Issue 25 - 14 January 2021
Message from RALF

Happy New Year!

To help get over the challenges of 2020, this edition features a variety of events, short courses and webinars to help you plan a productive  2021. 

Also in this edition: learn how to build climate and disaster resilience; protect your animals from bushfires; apply to have native trees planted on our property; download your free Orchard Plant Protection Guide and use the CSIRO developed weight loss guide to improve your health.
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

I wish everyone a safe and
prosperous 2021.

Richard Stephens
Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator (RALF) 
Building our climate and disater resilience

Recent extreme climate and disaster events are fresh in our minds, so it's timely to question what we can do to build climate and disaster resilience to support our communities, the economy and environment. 

The horror summer of 2019/20 is a stark example of what Australia faces—a series of consecutive disaster events including bushfires, floods, drought and heat extremes. To better understand the future we face and ensure a holistic approach to climate and disaster events, the CSIRO is undertaking research on climate and disaster resilience.

The result is a comprehensive report with practical guidance on how we face future disasters, or read CSIRO's ten steps to increasing bushfire resilience, click HERE.

Ten steps to increasing bushfire resilience have been developed by the CSIRO, click HERE.
Protecting your animals from bushfire

A bush fire survival plan is something you can put in place to help protect your home and your family. But what about your farm animals and pets? Do you have a plan for them?

There are a lot of things you can do to reduce the risk, prepare and plan for fire, including reducing potential fuel loads, having a safe area (which could be a heavily grazed/ploughed paddock, or large, clear stockyards), filling all water troughs and additional containers (don’t rely on automatic water systems) and having a stock relocation plan. 

Click HERE for a summary. Additional emergency management resources:
Creating canopies in Greater Sydney
Landholders in Greater Sydney have the opportunity to be a part of the Creating Canopies project and have native trees planted on their properties to create wildlife habitat. Coordination, local provenance tubestock tree species and planting materials can be provided for FREE as well as expertise and support with selecting the right tree species. If you are interested, please 
email, phone 02 4724 2147 or click HERE.
Restoring native pastures
John Ive, wife Robin and their daughter Caroline run a grazing property on the Southern Tablelands. By rotational grazing, maintaining ground cover and mulching grass, they have increased soil carbon threefold since 1980. As a result, water holding capacity has increased significantly, there is less damage from storm runoff and farm dam water is clear. Learn more HERE.   
Pick up fallen fruit
With fruit picking labour shortages, there are reports some growers leaving their fruit unpicked or left to rot where it falls. This is not a good idea because it can attract pests, such as fruit fly, diseases and/or feral animals. Fruit can be mulched where it falls to speed up decomposition, or collected and then burnt, buried or fed to livestock so it doesn’t attract pests and diseases. For more information, 
click HERE.  
Livestock feed made from seaweed 
FutureFeed is a livestock feed made from seaweed that reduces methane emissions in beef and dairy cattle by more than 80 per cent. Developed by CSIRO, FutureFeed received the 2020 Food Planet Prize for its benefits to the climate and environment along with the potential of opening up a new global industry in seaweed farming. A handful of the Asparagopsis seaweed can drastically reduces the greenhouse gas contribution from agriculture and  also increase livestock productivity. Click HERE.
Reducing heat stress in livestock
Summer is here, and heatwave conditions are likely. Heat stress affects the welfare and health of livestock, particularly young animals, any that are sick, particularly respiratory illness, or are dark in colour. The best we can do for our livestock during heatwaves is to provide plenty of cool, clean water, adequate shade and allow them to rest. Click HERE.
Horse health in warm, wet weather
La Niña is predicted to continue into 2021. With  wet paddocks and prolific plant growth, horse owners should be alert for additional horse health issues. 
Stringhalt is a neuromuscular condition causing an abnormal gait with an exaggerated lifting of one or both of the hindlimbs. Laminitis is a painful hoof condition that commonly affects the front feet with affected horses often reluctant to move. Warm, wet conditions also harbor
bacterial skin infections such as greasy heal, mud fever and rain scald. So, check your horse regularly this Summer. 
Tree planting workshops
Part of Landcare's Creating Canopies project, three free tree planting workshops are scheduled for February:
Bird habitat restoration - Tuesday 9 February, 9:30 - 11:30am, The Habitat Nursery & Shrimptons Creek, Ryde
All things trees - Friday 12 February, 8.30 to 12.00 noon. Tree propagation & companion planting of natives, Fairfield Community Nursery. 

