Issue 48 - 7 October 2022
Message from RALF

Hi everyone,

Unfortunately, we are in for yet another
wet spring and summer. Please take care.

Also in this edition, where is your biosecurity plan, register for the soil biology and management workshop on 14 October or the Accounting for Nature workshop on 19 October, consider applying for a climate smart farming scholarship, lodge your interest in Landcare farming grants, have your say on the regional strategic weed plans and learn how to make a biosecurity footbath.   

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) 

What is your biosecurity plan?

With diseases such as Foot and Mouth and Lumpy Skin on Australia's doorstep, good hygiene practices and controlling the movement of livestock, people and equipment onto your property is essential.

Decontamination procedures, wash down points, records of visitors to the property, and a record of materials and farming machinery that have been brought onto the property, is some of the information to be included in a biosecurity plan.  Also:
For more information on creating your own biosecurity plan, click HERE.
Feral deer control in Sydney
A major deer control program involving Local Land Services, private contractors, local councils and more than 20 landholders is now underway in the Liverpool and Penrith local government areas. Since October 2021, more than 100 deer have been removed from these areas. A further deer control activity on the Central Coast was carried out with assistance from NPWS, resulting in 90% of observed deer being removed. Click HERE to read more about deer identification and HERE to report deer sightings and activity on FeralScan.
Fire for country
Cultural burning – a practice used by Indigenous Australians for more than 60,000 years – has helped a community in the Shoalhaven to heal country and heal themselves. Cultural burning – also known as fire-stick farming or cool burning – is proven to reduce the intensity of bushfires over time. However, the practice of cultural burning has not occurred at scale since colonisation. Click HERE.
Feral honey bees to be poisoned
Authorities are baiting feral bees, more than three months after varroa mite was detected at the Port of Newcastle. The baiting program targets feral European honey bees in varroa mite hotspots, or 'red zones', in NSW. The Department of Primary Industries will continue to euthanise managed hives in red zones before using feral bee baits in the zones. It is believed all feral bees in red zones must be destroyed if eradication of varroa mite in Australia is to be successful. Click HERE. 
Gum tree harvesting
Over 30 years, Simon and Phillipa Noble have planted 10,000 gum trees on their 170 hectare property. While it's been a long time before the initial harvest, the wait has been worth it. There is a strong demand for local firewood and it is quite profitable. "We are getting up to $150 just from the tops of the trees, and up to $2000 a tree from milling the trunk. And once we harvest, they re-grow twice as fast because they've got all the root system there to regrow," Phillipa said. Click HERE.
Ear tagging for sheep and goats 
It will be mandatory in Australia for farmers to tag sheep and goats with electronic identification tags from January 1, 2025. Agriculture ministers have agreed to introduce mandatory electronic tags for sheep and goats to help authorities trace sheep and goats in the event of a livestock disease outbreak. It is already mandatory to use electronic tags for sheep and goats in Victoria. For more information, click HERE,
Interested in providing an internship on food sustainability?
A current Masters student at the University of Melbourne is looking for a paid/unpaid internship over the summer in the Greater Sydney region. Zoe de Castro already has a Bachelors Degree and has a passion for and knowledge in the development of a sustainable and secure food network in Australia. If you are interested, please email [email protected]
La Niña is back 
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has officially declared that La Niña is underway. This typically means wetter than average conditions in Australia's north and east and it is the third La Niña summer in a row. As a result, there is an increased risk of flooding in the coming months.  At the moment, this La Niña is looking like it will peak probably fairly early in the summer or late in the spring. Click HERE and HERE.    
Dog trials take off
The sport known as dog trialling has tripled in size in regional Australia over the past decade. Handlers move cattle through a series of obstacles using only their dogs. Using only whistles and verbal commands, handlers must use their dogs to move three cattle through a series of obstacles and out of the ring in under six minutes. Competitors start each run with 100 points. Points are deducted for faults in the dog's behaviour or failure to complete an obstacle. Click HERE.
Chemical card plus
Meeting the requirements of farm chemical use, the 'Chemical Card Plus' course provides AQF3 level accreditation for pesticide users, which is recommended for the unsupervised application of pesticides. Included are the transport and storage of chemicals and the preparation and application of chemicals to control pests, weeds and diseases. Free and to be held in Richmond, 10 October 2022. Call 02 6884 881 or email [email protected]
Talking nitrogen 
This webinar is about all things Nitrogen, including how we got to where we are today, how the N cycle works, and how improving soil health and biology can help lower or eliminate the use of applied N. Soil microbiologist Walter Jehne will discuss strategies for lowering N application without loss of profit. To be held 9.30am, Tuesday, 11 October 2022  Registration essential, click
HERE. This and past Best Farming Webinars are recorded, click HERE.
Who's Down Under? 
This Soil Biology and Management workshop will give growers a grounding in soil biology and the practical knowledge to help implement on-farm improvements. Guest speaker Dr Kelvin Montagu will cover the foundations of soil biology, key soil functions driven by soil biology, feeding and adding soil biology and key management practices. To be held Friday 14 October, 10am to 2pm at 40 Edwards Rd, Richmond Lowlands. Lunch will be provided, registration essential, click 
Parasitoid webinar
A parasitoid is an organism that lives on or within another organism (the host), eventually killing it. Several insects, such as wasps, are parasitoids and can provide biological control of pests. Research conducted by Cesar Australia has found a large range of parasitoids in various wasp groups that can provide control of a variety of pest species. Listen to Dr Samantha Ward from 12:00 - 1:00pm on Friday 14 October 2022. Register HERE.
Mangrove Mountain Fair 
The 2022 Annual Mangrove Mountain & Districts Country Fair will be held 10am - 3pm on Saturday 15 October, 2022 on the corner of Wisemans Ferry Rd & Waratah Rd, Mangrove Mountain. A gold coin donation entry, highlights include: Craft & produce displays, snake handlers, steam-powered farm machinery, local performers and farm animals. For more information, click HERE.
Savour the flavour
Savour the Flavour is a brand new major event hosted by Hawkesbury City Council. To be held in Richmond Park on Saturday 15 October 2022. The event has been created to assist Hawkesbury based primary producers and food and beverage businesses to promote their products. We want to celebrate and acknowledge the importance of Hawkesbury being the original food bowl of Sydney. For more information, click HERE.
Accounting for Nature
What is 'environmental accounting', and what can it be used for? This one day workshop, 19 October 2022, will be held in the Hawkesbury region. To be presented by Amanda Hansson and Chrissy Elmer from Accounting for Nature. Learn about environmental condition and how is it measured, account stratification, aggregating field data, certification as well as measuring the condition of native vegetation, soils and fauna. Numbers are limited. For more information and to register, click HERE.
Urban Agriculture Month  
Celebrate and raise awareness of Australia’s growing urban agriculture movement. From 1 to 30 November 2022, join Sustain for the second national Urban Agriculture Month. The month will feature a range of self-generated events, from open gardens, workshops, guided tours, and communal feasts to other hands-on learning experiences. Learn more HERE, create and register your urban agriculture events HERE or Twitter #UrbanAgricultureMonth
Pollinator webinar 

