Mid Lachlan Landcare

Why Scattered Paddock Trees?

Why plant scattered paddock trees?

With the recent fantastic response to our community tree guard mesh purchase we thought we’d ask some of our members, who have been putting in these trees over the last few years, why they do it.

Hugh & Jess (Cargo)

“We were highly motivated to plant scattered paddock trees because we could see a number of our existing and mature eucalypts dying and others showing signs of ill health due to the drought and to ongoing farming pressure.  We see established and mature trees as one of the most valuable resources on our property, they deliver benefits to our agricultural production systems, to the natural environment and to the wildlife to which they feed and provide nesting habitat. In addition they add value and beauty to our farm. Recognising that growing mature paddock trees is a long game we approached Mid Lachlan Landcare to seek some advice and got started. We’ve found that watching our trees grow and thrive has been very rewarding, we’re excited to observe our farm landscape changing and plan further scattered paddock tree plantings on a yearly basis across our property.”

Wendy (Canowindra)

“Our paddock trees aren’t getting any younger in fact most of them are senior citizens.  They are so important for connectivity and biodiversity as well as shade for stock in a world that is getting hotter.  There is no time to waste, get planting.”

Bron & Andrew (Canowindra)

“Andrew & I  first planted some scattered trees back in 2016, when we got some funding for through Mid Lachlan Landcare. We are about to take the guards off these & be able to reuse the guards for more plantings. We found that planting scattered trees gives you the ability to plant them where you want without a lot of fencing .

The trees we have planted provide a connectivity for wildlife with other areas, not just on our farm but further afield & the trees also will give shade for the future.

We have continued on with these plantings since 2016 & will continue to do so.”

Guy (Woodstock)

“The bare paddocks in the distance prevent the passage of any wildlife apart from large birds and large mammals from moving across the landscape. The planted trees in the foreground attract a diversity of species that aid in sustainability and support production. Were planting individual paddock trees on all our properties as it’s win/win for us.”

 These trees have had the guards removed now for use elsewhere

We also want to thank the ‘Saving our Species – Saving our Superb Parrot’ project for providing some funding for our community mesh purchase which has allowed everyone to recieve a further discount to help get trees into our local paddocks.

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Building Connections -Year 1(2022) Project Summary

Written by: Corey Tatz – ‘Bulding Connections for Biodiversity in the Central Tablelands’ Project Officer

It has been an absolute pleasure hosting our first citizen science project as part of our Landcare and BCT partnership! Thank you to everyone involved for this 12 month pilot project.

We recorded more than 4000 observations and 900 species from a team of 26 observers, with these observations holding 72% research grade. Of the species recorded the top three species were Plants (37.98%), Insects (29.72%), and Birds (12.12%). But we also recorded Fungi (8.8%), Arachnids (4.29%), Reptiles (2.25%), and Mammals (1.82%).

Total Observations and species recorded in iNaturalist for the ‘Building Connections’ project

The Top 10 recorded species are illustrated below. The Common Brown Butterfly (Heteronympha merope) really was common this year as our most recorded species. It was hard to go anywhere without seeing these beautiful butterfly’s during Summer.

Next up is a map of where the observations have occurred across the Central Tablelands. There is so much more of the region we can visit to get observations from. The project has been set up to cover the Local Government areas that best align with our Central Tablelands Landcare Groups.

We are excited to announce that the iNaturalist project has now been extended to 2025. It is hoped that we can really target our efforts in the coming years to focus on particular local geographical areas of interest, or align with other biodiversity species counts such as Frog ID week, bee counts, bird counts, The Great Southern Bioblitz, and other focus areas of interest to our community!  If you have suggestions for project focus, please feel free to reach out. Depending on interest and needs of our community we might even be able to offer some photography skills workshops, and some more info sessions on how to use platforms such as iNaturalist.

If you haven’t yet joined, but are interested in taking part follow this link to our iNat community site: https://inaturalist.ala.org.au/projects/building-connections-for-biodiversity-in-the-central-tablelands-nsw

and don’t forget to join our facebook page here.

