Issue 29 - 12 May 2021
Message from RALF

Hi everyone,

If you had flooded paddocks back in March, you might be interested in our latest podcast on
'Pasture and livestock flood recovery'. Also, if you are looking for new business ideas, 'Emerging enterprises' is the other episode being released this month. 

Also in this edition: have your say on the draft strategic plan for Local Land Services, let Greater Sydney Local Land Services know of the things you want help with; sign up for a fencing or composting workshop this Friday or Saturday; access community wellbeing, bushfire restoration or farm household allowance funding; discover how sugar is being used to control weeds; and much more.

If you know someone who might be interested in joining the Greater Sydney Small Farms network, they can register HERE. To view previous newsletters, click HERE. To provide ideas on how the Greater Sydney Small Farms network can help you, please email or phone me on 0436 803 337

Richard Stephens
Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator (RALF) 
Special pasture and livestock flood recovery podcast

In response to the major flood event in March, Greater Sydney Local Land Services held a 'Pasture and fodder options for flood recovery' workshop in April and produced a 'Pasture and livestock flood recovery' podcast.

Floods, just like bush fires, can be fast and sudden so preparation and planning is critical to managing the impact. But what do in the aftermath? Where to start with the clean up? In this podcast episode we hear from experts and landholders at the recent workshop on lessons learned and how to move forward, including replanting, what and how to sow and weeds.  
Emerging enterprises

In this episode we’re hearing from farmers and producers about Australian made emerging opportunities. From climate tolerant native bush foods to economically sustainable bespoke dairy products. Not only can new enterprises help farm businesses become more diverse and resilient, but they can also contribute towards the broader community and our planet. Click
Local Strategic Plans – Time to Have Your Say

A Greater Sydney Local Strategic Plan has been drafted and we want your feedback on it. This opportunity will enable you to shape the way we, Greater Sydney Local Land Services, operate and ensure our services can meet your needs over the next five years.

The easy-to-read draft plan on a page is on public exhibition until Sunday, 6 June and there are several ways you can provide feedback, including responding to short surveys and/or uploading a formal written submission. 