Ecosystems in our city - Sunday 28 February, 8.30 to 12.00 noon. Improving urban ecosystems and creating local habitat, Old Toongabie.
Growing Australian native foods
Edible native plants are suited to our landscapes, climate and native pollinators. Learn about  our Australian native food plants, how to identify species, propagate, grow and harvest native edibles. Also learn how to use local species in cooking or for medicinal use at home. 
Suitable for beginner to intermediate gardeners of all ages.
When: Saturday 6 March 2021
Where: Pocket City Farms, Camperdown, NSW
Cost: $110.10For more details, click HERE. 
Hunting for Cane Toads
NSW is on the hunt for cane toads. Cane toads love to eat bees, so beekeepers can assist by looking out for them around backyard hives. The ‘Toad at the Hive’ community surveillance activity will run from 6-14 February and requires observing your hives in the evening for toads and reporting your findings. Even if you don’t keep bees, you can still be involved.  Register your interest or for more info 
Faecal worm egg counting workshop 
Learn how to protect your stock while increasing your profit margin by: Use worm egg counts to detect worm infestations early; Do your own worm egg counts and interpret the results; Use tests to determine which drenches are effective on farm; Use WormBoss to help with your decision making. Upcoming one day online courses: 12 February, 12 and 26 March 2021 Click HERE or call 02 6884 8812 for more info.  
Provenance storytelling masterclass
Create your own authentic provenance story to engage with your customers and build your business. It is all about the place, people and product! Participants will leave with a draft story, an action plan and a toolbox of resources. For background information, click HERE. 
When: Friday 19 March 2021
Where: TBA
Information on how to apply for a place will be released soon, or email [email protected] 
Farming matters - for our love of the land
Conference topics include: Freeing up your natural capital, physical and mental; Planning strategy for the next drought; Combining agricultural production and farmland health; Training  from Land to Market Australia; Branding produce through Ecological Outcome Verification; Holistic mgt and profitable biodiversity; Finance and investment for regen agriculture. 
When: 24-25 March 2021
Where: Albury, NSW
Due to COVID-19, spaces are limited, click HERE.

Care Farming & Gardening in the Climate Emergency
The third national Urban Agriculture Forum, Care Farming & Gardening in the Climate Emergency, will take place online from 23 to 24 April. Explore growing urban ag initiatives and the positive impact they have on our health and wellbeing. If you have a great research or an amazing project you're keen to share, papers are called for under the theses; indigenous agriculture, gardening and mental health, and green infrastructure. Click 
Soil Carbon Field Day
Learn about soil carbon, how to improve it, how to set up a soil carbon project and be paid to increase soil carbon on your property.
When: Friday 30 April 2021
Where: Local Land Services Demonstration Farm, 40 Edwards Road, Richmond Lowlands.
More details and a registration link will be in the next newsletter, or email [email protected].
Renewables in agriculture conference
Learn from farmers about ways of combining agriculture and energy production. Topics include Bioenergy, Green hydrogen, Electric utes, Solar irrigation, Hosting solar and wind farms, Battery storage, Financing renewables. Tickets on sale in February, limited spots due to COVID.  
When: Wednesday 19 May 2021
Where: Dubbo, NSW
For more details: Click HERE.
National Landcare Conference
The 2021 National Landcare Conference will be hosted by ABCTV host, Costa Georgiadis. The program themes include: Sustainable Agriculture; Environment & Climate Change; Community Partnerships in Action; and Landcare Impact. Early bird tickets  go on sale early 2021 along with confirmation of keynote and plenary speakers.
When: 4-6 August 2021
Where: Convention Centre, darling Harbour NSW
For more details: Click 
Fee free agriculture training
The NSW Government is subsidising the course fee for eligible students enrolling in the Certificate IV in Agriculture or the Diploma of Agriculture. To be eligible, you need to be: an Australian or New Zealand Citizen, permanent resident or humanitarian visa holder; aged 15 years or older; not at school; living or working in NSW; be 17-24 years of age, including 2020 school leavers (regardless of employment status) OR unemployed OR at risk of unemployment. Students must also meet course entry requirements. Click HERE.
Animal, agriculture and environmental studies
One of Australia’s largest training providers of agriculture, animal care, land management and horticultural studies is TAFE NSW. There is a huge variety of options to choose from, including: online, short courses, diploma, degrees, certificates, apprenticeships, traineeships and subsidised training. For more information, phone 13 1601, click on the Website, go to Facebook or Email Rebecca Coventry, Head of Skills Agribusiness, Richmond TAFE.
Learn about co-operative farming businesses
Co-operative Farming provides access to a wide range of online learning options. Topics include understanding co-operatives and how working together can increase profits, efficiency, and the value of participating agricultural businesses, cooperative governance procedures and community driven business structures. Educational bursaries covering 90% of the course fees are available. Many courses begin early February 2021. Click HERE.
Where can I study Regen Ag?
Soils For Life have compiled a list of regenerative agriculture courses, click HERE. For example, Southern Cross University is now accepting enrolments for March, 2021 for a new course, the Graduate Certificate in Regenerative Agriculture,  The course can be completed in six months full-time, or one year part-time. Southern Cross University is rated number one for overall agriculture experience in the Good Universities Guide 2020/21.
Eight day holistic management course
Inside Outside Management is offering an 8-day holistic management at Gosford on Eagle Ridge Farm. There are four, two days sessions on: 11-12 March; 29-30 April; 27-28 May; and 24-25 June 2021. Learn how to improve profitability, drought resilience, soil fertility and biodiversity. Presented by Brian Wehlburg, fees apply. Email Kerry at
[email protected] or click HERE.