Join two researchers from Cesar Australia, Dr Lizzy Lowe and Dr Luis Mata, to chat about the different types of pollinators present in agricultural areas, how to identify them, and what we can do to encourage them. To be held from 12.00 noon to 1.00pm on Wednesday 2 November 2022. Register HERE.
Sustainable horse management workshops
Want to learn how to maintain and manage suitable pasture for horses whilst encouraging biodiversity? What about managing manure, water and vegetation and how to design (or re-design) your horse property to get the best outcomes? Local Land Services is holding a series of sustainable horse management workshops: Central Coast - 7 November, register HERE; Camden - 11 November, register HERE; Richmond - 18 November, register HERE. For more information, click HERE.
Soil Pit workshops
A one-day workshop focusing on issues and solutions for managing soils formed on Hawkesbury sandstone will be held on 11 November at Somersby. The workshop will help landholders: work with soils to inform farm planning, understand characteristics of their soils, soil sampling, soil fertility and management. This is a limited opportunity to work with leading experts from the NSW Soil Knowledge Network, register HERE. The same workshop will be held on a shale soil site in early 2023. 
Keylines, terracing and water retention
A permaculture excavation (keylines, terracing, water retention, etc) workshop will be held on 12-13 November 2022 at Kurrajong Heights. This workshop will help you understand, design and implement earthworks on your property to prepare you for future scenarios such as drought, floods, and climate change. The workshop will include: surveying techniques, pegging contours, swale construction, applying green manures, living ground covers, and more. For more info, click HERE.
Biological farming conference
If the answer is soil, what is the question? The Australian Biological Farming Conference and Expo 2022 features a wide range of international speakers covering a variety of topics, including: How plants get nutrients from microbes; Realising the farm's potential; Regenerating the Australian landscape; Developments in holistic plant health techniques; Considerations for post flooded soils; Integrating farm forestry into farming systems. To be held at Southern Cross University, Lismore NSW, 2 - 5 December 2022. For more information, click HERE.  
Holistic management - a foundation for regeneration
Inside Outside Management is holding their full holistic management course at 'Happy Farm' in North Richmond, early 2023. Learn how to improve profitability, drought resilience, soil fertility, biodiversity. This is an eight day course (four, two day sessions: 28 Feb-1 March 1; March 28-29; May 9-10; June 20-21. For more information, click HERE.  To register, email Kerry Wehlburg HERE.


