Mid Lachlan Landcare

What’s in your Backyard?

Recent trips around the farm and in the backyard at Gooloogong have revealed some amazing things that I would not usually take notice of. During this time of social distancing, having the time to wander around, is a great way to reconnect with nature. Even if you only have a small yard you can find something interesting.

Take the featured image for instance. These were coming up in the garden!!! What on earth were they? Animal, vegetable, mineral? No idea!! I managed to then waste plenty of time on google and facebook groups trying to work out what they were. Have you ever seen these?

It turns out these are call Birds Nest fungi  and the fruiting bodies are said to resemble ‘tiny egg-filled birds nests’ Further research revealed that raindrops falling into the cup dislodge the little eggs and send them hurtling away where they stick to a surface and that’s how they spread. Wow!!!

They are not edible for humans and their jobs is to decompose organic matter. They are often found in mulches.

If you’re running out of things to do at home I challenge you to go outside (maybe with the children 🙂 and find something you have never noticed before and see if you can work it out. Mid Lachlan Landcare can help to point you in directions where you might be able to get an identification.

In the meantime check out some of the other things found around here recently.

Some of these I still need to research.

Happy Easter and Happy searching everyone.

Squirrel Glider Nest Box Monitoring -Cargo NSW

On Friday 10th January Mid Lachlan Landcare monitored 4 nest boxes that have been installed on a farm in Cargo NSW. The boxes have been up for a couple of years now and this farm is where we held our Squirrel Glider Spotlighting night in 2018 with Australian National University’s ‘Sustainable Farms’ project.

Very happy to report that 2 out of the 4 boxes were occupied 🙂

The remaining boxes had leaf nests which means they are still being used. The pictures are taken from a long camera and it’s done very carefully so as not to disturb the gliders. It is very hard to get a good picture!!

Peter monitoring

The dam these Gliders would use for water in this paddock is getting very low and muddy on the edges. Peter decided to make one of the vacuum waterers to install in a tree to trial the provision of an alternative water source for this local Squirrel Glider population. Another small way we can help our wildlife at this time. We will try and get a monitoring camera onto this to see if the Gliders use it.

2020011009272007

This picture shows a huge mass of fur. Can you guess how many might be in there??

Tree waterer

It is fantastic to see so many of our  local landcare community doing what they can for their wildlife as well as trying to keep their farms running and stock fed during such a difficult time.

 

Update : Box Gum Grassy Woodland Project

Mid Lachlan Landcare are happy to report that the sites for year one of the ‘White Box, Yellow Box, Blakely’s Red Gum Habitat on Farm’ project have been selected by the board and contracts have gone out 🙂 A couple of the projects have almost been completed already as well.

This is such a great project to be involved with. Some of the on gound works this year include :- direct seeding native understory species within remnant woodland patches, fencing of remnant areas to allow more strategic grazing and enhance the areas, scattered paddock tree connectivity planting, installation of Squirrel Glider nest boxes, guarding of young naturally regenerated seedlings, targeted weed control, and strategic planting of understory and/or canopy trees.

This project is being funded through the ‘Saving our Species’ program by the NSW Government. If you are interested in finding out more about the project, please contact us. We will begin assessing sites from July onwards for next year’s funding which can be up to $4000 to support on ground works to ensure the threatened White Box, Yellow Box, Blakely’s Red Gum Woodland survives in our region. You can also find out more information here

The included picture is of one of the remnant woodland sites that has received project funding. A gorgeous patch that regularly has Superb Parrots nesting and visiting. (Note: – photo taken in February before we had any of the recent lovely rains)

SoS Waratah text only

Mid Lachlan Landcare visits Brigidine College Randwick and ‘Restaurant Takeover’

Some of the Mid Lachlan Landcare team were on the road this week building on our long
partnership with Brigidine College Randwick.

We were so pleased to be invited to attend The Brigidine College Randwick ‘Restaurant
Takeover’. The event has become an important feature of Brigidine College life and is part of the practical requirements for their HSC Food Technology Course.

The year 12 students put on an amazing 3 course dinner for 135 diners in a commercial restaurant. MLL were represented by Scott Hickman, one of our young Landcare members, Annie, and Andrew (Wooly) Wooldridge. We had a lovely evening and some very interesting conversations with the school executive and also with regional education administrators who had come to the dinner to learn more about the
innovative program being run at the school.

We saw the familiar faces of girls who had visited us last year. They were very busy
cooking, waiting on tables and being a great catering team. The students had planned and implemented all parts of the evening themselves and worked from 8:00am until 9:30 pm on the big day.

Scott, Annie and Wooly then backed up the next morning to give a seminar session to 80
year 8 students. Wooly spoke about Landcare, Annie spoke about living on a farm in drought and Scott discussed the goals and actions of his family grazing business.
The students were very engaged and had thoughtful questions about climate change, ethical purchasing, food labelling, ethical treatment of food animals, bushfires and drought. We were also very spoilt with a huge morning tea at the school.

