November 2018
Stories, News & Events from the District
Our Land Champions Series:
Gemma Todd – Multi tasking all in a days work.
Immersed in all aspects of her farm, working off farm assisting the elderly in their homes and an attentive mother of two teenage boys, farmer Gemma Todd is one of those inspirational women in agriculture, juggling her many and various roles with a genuine smile. “Being here is not hard” she says, “I love the outdoors and I love animals” .  

Gemma is passionate about small family farming, “we’re always wanting to improve how our farm works, make it more sustainable both economically and environmentally. We are mindful with every decision we make”.
Read more about this high energy land champion and her passion for her land.
Corellas - a pretty problem!
Did you know introduced Corellas are considered to be a problem by ten local government authorities in Western Australia of which four are in the southwest?

First reported as causing a nuisance in Bunbury in 2010, introduced Corellas have no natural predators besides humans, and as access to food and water is unrestricted, numbers have been increasing over time. As well as causing nuisance through excess noise and fouling, introduced Corellas also cause damage to infrastructure & tree bark stripping resulting in tree death and subsequent destruction of habit for other native species. Source: WALGA


A recent local example of infrastructure damage caused by Corellas was the shutting down of our very own Augusta radio station due to damage caused to wiring and equipment. 

Have you noticed increased numbers of Corellas in your area? We would like to know if there is a significant problem in this catchment so give us a call & lets us know.
Weeds Management

Weeds can make land unproductive and can also cause tensions with neighbours who do not want their own paddocks inundated.

It is up to landholders to make sure they keep weeds under control.

As we found out at our recent Weeds Management workshop, the key to success is persistence, constant observation and a hands on effort to make a difference that lasts.

 The workshop showcased how a Rosa Glen farmer has managed to bring under control serious infestations of Blackberry and Arum Lily, plus how he deals with of Guildford Grass & Doublegees. Workshop participants shared & gained some practical insights on managing and eliminating weeds on the land, both in native bush areas and pasture. The full case study will be available on our website shortly.

For more information on managing these declared & problematic weeds take a look at these facts sheets & guides .
Note: If you are landholder in the Lower Blackwood District and you have Arum lily on your property you are invited to drop by the Lower Blackwood Landcare office on Thursday mornings from 9.30-1.00pm to collect some free chemical and information to help to assist you with the control of this invasive environmental weed.  

For further information or to arrange a time to collect your materials please contact the Landcare office on 97584021, email project.officer@lowerblackwood.com or drop by the Office on Kudardup Road.  
'Talkin' After Hours: Understanding Your Soil Test

At our recent Understanding your Soil Test workshop, soil scientist Bob Jeffrey 'unpacked' the mysteries of soil test results with a concise interpretation of the common elements found on a test report. A copy of Bob's presentation will be available on our website shortly but in the meantime you may find useful this simple summary Making Sense of Chemical Indicators from soilquality.org.au

It was clear from the workshop, despite Bob's excellent summary, that soil chemistry is a complex field. For a deeper understanding of what your results mean, & to save you making expensive decisions (that may not achieve the results you are seeking), it is still advisable to seek advice from experts. Over the years Bob has helped numerous farmers with soil testing for beef and dairy pastures, viticulture, vegetables (especially potatoes), avocadoes and turf , and has kindly offered his help to our landholders. Bob can be contacted at soilman@augusta.wa.au

Our 'Talkin' After Hours events always have a social side, we kept on talking over snaggers and a drink - a great evening was enjoyed by all.
This events were proudly bought to you by:
In the Know!
Farmers’ perspective vital to long-term improvements in agricultural practices
A recent study published by scientists from The University of Western Australia jointly with farmers is one of the first to address the role of temperate perennial grass pastures in contributing to soil organic carbon in south-western Australia.

Intensive sampling was conducted on a trial site near Wagin consisting of a mix of temperate perennial and annual grasses that had been sown over a ten-year period. The results demonstrated the potential of perennial pastures for short-term gain in soil organic carbon stocks.

Source: Media statement issued by The UWA Institute of Agriculture
 
Want to know more about Perennial Pastures?
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has published a comprehensive guide: Perennial Pastures for Western Australia , specifically aimed at producers, their advisors, students and the WA agricultural industry, but many of the principles and information is widely applicable.
Book Review: Heartwood - The art and science of growing trees for conservation and profit
by Rowan Reid

Can cutting down a tree be good for the environment?
Why do we assume trees can only be grown for EITHER conservation OR profit, but never both? What if there was a way that landholders could profit from harvesting timber from the trees they plant for stock shelter, biodiversity, soil erosion control and beautification – whilst also helping control climate change?

Upcoming Events with Lower Blackwood LCDC
Hardy Inlet Community Update Session
Want to know what is happening in your local waterways?

Come along to find out about the current condition of the inlet, the latest scientific research and what on-ground actions are being implemented by the Regional Estuaries Initiative and local organisations

Hear from Regional Estuaries Initative Partners & Collaborators on:

  • What the Regional Estuaries Initiative (REI) is.
  • What the science says about the health of the Inlet.
  • Lower Blackwood LCDC's work supporting farmers in the catchment to:
  • restore waterways
  • optimise farm fertiliser use with Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development
  • & the great work by collaborators outside the Regional Estuaries Initiative
 
There will be opportunities to discuss questions with scientists, program managers and local catchment officers.

Presented by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, Lower Blackwood Land Conservation District Committee and other local organisations as a part of the State Government’s $20 million Regional Estuaries Initiative.

Where? Augusta Hotel, 53 Blackwood Ave, Augusta
When? 4:30-6:30pm, 4 December 2018
Other Events You Might Want to Attend
Soil Quality Futures: Challenges and Opportunities for Managing Soil Biological Fertility

Hosted by SoilsWest and the Grower Group Alliance, this event will deliver a three day program full of topical presentations from scientists and growers, student poster displays, workshop sessions and hosted events.

Where? CSIRO Floreat, Underwood Ave, Floreat WA 6014, Australia 
When? December 3, 2018 @ 8:30 am – December 5, 2018 @ 5:00 pm

Holistic Management Course
with Brian Wehlburg

The course covers grazing management, financial planning, and setting a holistic context for your farm/business/family, among other things. It is such valuable knowledge for anyone interested in regenerative agriculture.


Where? Perth

When? Starting 30-31 JAN 2019

We know there is such a wealth of knowledge & experience out there amoungst 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