AgriStarter Loan
The Federal Government recently announced the 'AgriStarter Loan' designed to assist first time farmers and support farm succession arrangements. Loans or up to $2million can be used to: buy 
an existing farm business or land, including new infrastructure and farm business assets;  buy out relatives for farm business succession; or pay for legal costs or stamp duty. Click HERE.
Fee free online chemical card training 
The Chemical Card Plus training is a one day, online course. It covers how to prepare and apply chemicals to control pest, weeds and diseases as well as transporting, handling and storing chemicals. It is FEE FREE for eligible participants who are living or working in NSW. Click HERE.


Report your dung beetle observations 
The MyDungBeetle Reporter enables quick and easy reporting of dung beetles to the Dung Beetle Ecosystem Engineers project. Dung beetle distributions can be mapped by using mobile phone reports with up to four photos GPS coordinates. Experts will attempt to identify your beetles and reply back to your device. While only three species are thought to be in the Greater Sydney region, this project is an important step in understanding dung beetles distribution
, click HERE.
A sustainability framework for horticulture
Feedback is invited on a framework to help the horticulture sector share its sustainable, ethical and safe farming practice stories. Fifteen sustainability topics have been grouped into four areas: Nourish & Nurture; People & Enterprise; Planet & Resources; Less Waste. Sustainability indicators have been identified against each topic. Feedback before 5 February 2021 is requested, click HERE.
Biochar improves soil properties
Biochar is a soil conditioner with unique characteristics such as high surface area, porosity, and surface charges. The application of biochar, the charcoal produced from the slow pyrolysis of a biomass,  can increase nutrient use efficiency, nutrient uptake by plants, increase microbial population and increase soil water retention. This PhD research project is examining 14 different biochars using animal manures and biosolids, click HERE.       


Cultural burning webinars
‘djamanj djamaga ganj’ is a six part informative webinar series on traditional Aboriginal cultural burning.  Produced by Treading Lightly, a grass roots movement that brings people together to care about the environment and the wellbeing of our communities and sponsored by the National Indigenous Fire Network, this webinar series covers healing and recovery as well as working with agencies and science. Click HERE.
Understanding soil texture
Water movement in the soil is determined primarily by soil texture which influences water infiltration, water storage and nutrient holding capacity of the soil. Soil texture is determined by the percentage of sand, silt and clay particles in the soil. The size of each of these particles is quite different which contributes to the physical characteristics of the soil. While this article is written for blueberry growers, it contains a useful and concise information on soil texture, click 
Soil carbon farming webinar
Learn the basics of setting up a soil carbon project under the Australian Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund. Explore if you can be paid to increase soil carbon on your property and what the productivity and environmental gains could be. This pre-recorded webinar features Louisa Kiely from Carbon Farmers Australia, Lorraine Gordon from the Regenerative Agriculture Alliance, Southern Cross University and Cara Stitzlein from CSIRO. Click HERE.
Winona, a case study in resilience
Winona is a grazing property in the Central West of NSW with an incredible story of recovery and resilience. In a series reports and interviews, owner Colin Seis, details the property's recovery from a devastating bushfire, salinity, declining soil quality, dying trees and insect attack. Soils For Life have conducted detailed soil testing and a financial analysis of Winona's innovative rehabilitation practices, including pasture cropping. Click HERE.
Sowing seeds magazine
Order your own copy of the Young Farmers Special Edition - Sowing Seeds Magazine. 150 pages of inspiring words, photographs and artwork from incredible young farmers, the movers and shakers in food systems and the changing faces of agriculture. Combine your order with membership to Young Farmers Connect for $35. Click
Priority exotic pests, weeds and diseases
The National Priority List of Exotic Environmental Pests, Weeds and Diseases (the Priority List) was released in November 2020. The list identifies exotic pests, weeds and diseases that are not established in Australia and that pose the highest risk to our environment, public spaces, heritage and way of life. It will be used to enable and prioritise activities that help prevent their entry, establishment and spread, click HERE. To access the 2020 environmental biosecurity webinars, click HERE.
Orchard plant protection guide
The special 60th edition of the Orchard plant protection guide for deciduous fruits in NSW has been published. The guide informs pest and disease management decisions for NSW temperate fruit producers and is recognised as a respected and valuable reference for the temperate fruit industries.
Click HERE to download your free pdf copy.
Investigating the soil food web 
The NSW DPI Schools Program and the Peri-urban Environmental Biosecurity Network have developed a quick activity that provides a hands-on activity that contributes to biosecurity surveillance of NSW and gives students an insight into one of the many science careers in agriculture and natural resource management. Suitable for schools, scout and landcare groups, home schooling and environment clubs. For more info, click HERE. 
New weight loss tool for 2021
The CSIRO has developed a free, personalised tool to help Australians better understand their diet mindset in 2021, with the aim to help combat motivation slumps in the new year and beyond. Based on psychology and behavioural science, the new Start Strong Diet Quiz assesses participants' values and readiness for change and provides a motivational map to guide those seeking to improve their overall health and wellbeing in 2021. To access the tool, click HERE.
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 
You received this email because you subscribed to our list. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Lvl 4, 2-6 Station Street