88429743_227997735261750_382527070330159104_n

Mid Lachlan Landcare has a long partnership with Brigidine College. Every year their Yr11 Food Technology students spend 3 days in the Cowra and Canowindra district learning about food production and visiting local businesses.

It was great to be able to visit the school and we felt very welcome and looked after.
Next year we should take more MLL members to the dinner!!

Huge thanks to Aletha Scorse, Lisa Sampson, and Bev McCarthy – your school and
students are lucky to have such skilled and committed educators in their lives.

Some tree watering tips from the locals

Over the last couple of months we have been visiting some of the farms that have been involved in the ‘Saving our Superb Parrot’ project.

As the weather has been so dry people have come up with some great ideas to keep the trees alive and we thought you might like to see some of them.

Watering Milkbottle

This would be a good one if you don’t have too many trees to water. The landholder, over towards Neville, fills up 3lt milk bottles. They have put a small hole in the base and sit the bottle at an angle so the water slowly comes out. They have also tied the bottle to the post so it can’t blow away once empty. What a great idea!!

Woolen Mulch

Check out this next idea!! Over near Cowra they have used old wool found lying around the shed to mulch the trees and have had great success so far this summer. You can see the wool is already starting to break down. We would love to hear if anyone else has tried or regularily uses this method.

chambers

This is another one over near Cowra. The bucket is tied to the guard with holes drilled in the bottom. It’s pretty quick to then drive past on the quad with water tank attached, fill and move onto the next tree.

It is great to see so many of the trees planted surviving thanks to the efforts and care of all the farmers involved.

If you have any tips or tricks for how you keep your young trees alive we would love to hear about them. You never know, what you do might be the perfect solution for someone else. The more we share, the more our community and environment can thrive.

 

Watering our Wildlife

This summer has not been kind! The ongoing drought and the terrible fires have caused extensive damage across the state. Many of us are on water restrictions and don’t even have green garden spaces that can provide some refuge for our wildlife.

I have been putting out water in 2 pedestal birds baths in our garden and they are constantly used. One is outside my home office window. In previous years I have been distracted while trying to work by Eastern Rosella’s bathing, little Friarbirds frolicking and Apostlebirds all trying to fit on the birdbath at once. This summer that birdbath has been taken over by thirsty bees. They too need the water and I am more than happy for them to utilise this water source.

So it was time to put out another bird bath. There is plenty of information about the benefits of baths at different levels so I placed a ground level bath out and installed a camera to see how long it would take to get new visitors. They found the water the same day.  The most exciting being a Diamond Firetail. I hadn’t seen them at any of the other baths in the last year. Wow!! The next day there were six of them. The first one had obviously told his mates.

It doesn’t take long to put out water for wildlife and it is wonderful to see the birds using these important resources. Please think about doing this at your place.

Diamond Firetails taking a bath. These are a threatened species in NSW.

Another threatened species. Dusky Woodswallow with it’s youngster 🙂

This Eastern Rosella was in the bath for ages. I have a whole sequence. It looks a bit wet in this video!

Couldn’t believe my luck with this picture. Dusky Woodswallow enjoying the birdbath with the Diamond Firetails.

Below is a Striped Honeyeater with a Noisy Miner coming in to check out the bath as well.

All these captures were taken over only 3 days and there were so many other species coming in to drink as well. Just amazing how fast the birdbath was discovered by such a huge variety of birds.

Box gum grassy woodland on farm -Cowra region

Almost $300,000 will be spent enhancing Box Gum Grassy Woodlands on farms in the Cowra/Canowindra district over the next six years, as part of the NSW Government’s Save our Species (SoS) Program.

Mid Lachlan Landcare (MLL) was successful in its bid to roll out a program protecting White Box, Yellow Box, Blakely’s Red Gum woodland on local farms. This Woodland is a threatened ecological community of which it is estimated that less than 10% of its pre-European distribution is still intact.

‘The project will provide farmers with access to resources to understand and manage woodland areas. Farm visits will be done and individual property woodland management plans will be completed. These plans will include a range of actions which will be tailored to suit the farmers involved and their production systems.

It is a long term land management project aiming to build the ecological function of Box Gum Woodlands on private farms’ said Will Johnson from MLL.

Project officer Tracee Burke is working day to day on the project. “We will be targeting sites but we are also interested in hearing from farmers who are eager to protect the native woodland habitats on their properties and are hoping to get 58 farms involved over the next 6 years of the project. Participants will develop property plans aimed specifically to maximize the possibility of this woodland surviving for the next 100 years while working in with the production systems of the farms involved.” Participants will then be eligible to apply for either immediate or future management actions funding which may include but are not limited to:

  • controlling weeds
  • increasing woodland patch sizes and improving condition
  • reconnecting fragmented patches
  • fencing off sites to allow strategic grazing
  • facilitating landholder networking and capacity building
  • establishing appropriate grazing regimes to improve groundcover
  • providing guidelines on species selection, spacing and design
  • supplementing lost timber with other woody debris.

