leaders program aims to build leadership capacity of the rural sector South East LLS region including Landcare, Small Farms Network and other community groups and networks. The program is funded through the Australian and NSW governments, consisting of three intakes of up to 20 people each, participating in eight contact days over three months. The program is based on the notion that being a leader is something that everyone has in them.
At the end of April, 32 participants in two intakes are undertaking leadership training activities. The final group to start on the 18th of May at Lake George. The first intake is now approaching a final ‘transition’ day during which the participants present learnings and insights they have gained through the program to a group of sponsors including family and colleagues. The second intake have completed their three-day deep dive activity at Lake George and were hosted by a participant near Crookwell for the first of two follow up workshops. Participants have completed a range of personal development activities and have developed skills in communication, problem solving, planning, coaching and support. The program also requires participants to put energy into both personal and group projects.
Participants have shared stories of how the program is having an impact on their decisions and approaches. Several have recognised how they are becoming more effective in the activities they are involved in.
Program partners South East LLS, South East Landcare and the Small Farms Network are looking forward to seeing the final program commence as the first reaches completion.
Photo: Michael Andrews (Era Beach Landcare), Megan Rowlatt (South East LLS), Sandy Wilder (Moruya) and David Newell (volunteer facilitator)
Coastal pastures respond
Senior Land Services Officer - Pastures
Prior to recent heavy rains well-managed pastures were looking great with kikuyu still performing strong and signs of ryegrass and clover beginning their growing season. Autumn traditionally sees the transition from summer feed into winter feed, with conversations about sowing new pastures for winter/spring being had across many regions. Both the Southern Highlands and South Coast Prograze groups have been discussing managing the transition over the last few sessions. The recent seasonal update held in Barrengarry, attended by 20 landholders, discussed similar topics of pasture management, quality and species to maximise production.
The kikuyu growing season over the last few years has been noticeably longer (in Autumn) and starting earlier in the spring. These extended growth periods have given rise to a few questions such as, if we fertilise kikuyu would this help extend the growing season and improve the quality of the feed lessening the need for a winter feed supplement? Are these new seasons going to be the new norm, and how can we tell if the season will be an extended one?
The upper Murrumbidgee River is of great ecological and economic importance to the region. It is the known habitat of small, yet resilient riverine populations of three nationally listed threatened fish species: Macquarie perch, Murray cod and Trout cod and is also a source of ACT’s drinking water supply.
In order to protect this natural asset from further decline and improve river health and drinking water conditions, the South East LLS is assisting with funding for the Upper Murrumbidgee Demonstration Reach (UMDR) initiative and projects relating to the regional Actions for Clean Water (ACWA) plan 2012.
These projects are guided by scientific assessment and supported by collaboration of catchment partners across borders for real on-ground results.
Congratulations to Roslyn Landcare and LLS team member Mark McGaw on being named Upper Lachlan Landcare Champions at an awards dinner held in Laggan last month. Mark and the Roslyn Landcare received the award for their work running the Schools Landcare Day Out event over the last six years. Read more about the award: Roslyn Landcare crowned Landcare Champions
Photo: Mark McGaw (South East LLS) and John Mitchell (Roslyn Landcare) receive the award from Nerida Croker (Upper Lachlan Landcare)
Bega River bike path completed
Senior Land Services Officer - Rivers
The last phase of the Bega River bike path has now been completed. The shared pathway covers over 5 kilometres and is accessible to pedestrians and cyclists. It commences at North Bega, near the Bega Cheese Heritage Centre, and winds around Kiss’ Lagoon, linking the existing path constructed by the Lions Club to the Bega River Reserve. The path extends around the Old Bega Racecourse and Bega River anabranch joining the existing bike path along Tarraganda Road.
Walkers and cyclists can now travel from one side of Bega to the other without having to traverse road and school children can now safely ride their bikes to school and avoid busy roads.
The bike path project is part of the Local Land Services Bega River Bridge to Bridge program, delivered in partnership with Bega Valley Shire Council, Bega River and Wetlands Landcare Group (BRAWL) and the On-Track Committee.
The current cattle market is looking markedly improved and with widespread rain - this should continue on due to tightening supply and high demand. Feedback from producers indicated that the weights of vealers sold were above what was anticipated. Amanda Britton's pasture section of this newsletter shows some feed values for local pastures, which probably explains the high growth rates.
The arrival of cooler weather brings management opportunities such as the chance to control liver fluke which can be a problem especially in wetter areas. The flukes intermediate host snail should be going into hibernation, which stops the flow of infective cysts onto pasture. So there should be minimal intake of new fluke by animals until spring.
Senior Land Services Officer - Investment and Planning Wollongong
South East Local Land Services is calling for Expressions of Interest under a new grant program, called the Community, Industry and Landscapes Fund. Funding from the Australian and NSW governments has been allocated into the Fund to support small-scale local projects that contribute to meeting national, state and regional targets.
The Fund will assist groups within the local landcare community to deliver natural resource management and sustainable agricultural projects. It will also support primary producers to better manage natural resources and fund landscape-scale initiatives to protect priority natural resource assets.
The local landcare community includes Landcare groups and other ‘care’ groups, ‘friends of’ groups and community environment groups, farmer/producer groups and Aboriginal community organisations.
Barber’s pole worms continue to cause headaches for about half our sheep producers. They have also affected goats and alpacas.
With little rain during February and the district drying off rapidly at that time, several producers delayed routine worm monitoring - after all, the sheep looked good, and conditions were unkind to worms. It has come as a surprise for some to now find worm egg counts of several thousands, dominated by Haemonchus (barber's pole worms).
On some properties, the haemonchus problem is evident in all mobs; for others, the problem is confined to just one or two mobs. Barber's pole eggs hatched quickly after rain in March and early April, and these larvae will now survive into the winter. It is worthwhile sending faeces off for a faecal egg count and requesting a larval differentiation to find out if haemonchus is present, if only to identify those paddocks which may cause problems later.
Helen Schaefer BVSc District Veterinarian South East LLS, Bega
Botulism is recognised as being a difficult diagnosis to make, particularly in geographical areas not recognised as having experienced botulism outbreaks previously. The difficulty is increased in the absence of the classical signs associated with botulinum toxicity such as sudden death, tongue paralysis, tongue protrusion, difficulty eating, and drooling. Diagnosis has generally relied on clinical signs, ruling out other possibilities and the demonstration of toxin, the latter of which can be very challenging.
A recent case on a dairy farm in the Far South Coast area of NSW highlighted the fact that producers and veterinarians do need to be aware of the less obvious signs of botulism, the increased risk of it occurring with the increased use of conserved fodder, and what can be done to prevent it occurring.
NSW Landcare Conference 2015
Orange, 1-3 September 2015
The theme for this year’s conference is ‘From the Ground Up’ representing the Landcare ethos and celebrating the International Year of Soils. The conference will be held 1 – 3 September in Orange NSW. Details here.
Beef marketing and QA update
Braidwood/Crookwell, 1-2 June 2015
This update will cover Livestock Production Assurance, Meat Standards Australia, pasture fed accreditation systems and EUCAS. Details here.
Pasture update for beef producers
Bomaderry, 8 May 2015
Highlands beef producers are invited to hear the latest in pasture research at this Grasslands Society of NSW pasture update. Details here.
“Who's living on my land?” Citizen Science Project Ulladulla, Friday 15 May 2015
This project engages landholders in using infrared motion detection cameras to document the presence/absence of native and pest animal species on their land. RSVP by Tuesday May 12th to Megan Rowlatt 02 4229 7526 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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