Issue 44 - 9 June 2022
Message from RALF

​​Hi everyone,

Weeds continue to be a big challenge for all landholders, with many unfortunately experiencing livestock loss. In this edition, read about two species that have been with us for a long time and learn about two recent discoveries in Greater Sydney.

Also in this edition;
celebrate female farmers, sign up to our pasture trials workshop, learn about BHP Blue Carbon grants, discover how fencing farm dams can halve methane emissions, and get your copy of Managing a small beef herd in wet conditions.
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) 

Weeds on your farm

One constant issue for all farm owners is weeds. Lately, there have been many impacting our region, including:

Serrated Tussock is not palatable to livestock and has little feed value. Animals forced to graze serrated tussock can become malnourished and may die with a stomach full of partially digested serrated tussock.

Mother of Millions is a serious weed and grows on the coast and north-west slopes and plains of NSW. It usually flowers between May and October, which when most intoxications occur when ingested by cattle. Affected cattle will often stagger, perhaps due to low blood pressure.

Fever Tree has been recently discovered on a roadside near Penrith. It has distinctive long white thorns, ball-shaped fluffy yellow flowers and poses a threat to the environment, agriculture and economy.

Aaron's Beard Prickly Pear is a cactus with large succulent pads covered in white spine. Recently found on the Central Coast, it can form dense thickets and the spines can injure people and animals.

Contact your local council for weed advice relevant to your area, or check out these websites:
Serrated Tussock (Nassella trichotoma)
Mother of Millions (Bryophyllum spp.)
Fever Tree (Vachellia xanthophloea)
Aarons Beard Prickly Pear (Opuntia leucotricha)
Small farm property planning

Greater Sydney Local Land Services has developed a Small Farm Property Planning process and tool kit.

The tool kit includes an an online mapping tool to enable the creation of individualised property maps, a property planning workbook and a self assessment worksheets.

If you would like to access the property planning workbook and a self assessment worksheet, please click HERE.

All participants from the first Small Farm Property Planning workshop series said say they found the Small Farm Property Planning workshop series valuable, with comments like "Overall I found the workshop series very informative and a great starting point for me to improve my farm".

If you would like to participate in the next Property Planning workshop series, please register
Lumpy skin disease
All breeds of cattle and water buffalo are susceptible to Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD), a highly infectious viral skin disease. Infection typically causes an acute disease with fever, depression, and characteristic skin nodules (lumps, ulcers and scabs). LSD is primarily spread by biting insects, such as mosquitoes, biting flies and possibly ticks. It can also be spread via direct contact between animals, contaminated feed, water, vehicles and repeated use of needles on different animals. Click HERE. 
More wet weather on the way
The latest update from the BOM suggests there is a high likelihood of above median rainfall for much of the country, notably for the already sodden areas in NSW and QLD. La Niña is lingering and it looks like a negative Indian Ocean Dipole is on the way, so a wetter than average winter is expected for much of the country. Eastern and central regions are likely to be particularly soggy, with a greater-than-80 per cent chance of exceeding median rainfall. Click HERE.
Celebrating female farmers