You can contact myself (Corey) at centraltablelandsbct@gmail.com or you can contact Tracee (Mid Lachlan Landcare) at midlachlanlandcare@gmail.com or ph. 0417 799 425.

Here’s some of the wonderful iNaturalist pictures submitted through the project from around the Cowra/Canowindra area.

Funding Available – Saving our Superb Parrot

Photo Credit – Jayden Gunn

We are excited to have further funding to continue the critically important work everyone has been doing to put scattered paddock trees back into our farms. Planting trees, for the future, to help the Superb Parrot plus many other species in the long term. Some of the key threats to the Superb Parrot are the loss of living and dead hollow bearing trees and poor regeneration of nesting trees. 

This year we also have a small amount of funding to assist you to fence off large old remnant trees to protect them from stock damage so they can continue to provide shade and shelter on your farms for many years to come. There is a fantastic fact sheet, put together by Local Land Services, about the importance of scattered paddock trees in our landscape and for our farms here

Most of you would now be very familiar with the paddock tree work and the mesh we have been using to construct the guards. The cost of this mesh and star pickets has increased significantly again during the last year. We can offer 70% towards the cost of the mesh, star pickets and trees for this project. We can also provide up to $750 towards fencing materials for the large old trees. There are more details in the attached Expression of Interest (EOI). Construction and installation of the guards, fencing and planting of tube stock is to be completed by you. Hopefully we will get a couple of farm depot offers again and will have tractors to load the mesh onto your vehicles when you are ready to collect.

We cannot give exact pricing until all EOI’s are received, assessed and prioritised. The current indication is that a 30% contribution by participants for one large roll of mesh and the pickets needed should work out to be about $350 and less for the shorter mesh rolls. (fingers crossed no more steel price rises in the meantime)

We really hope you would like to be part of this project. If you are not familiar with these tree guards or have any questions, please just give us a call and we can talk you through it.

You can find out more about the Superb Parrot Project and scattered paddock trees on our website here You can also access a Mid Lachlan Landcare region map here to check that you are eligible for funding.

Please contact us midlachlanlandcare@gmail.com if you would like an expression of interest sent through to you. Applications for this grant close on the 19th February.

Eugowra – How you can help

There is the Community GIVIT page where you can donate money here

The Community now has a Eugowra Flood Appeal phone number which is manned from 10am – 4pm daily by locals who are assisting with the recovery at the showground. They ask that if there is no answer, please leave a message or text so that someone can get back to you with the information you need.

The number is 0483 318 383 and it is for people requiring assistance in Eugowra, those who want to offer assistance or for any questions relating to the recovery or the Eugowra Flood Appeal.

There is also a website ‘Eugowra Flood Appeal’ which you can access here. It has heaps of information and in particular it has a ‘help needed’ section that locals can fill out if they have jobs they need help with. It has the specific job and contact details. You can find this section here or navigate to it once you visit the website.

Prior to Christmas there have been community volunteer days along the waterways through private farms cleaning up flood debris and salvaging belongings. Hopefully this can continue after Christmas and if you want to put your name down to volunteer for this work then please email midlachlanlandcare@gmail.com and we will take your details and make sure you are contacted if this work continues.

If you are on social media then the ‘Visit Eugowra’ facebook page is where you can also find lots of information.

We also want to take the opportunity to acknowledge the many people in the Mid Lachlan Region (and beyond) who have been affected by the recent events and want to make sure that if you need help on your farms please contact us and we will try our best to help or point you in the right direction for help. We know many of our committee and members have been personally affected and we want to say take care everyone and look after yourselves.

2022 Christmas get-together

Ian Cooley & Family – Recognition & Thanks

During our Christmas get-together we took the opportunity to surprise Ian Cooley with a plaque and thank you speech from Andrew Wooldridge.

“Ladies and gentlemen of Mid Lachlan Landcare, my job tonight is to say a few words to acknowledge and honour Ian Cooley. Those of you who know Ian would agree that to truly honour him I will be brief and to the point and I will speak with total honesty.

