February 2019
Stories, News & Events from the District
Our Land Champions Series:
Kylie Silverthorne - Shepherding, it's in the blood!
Ask this 3rd generation sheep farmer and she'll happily tell you that she just loves farming &, in particular sheep farming.

As we talk we are surrounded by her favourites (orphaned lambs, now pets), Jonny, Chardy, Squirt, Boof and Margaret to name just a few. I ask Kylie how on earth she distinguishes them, “ it’s easy”, she says, “they all have different facial features and markings”. Somehow I think that might be an inherited skill.

From lambing to shearing & wool classing as well as the associated administrative work, Kylie has gradually been learning all the aspects of managing her family’s sheep farm from her father, “not that dad will ever retire” she laughs.

Read more here about this dynamic young farmer.
Fresh Milk from a Vending Machine?!
Our regular committee meeting earlier this month took on an international flavour with a fascinating presentation on how a German mixed farming operation runs.

Franz Reinert is currently working on one of our local dairy farms and this impressive young farmer was happy to share how his family farm manages their dairy, pig, chicken & fodder cropping operations. It was really interesting to hear about how they deal with their dairy & pig effluent, (more about that in our 'In the Know! section below).

Franz also talked about their farm to gate sales using dispensing machines (including fresh unpasteurised milk)...so many ideas that could have application here.

Check out this video on their farm to gate milk sales - although its in German, the pictures tell the story.

Thanks for sharing Franz!
Funding Available for Summer Riparian Weed Control

With the Blackberry flowering & fruiting season in full swing our current focus is on working with landholders to get on top of this problematic and invasive weed. 

Just one berry may contain as many as 80 seeds, which are easily spread by birds, mammals (especially foxes) and water. Blackberry will persist indefinitely in an area unless it is treated. Plants that die are replaced by seedlings or daughter plants produced by nearby individuals. Plants may produce up to 13,000 seeds per square metre! Read more about Blackberry.

You may also be interested to read this case study on how a local landholder has dealt with his blackberry.

Through our State NRM funded Riparian Rescue Project we are able to offer landholders the opportunity for a 50% contribution towards control of blackberry along waterways on their properties.

Landholders with in the Glenarty area will be given priority however other catchment landholders may also be eligible.
or contact us on:
T: 08 97584021 | E: joanna.wren@lowerblackwood.com.au
The Benefits of Rhozobia & N Fixation of Organic Nitrogen

Last months Talkin' After Hours event presented by Floyd Sullivan (Alosca Technologies), gave our participants some great insights into the mechanics of legume root nodule bacteria symbiosis. Floyd also delved into the function and some of the problems of Root Nodule Bacteria (RNB) in today’s systems, along with options to tackle poor sub-clover nitrogen fixation.
For those of you that didn't make it to Floyd's very informative presentation you can view it here .
Unique & Special to the South West: Carnaby's Black Cockatoo
Once numerous, all three charismatic and highly mobile black-cockatoos are now classified as threatened under both state and federal legislation. These birds are endemic to southwest Australia, meaning that they are found nowhere else in the world. It is estimated that in the last 50 years the population of Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoos has declined by 50%, and their range has been reduced by up to one-third. Populations of Baudin’s and Forest Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo are thought to be similarly reduced.

Identify your Black-Cockatoo
Given their large size, raucous call and flocking behaviour, black-cockatoos are easy to spot as they wing across the landscape. Identifying the three species though requires a bit more attention to detail. Birdlife Australia's amazing website gives that detail, along with sound recordings of the different calls. This will all be great preparation for the Great Cocky Count coming up in April. See Event details below.
New! Pest Sighting Register on our Website

Remember our story on the problem of Corellas? It has really generated a lot of conversation and calls, so much so that we have decided to create a Pest Sighting Register on our website to make it easy for anyone to let us know the w hat, where & when of their sighting.

And it's not just for Corellas - we also want to hear about pests that are new to the area (e.g. pokeweed), or are a major problem not currently being addressed (e.g Corellas), or pests that are already a major problem (eg foxes & feral cats). 

The information you give us will assist to build a picture of those pest issues in the catchment and also where efforts need to be directed.
Latest edition is now available! 

This handy booklet provides easy identification of common weeds & methods of control using readily available cultural, biological & herbicidal control techniques.

You can purchase direct from DRIRD (contact Sheena on 0898928444).. or easier still pop in to our Kudardup Office & buy one from us, only $28.00.
In the Know!
Dairy Effluent Management Alternatives:
Many dairy farmers are looking at options on how to deal with their cow poo with better economic & environmental outcomes.

The Margaret River Clean Community Energy Group are currently going through a feasibility process of setting up a biodigester to convert effluent into bio gas, this would be on a regional scale but there are also many farm scale options to look at that are currently in use around the world.