To have your say, view and download the draft plan, click

Detecting bushfires within one minute of ignition
Imagine a system that could detect any bushfire in Australia within minutes of ignition so firefighters could tackle the blaze before it spreads. A Queensland based company has announced our first purpose-built satellite for fire detection. It is the first of 24 constellation satellites that will monitor Australia from a low Earth orbit. Once the full system, including ground-based cameras and aerial drones, is up and running, it will be able to spot any fires within one minute of ignition. Click HERE.
Can insects become a staple in Aussie diets?
With the global population predicted to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, one of our biggest challenges will be securing enough food for everyone. With finite land and water resources, climate change, environmentally harmful practises and emerging diseases, a new industry roadmap for edible insects explains why we should bring bugs into mainstream diets. More than two billion people from 130 countries already eat insects. Click
Have your say on how we can best help you
Are you a landholder in Greater Sydney on 2 or more hectares? To support landholders in improving their knowledge, skills, and practices on the land, Greater Sydney Local Land Services have commissioned social research agency Ipsos to conduct research on local landholders. Ipsos will send an email to targeted landholders to take part in the survey. Please keep an eye out for it in your inbox or click this LINK to complete the survey.
Property planning
Property plans can help you to achieve your rural living goals by guiding your efforts to achieve the things you value. Property planning includes a whole-of-property approach and helps to determine a vision for your land in terms of its natural resources, production, community, family and lifestyle. Aerial photographs are often used to show boundaries, topographic, soil, water features, etc. Free imagery of your land is available via Google Earth or via the Department of Lands Spatial Information website. Property planning overview HERE.
Sheep sustainability framework
The Sheep Sustainability Framework defines sustainable sheep production in Australia, prioritises industry sustainability issues and measures industry performance against relevant indicators. It guides ethical and environmentally, socially, and financially responsible sheep meat and wool production from farm to fork and sheep to shelf. Click
Fall armyworm control
Since the first incursion of fall armyworm (FAW) in 2020, scientists have been looking at which chemicals are most effective, chemical resistance, natural predators and parasitoids. Research shows that FAW is susceptible to avermectins and diamides insecticides, but has resistance to synthetic pyrethroids. There are a range of general predators including spiders, beetles, ants, bugs, and predatory wasps. Click HERE.
Fencing workshop
Come and learn many practical tips about fencing at this field fencing demonstration, including: 
plain wire fencing techniques, knots and ties; post installation; gate fitting and swingingthe latest in electric fencing equipment. Being held at  the Greater Sydney Demonstration Farm, 40 Edwards Road, Richmond Lowlands this Friday, 14 May,  9.30am - 2pm. Cost is $85 per person, limited numbers! For more information or to register, click HERE.
Composting workshop
Learn how to turn household waste into plant food at this practical 'how to get started' free workshop. Different techniques and theories to harness this renewable resource will be covered by Eric Brocken. Learn how to turn waste in to nutrients and improve soil fertility. To be held this Saturday, 15 May at 9:30am to 12:30pm at '
The Secret Garden & Nursery,  Clydesdale Lane, University of Western Sydney Richmond, NSW 2753. Register HERE.
Food systems summit
A series series of webinars are being held to support Australia’s input into the UN Food System Summit. The ultimate aim is to raise awareness around the critical role agriculture and food systems play in achieving the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Webinars are being held on the next three Thursdays at 2:00 to 3:30pm: 13 May - Food production & healthy environment; 20 May - Future proofing our food systems; and 27 May - Balancing nutrition and sustainability. Click HERE.
Environmental accounting zoom workshop
Want recognition for your land management practices? Interested in measuring and protecting your natural capital? At this half day zoom workshop, you will be able to learn the Landcare Farming method of environmental accounting to measure soil and natural vegetation, access free tailored advice and even receive a recognised natural capital certificate from Accounting for Nature (fees apply). Email [email protected] to register for the Zoom workshop on 9am to 1.40pm, 19 May, or click HERE for more information.
Renewables in Agriculture conference
Opportunities for renewables in farming will be explored on 19 May 2021 in Dubbo, NSW. Farmers, experts, business and energy consultants will gather to share knowledge and understand biomass, bioenergy, hydrogen, energy storage, solar irrigation, financing renewables, hosting solar or wind farms and electric utes. Ticket prices start at $175 (includes a free haircut from a hydrogen powered barber shop!). Click HERE.
Pasture fundamentals workshops
Join Greater Sydney Local Land Services for one of three workshops with pasture expert Clare Edwards, who will explore the fundamentals of native and introduced pastures. All workshops are from 10am to 2.30pm and lunch is provided. Registration is essential. For more information, click on your best location
Central Coast (25 May), Cobbitty (26 May) or Richmond (28 May).
Keeping pigs on your property
Greater Sydney Local Land Services is holding a half day workshop covering everything you need to know about raising happier, healthier and more profitable pigs. Hear about the impact pig handling has on the welfare of your pigs, rules and regulations regarding buying and selling pigs, biosecurity information, pig health, market trends. To be held 10am to 2pm, 27 May at Somersby. Click HERE.
Young farmer business program conference 
Learn about the drivers of successful primary production businesses, the support services available and practical steps they can take to achieve your dream. Delegates will hear from experts on finance, negotiation and planning, as well as from people who have made the successful journey as young entrants to the industry. Friday 28 May in Dubbo. Click HERE. 
Community Food Hubs workshop
Food Connect founder, Robert Pekin (otherwise known as the father of the paddock to plate movement), and Dr Robert Burdock will explore examples of community food hubs, the circular economy and sustainability concepts in agriculture. This free workshop will be held at Ourimbah on 4 June, 9.30am to 3pm. Registration is essential! Contact Julie McAlpin on mobile 0414 190 175 or email [email protected]
Cultural burning workshops
If you want practical skills in cultural burning, learn from Den Barber, Yarrabin Cultural Connections, at one of these workshops at Mangrove Mountain, Saturday 12 or Sunday 13 June 2021, both starting at 8.30am. They are practical with a degree of fitness required to participate, along with long sleeved shirt, long pants, hat and sturdy enclosed footwear. If you prefer to observe, please advise on registration. Lunch and refreshments will be provided, registration is essential. Click HERE.
Food service, biosecurity, agritourism workshop 
Come along and hear the experts from the NSW Food Authority and DPI who will explain  how to interpret and apply the NSW Food Safety Code and food service regulations to  your agribusiness and farming  enterprise. Also hear about food labelling, what to consider at the farm-gate, bio-security, and agritourism considerations. This free workshop will be held at Ourimbah on 18 June, 9.30am to 3pm. Registration is essential! Contact Julie McAlpin on mobile 0414 190 175 or email [email protected] 
Central Coast Harvest Festival 
Celebrate fresh, seasonal, local produce whilst exploring picturesque valleys and mountains. Central Coast Council is excited to present the Harvest Festival Central Coast to be held on the June long weekend. The event will run across the Calga, Somersby, Peats Ridge, Dooralong, Mangrove Mountain, Kulnura and Yarramalong areas. Enjoy the views, soak up the live music, free entertainment and celebrate our local produce. Follow the event trail, visit local farms, pick your own fruit and relax at our many event hubs. Click HERE.
Mudgee small farm field days
For over 40 years, the Mudgee Small Farm Field Days have attracted approximately 20,000 people per year and aims to promote innovation and sustainability in agriculture and rural living. To be held on 9-10 July, these field days inform, educate and connect rural people with free demonstrations and talks along with commercial stalls, live music and activities. Click 
National Landcare Conference
The 2021 National Landcare Conference will be hosted by ABCTV host, Costa Georgiadis. The  themes include: Sustainable Agriculture; Environment & Climate Change; Community Partnerships in Action; and Landcare Impact. Field Trips, including Agriculture in Greater Sydney, can now be booked and spaces are filling quickly!
When: 4-6 August 2021
Where: Convention Centre, Darling Harbour NSW
For more details, click 