Climate-smart farming scholarship 
Farmers for Climate Action is offering 20 Climate-smart Farming scholarships to farmers across Australia. Learn from internationally-recognised climate experts, including Nobel Prize winners, who will equip you with the tools needed to deal with a changing climate in your business, help you to become a climate leader and be able to discuss impacts, adaptation and mitigation with your peers. Applications close 24 October, click HERE.
Landcare farming program
Expressions of interest for projects up to $25K are being sought to help spread the word about managing for healthy landscapes in the agriculture sector. Support will be provided to help tell stories within these themes:
Vegetation, soils & waterways; Managing pasture; Me and my people  Biodiversity; Building drought resilience; Carbon flows; Applications close 24 October, click HERE.
Environmental education grants
Applications to the 2022–23 Environmental Education Grants Program are now open. Funding of up to $60,000 (Tier 1) and between $60,001 and $250,000 (Tier 2)  is being offered for projects that develop, broaden and transform the community’s knowledge, skills and motivation for sustainable behaviour and encourage participation in protecting the environment. Applications close 7 November 2022. Click HERE. Online information webinars are being held on 13 and 19 October.
Land to market grants
Grants are now available to Australian sheep producers ready to participate in the holistic management and regeneration of a collective 400,000 hectares of privately managed grazing lands over the next four years. This initiative is a partnership between Land to Market, the Savory Institute Global NetworkDeckers and the Australian Holistic Management Co-operative. For more information, click HERE.
Critical producer grants
NSW primary producers affected by the February and March 2022 severe weather and flooding events now have the opportunity to access additional support. The $100 million critical producer grant can provide primary producers hit by floods with the support needed to restore and rebuild directly damaged essential infrastructure to a resilient standard that will better withstand future disasters. Click