Western Australian photographer Claudia Caporn has been surrounded by female farmers all her life and hopes to use her photography to change the face of agriculture.
Claudia continues to travel get pictures of women that are authentic, real and challenges the idea of all Aussie farmers being a healthy, young, fit male in an Akubra hat. Click
First nations regenerative farming practices 
A new pilot program aims to boost First Nations-led regenerative farming practices. A Shepparton farm will train local young men in beekeeping and native flower harvesting. Weaving his way through a ring of brightly coloured beehives, Yorta Yorta man Lee James sees infinite possibilities. This fledgling honey enterprise is a training ground for the Aboriginal farmers of tomorrow.
It is already changing lives.
Click HERE.
Land for Wildlife EOI
Expressions of Interest from landholders in Western Sydney with bushland, especially in the Hawkesbury, Hills Shire and Penrith LGAs are being sought by Land for Wildlife (LFW). The LFW program is a voluntary property registration scheme for landowners who wish to manage areas for biodiversity and wildlife habitat. You can read more about it HERE fill out the EOI form HERE or contact [email protected] for more information.
Annual Land and Stock Return arriving soon
Your Annual Land and Stock Return (ALSR) will soon arrive in your letterbox. Essentially they are a ‘farm census’ on 30 June providing important information on land use and livestock numbers across NSW. With threats like bushfire, flood, drought, biosecurity concerns (such as Foot and Mouth disease), knowing how many animals are in certain areas - help, emergency fodder and water supplies can be catered for. To avoid additional charges,  ALSRs are due by 31 August 2022. Click
Central Coast Harvest Festival
Celebrate the fantastic selection of produce from the Central Coast while visiting locally owned properties and farms. The Central Coast Harvest Festival is on 11 and 12 June 2022, offering a range of unique events across thirty event hubs. Be sure to book ahead so you don’t miss out on any of your favourite hubs. Check out the program HERE. 
The grass is greener... even after floods
Explore a variety of pasture options available to graziers in the Sydney basin. At this event, see how our pasture trial has survived and thrived despite the impacts of floods and grazing pressure (sheep). The pasture species sown during summer and autumn are now green and continuing to grow during winter when feed and cover options are limited. 10am - 2pm, Friday 24 June 2022 at Greater Sydney LLS Demo Farm, 40 Edwards Rd, Richmond Lowlands. Bookings essential, click 
Greater Sydney Landcare Gathering, 3 July
The date for the Greater Sydney Landcare Gathering is Sunday 3 July 2022. Small farmers, landcarers, bushcarers and environmentalists are invited to connect, imagine and create a future together. It’s been a difficult couple of years with drought, bushfires, floods and COVID-19. Together, find new connections and develop positive ideas and initiatives. Be a part of the Greater Sydney "care" community at Rhodes. Register
Mudgee small farm field days
The Mudgee Small Farm Field Days has been running for over 40 years and attracts approximately 20,000 people per year. Its aim is to promote innovation and sustainability in agriculture and rural living by informing, educating and connecting rural people with information and solution providers. This year, 8-9 July 2022, there are free demonstrations and talks along with commercial stalls, live music and activities to suit the whole family. Click HERE.
Convergence conference
Convergence: agriculture, human and planetary health is a two day regenerative agriculture conference. With presentations by soil scientists and eco-farmers, medical professionals, ecologists and financial experts, feel empowered to increase farm profit, improve the health of the land and lift  food and fibre quality. Hosted by RCS, participate virtually or in person, 16–17 July 2022 in Brisbane. Click HERE.
Certificate IV in Training and Assessment
Cert IV in Training and Assessment is the national minimum standard for professionals involved in training and assessment. Trainers must also demonstrate vocational competency in their proposed teaching and assessing area. All states are currently offering subsidies to encourage people to undertake this qualification, and in NSW it is free!  Talk to ​RuralBiz Training​ about becoming a qualified a trainer in Agriculture or Landcare.
2022 National Landcare Conference
The theme of the 2022 National Landcare Conference is “The Power of Landcare - Shaping Our Future”. The six concurrent streams will be; Landcare Farming and Emerging Environmental Markets, Environment and Climate Change, Community Partnerships in Action, Landcare Impact, Urban Landcare and First Nations Peoples. To be held at Darling Harbour on 23 to 25 August 2022. Click HERE.
Soil CRC Participants Conference
The Soil Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) is holding its 2022 participants conference in Adelaide from 23 to 25 August. Wednesday 24 August is open to the public and will feature a series of keynote presentations, highlights of current research, include some interesting panel discussions and culminate in a conference dinner. For more information, click HERE.  
Connecting people, connecting nature
Explore the science and practice of connectivity conservation and how it can help meet our planetary challenges. This 'Great Eastern Ranges' event will take the focus from global context to local action, bringing together local and international industry leaders with on-ground practitioners, researchers, traditional owners, community groups, NGOs and government agencies. To be held in Brisbane on 18-19 October. Click HERE.