Community well being grants 
Community Wellbeing Grants of up to $10,000 are now available for organisations or community groups in he bushfire affected Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury and Lithgow areas. These grants can be used to foster connection, friendships and relationships, build community capacity, skills or knowledge, and which promote and/or refer to support services. Applications close at 11.59pm Friday 14 May. Click HERE
Bushfire restoration tree planting grants
Applications are now open for tree planting to support recovery from the 2019-20 bushfires. If you are working to restore habitat through tree planting in areas that were impacted by the bushfires, you can apply for a Bushfire Restoration Grant. Hawkesbury Council Nursery in Windsor can provide trees free of charge to organisations and individuals undertaking restoration in our region. Grants will be open until 30 June 2021. Click
Farm Household Allowance
If you’re a farmer who’s finding it tough, Farm Household Allowance (FHA) can help. The FHA is a fortnightly income support payment that helps farmers and their families in financial hardship for up to 4 years in specific 10-year periods. Up to $10,000 is available per person and if you have a partner who works on the farm, they may also be eligible. An agreed plan to help improve your financial  situation must be undertaken. Click HERE or call the Farmer Assistance Hotline on 132 316.
NSW Quad Bike Safety Improvement Program
Rebates of up to $2,000 are now available through the NSW Quad Bike Safety Improvement Program to eligible farmers and their workers to implement harm prevention measures in the workplace. Eligible items include: Up to $2000 for each agricultural side-by-side vehicle; Up to $600 for each Quadbar TM or ATV Lifeguard Operator Protective Device; Up to $90 for each worker, a compliant helmet; Up to $500 for the purchase of an eligible drone For more info, click HERE.
Flood disaster recovery grant
Small business and not-for-profit organisations that have been directly impacted by the March 2021 storms may be eligible for a flood disaster recovery grant of up to $50,000. Covered costs can include; Professional safety inspections; Clean-up equipment, hire and/or services; Equipment and materials required to resume operations; Removal and disposal of damaged goods and materials; Repairs; Leasing temporary premises; Replacing lost or damaged stock, etc. Click HERE.


