May 2019
Stories, News & Events from the District
Community
Our Land Champions Series:
Brock Murray - Grass Roots Learning Sets Up for Success
“I was pretty green when I started this, I couldn’t have done it without the support of the Rosa Glen community”

When Brock first started this role, one of his mentors shared with him, “it’s all about observation and that is still true” Brock maintains, “you always have to be watching and responding”.

With no farming background, Brock Murray has found his calling, working on and with the landscape, understanding the elements and caring for the animals. “It’s a humble profession, Brock expresses, “I feel connected to the earth, the weather and I’ve
got to plan and react to what’s going on, it’s fantastic!”

Read more about young farmer's inspiring journey..
Out with the old & in with the new at the Nillup Store
After 20 plus years we decided it was time to replace the Scott River Coastal Plain sign at the Nillup Store . We have expanded on the description and added some new pictures and a revised map. Next time you are heading that way stop in and have a read - they do a great coffee at the store as well!
Wanted - Agriculture Work Experience Places for High School Students

Margaret River Senior High School are on the look out for potential host employers to take on Year 11 and 12 students for unpaid work experience. The school runs a program where students aged 16-18 participate in a workplace environment to learn skills, help them with career decisions and transition school kids into the work force. 

The work experience is completed during school time usually in blocks of two weeks at a time and students are assessed on their performance by host employers in partnership with the school. In addition to helping to up skill students, the experience also contributes to their Western Australia Certificate of Education (WACE).

Over 530 businesses across the Augusta Margaret River Shire regularly provide exciting and valuable workplace training for our senior students each year. Students can be a welcome help to a business, and in many cases work experience students find full time or part time work at these workplaces. 

Margaret River Senior High School run a rural operations course and through this are creating student interest in the Agriculture Industry. 

The school is often looking to find potential host employers to give kids a head start and kindle their interest in farm work. If you are interested and willing to take on a young worker at your business, Margaret River Senior High career center would love to hear from you.
Call Margaret River Senior High
97578 07777
Projects
Soil Testing for Smart Fertiliser Decisions

Farmers in the Lower Blackwood catchment are signing up to join more than 900 farmers who have taken part in the Regional Estuaries Initiative's soil testing program to support better fertiliser decisions.

The program, now in it's third year, is open again in June for Expressions of Interest for the next round of testing and is supported by the Lower Blackwood LCDC for farmers interested in minimising their loss of fertiliser through applying more fertiliser than their soil requires.

Local beef farmer Deborah Orr joined the testing program in 2018.

" The program was great value for us, the workshop really helped explain the science, with the whole farm nutrient map provided showing us a comprehensive picture of what is in our soil now," she said.

"The program also included a one on one consultation with a program agronomist - this helped us to properly interpreting the results and determine our fertiliser needs.

"We're looking forward to seeing the results of the leaf tissue testing that is part of the next stage, to see if the recommendations we have implemented flow through into improved pasture nutrition levels. 

"Overall it's been a good program to be involved in and I'd recommend it to all farmers in the catchment. "

Read more about the program or..
Soil test sampling in action
Be Weed Aware:
Arum Lily - the region's worst environmental weed

This months focus is on Arum lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica) a native to South Africa introduced to Australia as an ornamental garden plant.

Why is it a problem?
It occurs in both pasture and bushland, particularly in damp areas but also invading drier sites. Arum lily is spread by birds and invades areas of good quality native vegetation. Often forming dense monocultures it out competes native species reducing biodiversity and decreasing habitat and food resources for native animals.

Arum lily is poisonous to most stock, pets and humans. Symptoms can include swelling of the tongue and throat, stomach pain, vomiting and severe diarrhoea. Ingestion of the plant may be fatal.

(Source: A Guide to Arum Lily Control - Nature Conservation)

How it can be controlled?
Now is the time to start thinking about your control plan as control is most effective when the plants are actively growing (between July and October). The optimum time to spray is when at least 50-70% of flowers are present.

Funding is available for the control of Arum Lily so contact us at the Lower Blackwood LCDC for assistance in planning your Arum Lily Control.
More Revegetation Works Happening in the Catchment

June is going to be a busy month for Lower Blackwood LCDC contractors undertaking fencing and revegetation works, with another 12,000 seedlings going in along Lower Blackwood Catchment creeklines. The works will also include stock exclusion fencing and installation of water troughs in creekline paddocks.

Also in June, a group of Augusta Primary School children will be doing a catchment tour and visit a local dairy farm where they will be planting out 500 Peppi tree seedlings propagated from seed they collected last year. The initiative forms part of the 'Our Patch Program', a Nature Conservation initiative that aims to provide opportunities and experiences for young students to understand their local environment.

Are you eligible for fencing & revegetation works on your property?
The program is open to grazing farmers on both large and small properties located in the Lower Blackwood Catchment. Project sites are to be situated on a natural water course or drain with preference given to fencing drains when revegetation is also considered.

What is the value of undertaking revegetation works ? Read what previous participants have to say here .