I want to talk about the visitors to the Cooley Farm ‘Westville’ –
- We started counting tour groups that visited Westville in 2000
- Since 2000 there has been 4802 people who have walked around Westville with MLL volunteers and staff.
- Westville has hosted 236 different groups
- Most groups are between 10 -20 people

There have been –
- 23 agency groups made up of mainly public servents
- 10 training groups who made studying Westville part of formal technical training
- 33 community landcare groups from across Australia
- 21 university groups of staff ,undergraduate and post grad students
- 159 visits from 38 different schools from across NSW and ACT.
Most schools have multile visits –
– Bede Polding College has sent student groups every year for 21 years
– Nicole Evans is a high school ag science teacher from western Sydney. Nicole has bought groups from the 3 different schools she has worked at.

It takes a special rare person to open their farm their home, and business to so many complete strangers with such generosity.

What do all these people come to see?
They come to see the Westville landscape. A vision for how the Australian Landcape can produce healthy food and support families and communities.
How we can learn from the past, design a different future and make it happen!
They come to see sophisticated land management practises and a revegetation program which manages soil erosion, water quality salinity, biodiversity and animal welfare….all done by one family over a period of more than 25 years.
They learn that this thing some people call Landcare farming or natural resource management is called business as usual at Westville. It is part of the yearly farming program. Not a special one off project.

Ian has taught me many things about land management –
- I know that if your children/workforce are complaining about the weather during a tree planting job you motivate them by putting the warm dry ute at the far end of the tree row.

- I know that if those same workers are being swooped by magpies while putting on tree
guards you issue them with special protective headwear – that looks a little bit like a plastic
ice cream container – and the job must go on

Ian Cooley You are a leader in our community – You have taught us to get on with it
Ladies and gentlemen – it should be done, in can be done, the Cooley family are doing it.

Jayden Gunn – Recognition and Thanks

At our recent Christmas get-together we asked Jayden to speak to the group about his work with Intrepid Landcare and before he sat down we surprised him with the following speech by Tracee Burke and a thankyou plaque.

“I believe Jayden’s first introduction to Landcare was back when the fantastic Vanessa Cain was our co-ordinator and Jayden volunteered to help her monitor Squirrel Glider nest boxes over near Crowther. How old would you have been then Jayden? (turns out he was about 14 yrs old)

And then in 2017 he contacted us and sent through some gorgeous pictures of Glossy Black Cockatoos he had taken up in Conimbla NP and asked if there was anything he could do with Mid Lachlan Landcare. We were planning some bird surveys with Kangarooby Landcare and so I asked if he wanted to come along and help us do the surveys as we weren’t very good at IDing species at that stage but had lots of fun trying.

I believe he took an annual leave day off work to come and help us and I remember everyone being blown away by his knowledge and photography skills. We enjoyed having him along very much.

After that an opportunity came along for MLL to put on a part time person to do some pest animal co-ordination and Jayden applied. He secured this role and committed to doing this along with his already full time employment. He did a great job and it was then in 2018 he got the opportunity to travel up to the Gold Coast and attend his first National Landcare Conference. I think it’s safe to say he loved the experience and the new people he met and connections he made especially with the younger Intrepid Landcare members.

Since then Jayden has gone from strength to strength and we were really so happy for him when in 2020 he secured a full time role with Birdlife Australia. It has been only 4 years since he attended his first National Landcare Conference and this year he attended again but what a difference! This year Jayden was a huge part of the conference participating in the opening and closing panel of the conference and is now on speed dial with Costa if ever he wants to speak with him 🙂

He was also integral in making the ‘2022 NextGen Landcare Youth Forum’ such a huge success with over 90 schools from across Australia registering to attend.

It has been such a pleasure to watch your achievements over this time and I want to thank you for always following your dreams and doing everything in your power to turn them into reality. You are now working in your dream job with Birdlife Australia and through your volunteer work with Intrepid Landcare you are inspiring other people both young and older (like me) to take opportunities where we can to do good things for our environment and to look after each other as well.