Sugar for weed control 
Controversy over the use of herbicides to kill weeds has grown around the world in recent years, with health and environmental concerns prompting a push for chemical-free alternatives. In conjunction with Liverpool City Council, a CSIRO study has found that sugar reduces seed germination rates of some herbaceous weeds, such as Bidens pilosa. Results so far look promising. Click HERE.
Farming health and safety risks
The University of Technology Sydney and the Centre for Work Health and Safety are conducting a survey to understand emerging work health and safety risks to farming communities in New South Wales. For each completed survey, $10 will be donated to the Country Women’s Association of NSW (up to 300 surveys). If you have a farm, please have your say and click HERE.
Drought resilience hubs
Eight Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs are being set up across Australia. They will provide networks for researchers, primary producers and community groups to work together to enhance drought resilient practices and become precincts for agricultural innovation in each region. The Southern NSW Hub, led by Charles Sturt University, will support southern NSW farmers and communities. For more info, click HERE.
Soils for science
Soils for Science is an Australian-first citizen science program dedicated to finding new antibiotics needed to fight drug-resistant infections, better known as superbugs. Superbugs are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics and threaten to cause 10 million deaths per year worldwide by 2050. More than half of all antibiotics available worldwide have been developed from microbes found in soil and nature. Help find the next antibiotic. Request your soil kit HERE and download an Apple or Android app. 


Farm water quality
Providing safe and suitable water for stock and domestic uses on farm can be challenging. Check out these resources: Testing and treating water for stock and domestic use; Water requirements for sheep and cattle; and Interpreting water quality results. Or simply click HERE.
Tocal publications
Printed and electronic, the Department of Primary Industries 'Tocal College' publications cover all major areas of agriculture and land management. Close to 100 publications provide up-to-date, best-practice and relevant information for modern agriculture. Topics include weed management, livestock, pastures, irrigation, natural resource management, beekeeping, machinery, farming skills and farm management. These books are easy to read with useful illustrations and photos. Click HERE.
The diversity of small farms 
South East Local Land Services (LLS) have released a series of small farms videos that promote and celebrate the diversity of small farms. Hear from these amazing landholders as they share their tips for making things work on farm and work with LLS to help them on their journey. Check out the first 3 'every Bit Counts' videos HERE.
Starting a food business  
Starting up a food business brings with it many food safety requirements and obligations which vary depending on what the food is, where it is sold, and other factors. An interactive flowchart to find out what food safety requirements and obligations are required for your specific type of business has been developed by the NSW Food Authority. In addition, a range of factsheets, videos & resources have been developed. Click HERE.
Farm safety
The SafeWork NSW website has great information on preventing injuries on rural properties. Two key documents of interest are: The farm safety starter guide and the The fifteen-minute farm safety checklist.
Some of the tips include Identifying the dangers and m
apping the hazards on your property. Click HERE. 
Agrifutures new website
AgriFutures Australia have launched their new website
growag.com. The new online platform showcases Australia’s world leading agricultural research, unique technologies and commercialisation opportunities in one easy to use location. Explore success stories, research projects and commercial opportunities. Click HERE.          
Planting a bee friendly garden
In Australia there are over 2000 native bee species and most of them are solitary bees. Some live in trees, others in the ground and some in colonies. Regardless of the bee species, most are attracted to white, yellow, purple or blue colours and flowers that have a pleasant but mild aroma and  produce nectar, pollen or both. Bees and other pollinating insects can perceive ultraviolet light, so they can see more than what we see. Click HERE.
Condition score your livestock
Condition scoring
cattle and sheep gives you a reliable estimate of the body fat reserves, and the health of your livestock. The condition score (between 1 and 5) is independent of livestock size, and a more reliable descriptor than live weight alone. You can use the Livestock Scorer tool within AgriWebb to input livestock scores on the go. Or for more info, click
This project is supported by Greater Sydney Local Land Services through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Program. 
The information contained in this publication is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing. However, because of advances in knowledge, users are reminded of the need to ensure that the information upon which they rely is up to date and to check the currency of the information with the appropriate officer of Local Land Services or the user’s independent adviser. For updates go to www.lls.nsw.gov.au 
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Lvl 4, 2-6 Station Street