August 2019
Stories, News & Events from the District
Our Land Champions Series:
Dean Campbell - connection with the land an intrinsic part of life
“I was always involved on the farm, when I was home, but this is when I started living back here, taking over some of the farm, I bought my own stock and that’s when I started getting involved in the LCDC revegetation projects”.

Dean has completed five riparian revegetation projects. “Every year we are slowly piecing the farm back together. It’s enjoyable and I’ve met some fantastic people along the way, from different cultures, different areas, with different advice. Learning for me is fantastic, really informative of new processes and advances in technology, just really great”, Deans states emphatically.

Dean loves being connected to the land, “if you grow up with it, it’s in you”. Now Dean has two boys with his wife Ellie, he loves showing them and also their friends, “its up to us to keep the connection between farm, town and the cities, show them how its done”, he says.

Read more here about Dean's 'can do' approach to farming & to life.
Project Update - Soil Testing Program
Call Out to Last Year's (2018/2019) Participating Farmers - Time for Plant Tissue Testing.
Farmers who are participating in last year's round (2018-19) of the REI Soil Testing Program are eligible to receive free plant tissue testing on 4 paddocks. With spring fast approaching, now is the time to take up this opportunity. If you haven't been already you will shortly be contacted by one of program agronomists to consider tissue testing paddocks to validate your early season fertiliser strategy, and to determine if any applications are required to maximise spring production, especially for those paddocks being used for fodder conservation.

Some important points to consider for testing:
  • the most appropriate time for testing hay/silage paddocks is just prior to the last grazing before paddocks are locked up. This will allow enough time to get results back prior to spring applications being made.
  • grazing only paddocks are also best tested just prior to grazing, whilst the growth is still vegetative (ie grasses have not run up / clovers are not flowering)
  • consider the timing/growth of paddocks when arranging sampling visits so representative samples can be collected.

All samples will be sent to the CSBP lab in Perth, and results returned to your program agronomist for interpretation and recommendations.

NOT IN THE PROGRAM? Consider taking your own plant tissue samples for testing. Check out the DPIRD website for an excellent summary of what & how.

Sending your samples - there are a number of companies that offer this service including:
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.
Project Update: Landholder Value Study
Our latest project, a Landholder Value Study , is focused on 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 aim of the project is to determine landholders land management priorities and interests, and how those priorities & interests impact on decisions about waterway restoration & management.

The General Demographic Survey was completed at the end of July so a very big THANKYOU to all the landholders who participated - we really do appreciate it. As promised, 10 lucky winners (randomly selected from survey participants) will be receiving their copy of the booklet 'Southern Weeds & their control' shortly.

The second component of the study, the sample group one on one interviews , have commenced so you may be contacted to participate over the coming weeks for a short 30 minute chat.

The interviews are scheduled to be completed by the end of the year after which the findings will be summarised in a value study report with the information from the report to be used to assist the LCDC to better prioritise projects & activities to benefit landholders & the wider catchment environment.
You know you can purchase these booklets from If you are not a winner & want one please do give us a call!
Are My Waterways in Good Condition?
Sometimes looks can be deceiving - when you walk along your stream or creek bank it is often hard to know what to look at to assess whether your waterway is healthy.

This quick and easy checklist provided by Land Water & Wool, will help by looking at six features (below) we know impact on waterway health:

  1. Management of riparian areas
  2. Bank erosion
  3. Shade and shelter
  4. Water quality
  5. Wildlife
  6. Weeds and pests

Take a walk with the checklist & assess your waterway against the 6 features. The checklist will also help with ideas for improvement if any are required.
If fencing is one of the solutions that you think would aid to improve the health of your waterway then WE CAN HELP! You may be eligible for funding for fencing works so register your Interest or give us a call to find out.

If your solution includes revegetation then come along to our event - a Demonstration Workshop on Planting & Weed Control Techniques for Waterways Revegetation - see details below in the upcoming events section.