Future proofing 
To improve our ability to respond to emergencies, landholders are encouraged to express their views on improving 
communication with landholders during emergencies, such as fire, flood or a biosecurity threat. The NSW Department of Primary Industries and Local Land Services are supporting landholders to volunteer their views, and the study is being conducted by 'Future Friendly'. To express your interest in taking part, click
Draft regional weed management plans
Have your say on the draft regional strategic weed management plans, including Greater Sydney's. The 11 plans, representing different regions across NSW, explain how each region will work together to identify, minimise, respond to and manage high-risk weeds over the next five years. Regional Weed Committees have developed the draft plans with Local Land Services and the NSW Department of Primary Industries. Download a copy of Greater Sydney's weed management HERE, click HERE to tell us what you think before 6 November 2022. 
Sexed semen
A quarter of all Australian dairy farmers now use 'sex selection' to breed more female calves than male. The technology is not only a boon for livestock producers, but as Landline’s Tim Lee reports, it could have a big impact on breeding all animals, from wildlife to our cats and dogs. Watch the video clip HERE, or read the article HERE.
Weed management of native grassy communities
A University of Wollongong's three year study on the invasion of exotic perennial grasses in native communities has concluded. The first of five reports released by National Parks focuses on assessing the risk of invasive grasses and outlines a four step process to prioritise the most critical species in native communities on your land for management. Click HERE for the report overview or go to Report 5 for information from the Greater Sydney and NSW South Coast region surveys.
Be charmed by magnificent mycorrhizal fungi
Mycorrhizal fungi can help us prevent and reverse climate change. Several decades of research has revealed these fungi's character and how their collaborative style fills our world with bountiful biomass. Do you enjoy seeing plants in your garden, or farm. How about in your favourite parks, forests, and grasslands? Time to thank your local mycorrhizal fungi. Mycorrhizal fungi are estimated to nearly double the productivity of plants and herbivores. Click HERE. 
Half of Western Sydney's farmland may have been lost to development in just ten years 
Recently released Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data indicates Western Sydney may have lost as much as 60% of its agricultural land over the past ten years. While changes in ABS land-use definitions make precise comparisons difficult,  farming land continues to be lost to other land uses (IE housing) on the outskirts of our cities. Western Sydney produces more than 75% of the total value of agricultural produce in the metropolitan region. The city relies heavily on Western Sydney for livestock, vegetables, eggs, grapes and nuts. Click HERE.


Child safety on farm
A guide to child safety on farms has been developed specifically for 10 to 15 year olds. Every year, too many children are injured or die in farm accidents. But it is possible to expose children to farming activities safely. The guide provides advice about identifying and controlling risks, tractors, quad bikes, side-by-side vehicles, working with livestock, forklifts and telehandlers, motorcycles, riding horses and chemical safety. Click
Cane toad video
This short video shows you how to report cane toads by using FeralScan. Cane toads continue to spread further South and we all need to be vigilant. Watch how to spot and capture a cane toad, photograph and report it on the FeralScan app. Click HERE.
Small farms and foot-and-mouth disease
A one page fact sheet on Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) risks for small farms has been published. FMD affects cloven-hoofed animals, including pigs, cattle, sheep, goats, deer, alpacas, camels, llamas and buffalo. The virus is carried by live animals and in meat and dairy products, as well as in soil, bones, untreated hides, vehicles and equipment used with these animals. It can also be carried on people’s clothing and footwear. Click HERE.
Biological farming podcast 
Biological Farming is a natural way of farming and pasture management that focuses on building the essential biology required for health and self-sustaining productivity in the soil. With all things being equal (rainfall, sunshine, grazing patterns etc) the right soil biology will make the difference between a compacted, weed-ridden paddock of sterile dirt and a thriving paddock of lush green feed with healthy top soil. Listen to the podcast HERE, read the document version HERE.  
How to make a footbath
There are three simple rules when allowing visitors and workers to wear their own footwear in your production areas: 1) Check all visitors and workers boots and ask where they were worn previously. 2) Clean footwear with a brush to remove debris, and then wash with water to remove all visible plant material and soil. 3) Disinfect footwear using a footbath containing a strong sanitising product or a spray bottle with a disinfecting solution. How to make a footbath and protect your farm, click HERE.
Caring for Alpacas
Want to learn more about farming and caring for alpacas? Little Valley Farm in the Wollombi Valley at Laguna has been running regular workshops since 2019. The workshops cover alpaca care, fencing, shelters, feed, shearing and alpaca husbandry needs. People also learn how to handle alpacas carefully and confidently and provide insight into the personalities and character of alpacas. For more information, click HERE.
Planting native shelter belts 
Shelterbelts are generally linear strips of vegetation intended to provide shelter, shade and windbreaks. Well-managed and diverse native shelterbelts can have productivity benefits for cropping and grazing enterprises while supporting hundreds of species of birds, mammals, invertebrates, frogs and reptiles. A management guide has been published detailing the science behind shelterbelts and outlines how to create effective shelterbelts on farm. 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 
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Lvl 4, 2-6 Station Street