Funded by the NSW Government via the NSW Environmental Trust, the program is interested in collaboration between Government, the community, non-government organisations and industry.

Sites in the Cowra, Canowinda, Hovells Creek, Mandurama, Gooloogong, Cudal and Cargo areas may be assessed. Each site will have the capacity to improve connectivity across the MLL Region and maximize the chances of Box Gum Grassy Woodlands surviving for the long term.

Contact Mid Lachlan Landcare if you are interested in finding out more about this great project.

Tracee Burke 0417 799 425 or e-mail midlachlanlandcare@gmail.com

An Afternoon with Charlie Massy

Field day Charlie Massy

Mixed farmer turns to the Grazing Revolution

Over the last two decades 4th generation mixed farmer, Peter Davis, had found it
increasingly harder to make a profit due to rising input costs. Recently, through simple
management changes, he has increased profits through grazing alone.

Cargo property, ‘Laanecoorie’ has been run by Peter Davis’ family for 101 years.

‘Fertilizer and chemical costs were becoming a major concern to me, with yield and
farmgate return not improving. There was an increase in chemical resistance in our cropping areas’, explains Davis.

‘It was bothering me that my farm inputs were increasing but returns had plateaued. I also noticed hand feeding of livestock was becoming more frequent due to climate variations and my livestock enterprise was carrying the cropping.

‘I saw a change was needed and I decided to look outside my own patch to learn about
alternative methods to improve my business bottom line without increasing input costs,’
said Davis.

‘We started attending some grazing group workshops looking for possible answers. Through attending workshops run by Mid Lachlan Landcare and using their free support services under the Growing the Grazing Revolution (GGR) Project, I became much more aware of our soil ecology, ground cover and pasture species. I learnt how to better manage grazing to prolong and improve pasture viability and quality.

Sustainable and regenerative grazing management is critical for future land management and profitability according to Landcare, GGR Project Manager and Canowindra farmer, Scott Hickman.

Hickman has recently seen a spike in interest in sustainable grazing and has brought in Cargo farmer, Peter Davis, to work as Support Officer for the GGR project to help meet the demand from primary producers. ‘It is great to have a talented and respected local farmer to work alongside me,’ says Hickman.

‘I hope I can help a few grazing blokes understand, through simple management changes, they can increase profits through grazing,’ said Davis.

The GGR project covers farmers in the Canowindra, Cranbury, Eugowra, Carcoar,
Woodstock, Hovells Creek, Koorowatha, Gooloogong, Neville, Lyndhurst and Mandurama
areas.

It provides mentoring and peer support to farmers wishing to improve their grazing
management and shares experience, expertise and information on regenerative farming
systems. Scott Hickman and Peter Davis are available to give support to interested farmers.

Contact Scott Hickman (Project Manager): 0427450416 email: oatleighsjh@outlook.com
Contact Peter Davis (Support Officer): 0408 643122 email: pkdavis66@outlook.com

MLL is a voluntary, not for profit, cost effective organization providing forums for all local people to inform the future direction of both the (MLL) Landcare group and the (GGR) Grazing Project.

This project is supported by Smart Farms Small Grants, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

Mulyan Primary School’s lessons on the Lachlan

One hundred of Mulyan Primary School’s Year 3 and 4 students enjoyed outdoor lessons on the Lachlan River last Thursday, some touching the river for the first time in their lives.

On the day, Aboriginal students handed their peers images of native flora and fauna that live along the Lachlan and joined in discussions on the Aboriginal Totem system that once guarded every species against extinction.

On the shallow sandy banks of the river, students each created a science experiment looking at erosion and what makes the river muddy.  Students concluded exposed soil causes erosion.  They found ground cover from trees, grasses and their root systems held soil in place when it rains.

“We looked at how Cowra sits in the middle of the Murray Darling Basin, said one student. ‘I was surprised to see the river system travelled through four States of Australia starting in Queensland and came out at its South Australian mouth, five times saltier than the ocean,” he said.

Landcare coordinator, Jayden Gunn, explained the important role tree hollows play in supporting native animals including the superb parrot, the squirrel glider and other woodland birds.

Students studied food webs and were surprised by the massive eco system that a single gum tree supports.

“We learnt it takes over 100 years for a gum tree to form a hollow,” said a student.

“Old trees are important homes and food sources for native wildlife even if the trees are dead,” said another student.

“Mid Lachlan Landcare takes great pride in running its student workshops free for local schools,” said Landcare Education Officer, Trudi Refshauge.  Students from all over Australia travel to Cowra to participate in our education programs,” she said.

“I knew this fabulous environmental program was right on our doorstep and I’m so happy I organized for our middle school to get involved, said Mulyan Deputy, Lisa Cummings.