What is clear is that there is probably no one size fits all solution & its well worth looking at some of the highly innovative thinking (& implementation) that is going on before any decision is made:

Slurry spreading using effluent tankers & specialised equipment enables the farmer to spread effluent where is is needed. This is well demonstrated in Franz Reinhart's video of effluent spreading on his family farm. The SlurryKat website gives some good detail on types of specialist equipment available for use.

In California farm scale dairy digesters are common use. Dairy digesters capture biogas released from manure as it decomposes. By storing dairy manure in special containment ponds or covered lagoons, manure biogas can be captured and used to generate electricity or used as a clean, carbon-negative vehicle fuel that replaces diesel fuel ... Read more

Meanwhile our cousins across the ditch have designed and built a complete, closed loop effluent recycling system to take diary effluent from the cowshed yard and process it into a clean clear pathogen free liquid.
This liquid can be recycled and reused as wash down water for the cowshed yard or irrigated to the pasture without any negative environmental effects.

Here in Australia this case study from Victoria tells of a farm scale conversion of dairy effluent to fertiliser using beneficial bacteria .

Plenty of food for thought amongst all of that!
Spreading effluent in Germany
Pre-aeration application using slurry injector
Turning effluent into water in NZ
State Government Investment in Hemp Projects

Following on from last months piece on opportunities in Hemp, the state government has announced that more than $250,000 will be invested into WA's key hemp projects. These projects will be looking at new varieties suitable for growing here, processing facilities & export certification. Read the full story here. (Source: Augusta Margaret River Mail). 

Don't know much about Hemp? Given the opportunities in this burgeoning industry it's probably a good time look at what it is.

Firstly Hemp is not Marijuana. While both varieties of cannabis sativa, one of the three main subtypes of the cannabis plant, they are different in a number of ways, including:

  • Hemp contains negligible amounts of THC — the intoxicating substance in marijuana — and can’t get you high.
  • Marijuana can contain up to 30% THC, while hemp contains less than 0.3% (per dry weight) THC. Hemp has more CBD, a non-intoxicating compound with medical applications, than marijuana.

Hemp has been selectively bred for a range of consumer and industrial uses and has been grown in the US for centuries, but only recently been legalised in Australia for production and consumption.

The fibres from the stalk can be used to make rope, clothes, and other textiles — and can even be used as an organic construction material .. read more

Want to know more? Take a look at the WA Hemp Growers Co-op Ltd (HempGro) website for information on how to get involved.
Upcoming Events with Lower Blackwood LCDC
'Talkin After Hours', A Free Workshop, BBQ & Networking Event:
Benefits & Importance Biodiversity in Pastures

Our next ‘Talkin’ After Hours explores the critical topic of pasture biodiversity, its importance & how to achieve it. The work shop will give you an insight and understanding of:

  • How biodiversity can affect pasture production
  • How many and which species should ideally make up your pasture mix
  • New species available for use in diversifying pastures
  • Optimal sowing time for different pasture species

Where? LBLCDC Office, 403 Kudardup Road, Kudardup.

When? Thursday March 14th,
Workshop: 4.00pm to 5.00pm
Networking BBQ: 5.00pm to 6.00pm  
This event proudly bought to you by:
Other Events You Might Want to Attend
The Lower Blackwood LCDC are joining forces with the Margaret River Clean Community Energy (MRCCE) Group to man a stall at this action packed and fun filled event.

Come visit us and bring the kids! In addition to loads of information about land care and the MRCCE project, we’ll have an activity section where the kids can get ‘hands on’. This year we are celebrating our unique biodiversity with a closer look at the Chuditch, including Chuditch habitat fun facts and figures, Chuditch colouring in sheets & much more.

Look forward to seeing you there!
Where? Blackwood River Foreshore, near Colourpatch Cafe in Augusta in the beautiful South West

When? Sunday March 3rd 2019 (Public Holiday Long Weekend)  
The workshop content includes:
  • Visitors and children on farms – what you need to know
  • How to prepare for a farm safety audit
  • Vehicle movement – on and off the road
  • The safe use of Chemicals (eg in the garden and on farm)
  • Transporting Dangerous Goods plus Chain of Responsibility Legislation
When? Monday 11th March 10.00am – 2.30pm
Where? Wellness & Respite Community Centre, Edward St, Manjimup
How? RSVP 6th March to Warren Catchments Council P: 97718180
E: info@warrencc.org.au
The Great Cocky Count 2019

The Great Cocky Count is a long-term citizen science survey and the biggest single survey for black-cockatoos in Western Australia.

In April volunteers will monitor known roost sites and count black-cockatoos as they come in to their evening roosts. Records submitted from across the southwest provide a snapshot of black-cockatoo populations, and over time this has helped us quantify the changes in black-cockatoo numbers.

When? Sunday April 7 at sunset (approximately 5.30-6.30pm). Please be aware registrations close 3 weeks prior to the GCC (Sunday 17 March) .

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