WE CAN HELP! Funding is available through the LCDC and the Regional Estuaries Initiative (REI) Program to undertake stock-exclusion fencing on your farm.
Landholder Value Study

Currently we have limited knowledge about catchment landholders land management priorities and interests, and how those priorities & interests impact on decisions about waterway restoration & management. 

Our latest project, a Landholder Value Study, is targeted at landholders with properties on selected catchment waterways. The study consists of two main components, a general demographic survey and a smaller sample group of one to one interviews. The findings will be summarised in a value study report (all information included will be anonymous) with the information from the report to be used to assist the LCDC to better target projects & activities to benefit landholders & the wider environment.

The first stage of the project, the demographic survey, will commence at the beginning of June so look out for it in your inboxes! The full project will wrap up in June 2020 with the release of the report to the catchment community.

This project is funded by the Regional Estuaries Initiative (REI), a four-year, $20 million Royalties for Regions program to improve the health of six Western Australian estuaries being delivered in partnership with the Department of Water.
Unique & Special to the South West:
Homes for the Black Cockatoos
In the Know!
The Australian Farmer - Digital E Book Now Available.
The Australian Farmer Digital book has been produced in collaboration with Australia’s farming peak bodies and associations.

This latest edition is chock full of interesting and useful information on agtech, automation, plant and animal health, soil management farm finance, rural health and many more areas.

Be warned, this is not a quick glance through publication but one to pick up & put down over the next few months and still find new and interesting stories to read over a cup of coffee. So save it in your favourites & enjoy!
Back to Nature: Making Money While Restoring the Land
If you didn't see this compelling story on landline recently then take a moment (only 13 minutes) to watch it now. It showcases cattle farmers who have transitioned over to regenerative practices and how they have benefited both economically & environmentally.

Also talked about in the story is an international program called Land to Market that measures the ecological outcomes of regenerative agriculture. Ecological Outcome Verification (EOV) will mean producers who show improvement in their land they can apply for a marketing label which is available for them to use on all the food, fibre and beverages produced from that land. Read more
The Wrap Up - All About Hemp

Many thanks to Nicole Botica, Gail Stubber & Ethel Hawkins from the Hemp Growers Cooperative WA for their fascinating and informative presentation on growing hemp. There appear to be many pluses to growing hemp including its low input requirements, its usefulness as a break crop, not to mention the many options for post harvest use in food, fibre & building products.

It is very early days and currently there are no commercial drying or processing facilities in WA... but stay tuned as there is a Margaret River business in the process of assembling a plant for processing Hemp stalks..we'll let you know more as information comes to hand. 

For more information please contact Nicole or Gail at admin@hempgro.com.au.
Click on the thumbnails above to view Nicole & Ethel's presentations
Upcoming Events with Lower Blackwood LCDC
'Talkin' After Hours, A Free Workshop & Networking Event:
Grazing Animal Nutrition

Presented by Dr. Jeisane Accioly-McIllree, Principal Consultant for Accioly Livestock Industries Services (ALIS) and Executive Officer for the Western Beef Association Inc., our next Talkin After Hours takes a look at how we can better ensure that our grazing animals are getting the nutrition they need.

The presentation will touch on: 
  • Understanding pasture annual supply curves (quantity and quality),
  • How supply curves match with animal nutritional requirements,
  • Monitoring animal condition score and,
  • Nutritional strategies to support animal welfare and production.
Where? LBLCDC Office, 403 Kudardup Road, Kudardup.

When? Thursday June 13th
Workshop: 4.00pm to 5.00pm
Networking : 5.00pm to 6.00pm  
This event is proudly bought to you by:
The Lower South West
Growers Group
Free Accu-Spread Fertiliser Spreader Demonstration Day
Is your fertiliser spreader accurate?  

Understanding the spread pattern of your fertiliser spreader when using different products can result in higher productivity and healthier waterways. Join Australia’s leading Accu-Spread trainer Russell Nichol, who will be sharing his knowledge and demonstrating how to test and calibrate fertiliser spreading equipment.

If you would like to bring your own spreader to the demo day then we are able to accommodate 5 (only) additional spreaders to be tested as part of the demonstration. Give Jo Wren a call on 9758 4021 or mob 0408584006 to book your spreader in.

When?  Friday 7 June from 9.oo am

Where?  Lot 95, Latch Road, Karridale

Reminder - Single Touch Payroll (STP) will soon be mandatory for all employers - regardless of size!
In case your accountant hasn't reminded you already, it's time to get ready for STP if you have 5 employees or less. Find out how here.
We know there is such a wealth of knowledge & experience out there amongst all of you..so..
If you have a great story, just read a great book, tried a brilliant a piece of new technology, or any other piece of news that you think the rest of the Lower Blackwood Catchment community will want to know about then please share!

Contact Kate on 0414476015 or email kate.tarrant@lowerblackwood.com.au  
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Lower Blackwood LCDC | 9758 4021 | kate.tarrant@lowerblackwood.com.au | www.lowerblackwood.com.au