Thinking beyond the farm gate - you may be interested to watch this short snapshot of what can happen when a group of farmers decide to take a whole of catchment approach to their waterways, & in the process rehydrate their drying landscape, the end result being a 60% increase in the productivity of the surrounding grasslands.
(Source: The Mulloon Institute)
Be Weed Aware: Blackberry (Rubus fruticosus aggregate)

When it comes to 'scary' weeds Blackberry is right up there - its prickly stems (canes) can take root simply where they touch the ground, and can form thickets up to several metres high! This, combined with very rapid growth (50–80 mm a day in spring), means it can take over an area fast. As a consequence Blackberry is deemed a 'Weed of National Significance' and is regarded as one of the worst weeds in Australia because of its invasiveness, potential for spread, and economic and environmental impacts.

What can I do about Blackberry on my property?
As spring is just around the corner it's a good time to start planning your blackberry management program... but.. be prepared to have a multi season strategy & be persistent over a number of seasons to really be successful in controlling it.

Blackberry's biological weak link for established plants is during its fruiting & flowering season ( November to April) , & at the seedling stage for new plants ( September to Decembe r).
Read more here about ways to manage blackberry - chemical, physical & biological control methods are all detailed in this great information flier.

As with anything, prevention is far easier than the cure - if you want to avoid a blackberry problem then try to avoid bare soil - in a pasture scenario maintain good pasture cover year round, in other areas maintain a fast-growing ground cover which can out-shade seedlings and out compete them for water and nutrients. Blackberry roots do not develop much over winter so native seedlings that are able to germinate and actively grow during this period will have a definite competitive advantage.

FUNDING IS AVAILABLE for the control of Blackberry so give us a call or..
Fast growing ground cover
Myoporum parvifolium

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 Thursdays from 10.30-2.00pm 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 contact the Landcare office on 97584021 or email Erica Teasdale at
Unique & Special to the South West: Western Ringtail Possum ( Pseudocheirus occidentalis)
In the Know!
Build Soil Carbon & Get Paid For It!

Soil organic carbon (SOC) - a quick refresher: SOC is derived from living tissue: plant leaves and roots, sap and exudates, microbes, fungi, and animals. It takes a bewildering variety of complex chemical forms, & much of it is a result of decay processes and microbial metabolisms.

Recent research into soil organic carbon and its effect on soil nutrient levels suggests care must be taken to avoid mining nutrients from our agricultural soils. This article on 'Soil carbon key to nutrient renewal'  from CSIRO research scientist Jeff Baldock explains why.

On the flip side, the easiest way to increase your soil carbon levels is to incorporate more organic matter into and onto your soils, soil management strategies like maximising ground cover and mulching will facilitate this over time. Gabe Brown's (pioneering regenerative ag farmer) comprehensive video on Cover Crops for Grazing gives a wealth of practical know how on these strategies.

Quite apart from the productivity gains that Gabe talks about, building soil carbon has another advantage - it's called Carbon Farming , Australian farmers are now being encouraged to register soil carbon farming projects under the Federal Government's Emissions Reduction Fund. Earlier this year an Australian farmer became the first in the world to receive carbon credits for capturing and storing carbon in the soil on his property in Victoria. There's now a national cash prize of $20,000 on offer to encourage Aussie farmers to give carbon farming a go. Listen to this podcast to find out more.
Microbial Quorum Sensing
What is it & Why is it Important?
While we are on the subject of soil carbon .. there is this little known but vital component of the soil carbon cycle called  Microbial Quorum Sensing (MQS) .

In layman's terms MQS is the cooperative and competitive interactions both within and between microbial species... in other words no man, or in this case microbe, is an island!

Dr Christine Jones , an internationally renowned Australian soil ecologist, explains in this fascinating video the role soil microbial Interactions play in optimising soil health and consequently animal and human health - well worth taking 40 to watch.
The Wrap Up - Getting Your Legumes to Work Harder

Last month's 'Talkin' After Hours topic on 'Getting Your Legumes to Work Harder' had participants getting their hands dirty for a close up view of their clover & sub clover roots, whilst looking for nodules to indicate that their clovers were doing their job & fixing nitrogen.