Electric fencing grants 
Applications for the 2022 Gallagher Landcare Electric Fencing Grants are now open. Up to 16  grants will be provided with at least four grants being allocated to farm dam restoration work. Applicants can apply for up to $8,000 (ex-GST) for fencing materials and cash to support projects – with costs to be determined in consultation with their local Gallagher Territory Manager. Submissions close on 4 July 2022. For eligibility criteria, click HERE.
Global footprint scholarships in Ag & Hort 
Do you want to help create a more sustainable world? Are you inspired by bright ideas and solutions from that make your industry more sustainable? Go overseas for work experience with an $8,000 Global Footprints Scholarship in Agriculture, Horticulture or Trades. This is your opportunity to travel the world and shape it. Click
HERE for the criteria. Entries close 10 July 2022.
Historical soil data payments program
The Historical Soil Data Capture Payments Program pays farmers and land managers to share their historical soil test data with the Australian Government. Farmers and land managers may be eligible to receive payments up to $10,000 in exchange for sharing their historical soil information. The Program is open from April 2022 to 30 June 2023. For more detail, click HERE. To register  your interest with Southern Cross University, click HERE. 
BHP blue carbon grants 
BHP has announced a grant program to support blue carbon opportunities across Australia. There are two grant streams under the program, the Breakthrough Grant Program targeting “shovel-ready” blue carbon projects and the Enabler Program which is seeking EOIs for earlier stage opportunities. Applications are open for the two programs until 15 July 2022 and 29 July 2022 respectively. For more information, click


Solar sheep produce better wool
Sheep grazing on solar farms under solar panels have produced better wool and more of it over the last four years. These trials show wool from s
heep grazing under solar panels increased their wool quantity and quality. Graziers have labelled it a "complete win-win", with the sheep helping to keep grass and weeds down so as not to obscure the panels. In turn, the panels provide shade for the sheep and grass, and help prevent the soil from drying out. For more information, click HERE.
Fencing dams halves methane emissions
A joint research project has shown that greenhouse gas emissions from farm dams can be reduced through simple management actions. Comparing unfenced farms with fenced farm dams, fenced dams produced fifty-six per cent less methane than unfenced. This is a huge difference and shows how simple management actions can improve the dam water quality, decrease methane emissions and contribute to more productive and sustainable farming. Click HERE.
Six new soil projects 
The Soil CRC has announced six new projects: A tool for assessing new farming practices; Assessing organic waste as fertiliser; Commercialising the 'Bilby' - below ground wireless sensor node; Rapid soil test using 'lab-on-a-chip'; Evaluation of innovative microbial carrier products; Building soil resilience and carbon through plant diversity. Click
Planting trees linked to improved wellbeing
New research by Sustainable Farms has found that tree planting and broader whole-of-farm approaches to natural resource management (NRM) was linked to feelings of increased personal wellbeing and social connectedness. Tree-planting was linked to higher levels of social connectedness, while broader whole-of-farm approaches to NRM were associated with increased farmer wellbeing. Click HERE.
Soil carbon sequestration to fall   
A new university study indicates a warming climate will reduce the soil’s ability to retain soil carbon, making soil carbon markets a treacherous place for farmers. The study found that within 30 years, soil organic carbon sequestration rates may decline by 45-133 per cent and soils can not continually build soil carbon once they reach their maximum amount of organic carbon. HERE.


Ag Careers Expo
Tuesday 2 August is the date for the 2022 Online AgCareers Expo! Topics include: 
Working in Agriculture - overview of salaries and conditions; Types of jobs, salaries & conditions; Scholarships, graduate and traineeship programs; Careers and growth areas; Pathways in Agriculture Education. This event is designed for agriculture students in years 10,11 & 12, teachers, primary industries teachers, careers advisors and others who assist young people entering the workforce. Registration essential, click HERE.
Natural asset farming
Natural asset farming is about enhancing natural assets in the agricultural landscape, from farm dams and tree lines, to rocky outcrops and creek beds. Research shows fencing off farm dams improves biodiversity, water quality and reduces greenhouse gas emissions and even rocky outcrops can benefit farm production. A recently released book, Natural Asset Farming: Creating Productive and Biodiverse Farms, is authored by David Lindenmayer, Suzannah Macbeth, David Smith and Michelle Young.  Click HERE.        
Managing a small beef herd in wet conditions 
With the wet weather predicted to continue, small farms may not have the option to move stock to dry ground or own the equipment to regularly feed livestock during a challenging season. The cost of feeding cattle over a long period can be very high and, therefore, it is wise to consider this ongoing cost. A new guide has been published detailing considerations for managing a small beef herd through a challenging season. If your paddocks were flood impacted, now is the time to make a decision to de-stock, agist or feed this winter. 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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