Presented & facilitated by Dr Sophie De Meyer of MALDID , the key take home messages for optimal n- fixing performance were:

  • Legumes should have between 4 to 7 pink nodules present
  • The current Group C inoculant should be present in your nodules - (use a testing service like MALDID to find out)
  • Soil pH plays a key role - know which legume performs best in your soil
  • Know what's in excess or missing from your soil - phosphorous, molybdenum & aluminium levels will make an impact
  • Avoid herbicides on your legumes as this will reduce performance substantially.
  • If reseeding, avoid seeds coated with a fungicide as this will kill the rhizobium inoculant.

Missed the Workshop? Check out Sophie's presentation here - also included are tips on renovating the clover in your paddocks.

Want to find out what inoculant is present in your legume nodules? We have a number of MALDID kits at the Landcare Office, just bring in your samples and we can post them off to her (MALDID Fee is $300).

If you would like to contact Sophie to find out more then she can be contacted at:
T: 08 9360 2439 | E: | W:

BRING A SHOVEL - as an addendum to this event wrap up - Sophie raised an important point in that in order to know what is going on in your paddock you really need to get out there with a shovel and have a look. If you’re only looking above the ground, you’re only looking at half the story.

Last months enews included a comprehensive Visual Assessment Guide, however if that is a bit much then this great little flier 'What to look for when you dig a hole' may be more helpful.
Upcoming Events with Lower Blackwood LCDC
' Talkin' After Hours, A Free Workshop & Networking Event:
Dung Beetles - Unsung Heroes of the Soil
Working for you to improve animal health, address soil constraints,
& reduce input costs
Dung beetles do not cause crop or pasture damage, which is probably why so little attention is given to them! Besides dung removal – most obvious by summer “shredders” – what other benefits do they bring to livestock production?

Bought to us by MLA & Rural R&D4 Profit, our September ‘Talkin’ After Hours presentation will discuss ways dung beetles can work for you to improve animal health, address soil constraints and reduce input costs.
Where? LBLCDC Office, 403 Kudardup Road, Kudardup.

When? Thursday September 12th
Workshop: 4.00pm to 5.00pm
Networking : 5.00pm to 6.00pm
This event is proudly bought to you by:

Come and join us at the Nillup Rural Store on Friday the 20th of September for an informative Ag afternoon including:

  • A pasture walk with agronomist Sam Taylor - showcasing over 20 varieties
  • Demonstrations on new drenching, drafting and fencing innovations
  • Finishing up with a trade show & BBQ
Demonstration Workshop

Another great Lower Blackwood LCDC Event - this demonstration workshop is a perfect opportunity to learn from local revegetation experts on site preparation and planting techniques that will ensure riparian plants will not only survive but thrive.
What will I get from the workshop?
  • Aspects to consider before starting a revegetation planting project.
  • A takeaway example of a revegetation plan.
  • A detailed demonstration on waterway planting techniques.
  • A takeaway species list and planting profile as an example of what contractors or the Lower Blackwood LCDC can provide for you to ensure high revegetation success

Where? On site, participants to be notified
When? Thursday, 26 September 2019, 2.30 to 4.30pm
Showcasing 4 amazing properties in beautiful Rosa Glen
& the great diversity of sustainable farming enterprises in the area.
Proudly presented by the Lower Blackwood LCDC & the Lower South West Growers Group, this promises to be an information packed event not to be missed. Featuring great presenters & a fantastic combination of topics, we’ll be focused on local landholders’ sustainable agriculture enterprises & their secrets for success - get ready to be inspired!

Where? Rosa Glen
When? Thursday October 10th 11.00am to 5.00pm
Other Events You Might Want To Attend
Regen WA Conference

This conference will bring together farmers and key industry stakeholders to facilitate informed discussion, and initiate the development of a plan that supports the adoption of leading sustainability practices, like regenerative agriculture in Western Australia.

When? 11 September 8.15 am to 5.00pm
Where? Perth Optus Stadium

S tate NRM Conference

The conference aims to inspire delegates to make transformational changes together that improves and protects our natural environments and creates healthier communities.

When? 1st to 4th October
Where? Edith Cowan University Joondalup

We know there is such a wealth of knowledge & experience out there amongst all of
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 040 920 3056 or email  
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