On that note we would like to present you with this plaque to say thank you and recognise the wonderful work you are doing.”

If you want to find out more about the Nextgen Landcare Youth Forum you can find the summary and videos here.

Thanks for your Feedback

In November we are asking you all for a bit of feedback to help us plan for the future. Thanks so much to everyone who has replied so far. We have had feedback via email and also at our AGM. Here are some of the comments so far. Please keep the feedback coming.

In regards to Mid Lachlan Landcare :-

Question 1) What has been the most valuable to you in the last 5 years?

Tree planting native species.

The social aspect – it has been really wonderful these last few months to attend the social gatherings and have such interesting, friendly, welcoming and motivated people to talk to

Growing the Grazing Revolution program and the support it gave during the drought, it really helped make the hard decisions.

Support for paddock tree plantings on farm to address habitat for rare and endangered species, plus shade and shelter for livestock

Farm visits and hearing people’s journey of change, their successes and also things that went off track and what they learnt from those experiences.

Networking, farm visits, collaborations with soil carbon & other projects, group brains better than individual .

CIBO Labs and Pasture key biomass satellite monitoring workshops and dung beetle breeding

The opportunity to mix, talk and share ideas with like minded good people.

And so many other great answers to this question. We really appreciate this feedback!

Question 2) What should we do in the next 5 years?

I would love to see something on Bees and keeping one or two hives (even better Kenyan top rail hives), propagation of native trees and how we can do even better at maintaining productive pastures along side regenerating native vegetation.

Some stuff on environmental markets/ecosystems services/natural capital- and how to measure the value of these access these markets?

Projects around the planting of trees on farm and the associated benefits are great, the best ways to plan and execute the plantings (identify suitable places on farm that perhaps may otherwise be non-productive anyway?).

It shouldn’t be all about change, stay with the good stuff

Could landcare push the healthy pasture story. Trees and habitat are of course also vital but healthy pastures can lift productivity and pull carbon into the soils. They can be very beneficial to birds, and insects as diverse feed sources

Erosion, streambank slumping and loss of trees along our creeks and rivers – loss of old >100yo trees with habitat hollows.

Funding opportunities to encourage landholders to value the ecological aspects of the land they caretake are encouraging and important.

If you haven’t supplied us with any feedback as yet we would love to hear from you. Please email us your answers midlachlanlandcare@midlachlanlandcare

It doesn’t look like Landcare are going to run out of things to do anytime soon 🙂

Wattle Day – 1st September

There were a few of us who could not make it to the formal Wattle Day event at Mikla and Wayne’s property in Grenfell earlier in September and Mikla kindly offered to host another event for us that somehow we manged to have on the official Wattle Day – 1st September which was wonderful.

A very informal affair, with a bring your own everything plan, Mikla and Wayne were fantastic hosts explaining the various projects they have been involved with on their farm including planting thousands of wattles across the property.

Mikla took the time to explain the changes they have seen on-farm and why wattles are such an important part of our landscape. They are heroes of Box Gum Grassy Woodlands!!!

Weddin Landcare have created a really informative article on wattles, their history and their roles in our landscape ‘Wattle – The heart and soul of Box Gum Woodlands’ It is well worth a read.

We all had a great time exploring the farm and lunching among the wattles in Mikla and Wayne’s back garden. A big thanks also goes to the Weddin Community Native Nursery for gifting everyone a local wattle to take home and plant.

You can also see the article that ABC has written about the formal Wattle day event at Mikla and Wayne’s ‘After planting thousands of wattles, farm goes from bare paddocks to teeming with wildlife’

Thanks so much to everyone that came along. What a special day it was.

Cowra district graziers use satellite technology to farm plan

Over the past five months, 15 Cowra district properties have been trialling the use of satellite technology to measure pasture growth rates on their individual properties, helping graziers with the management of grass budgeting and stock movements.

Mid-Lachlan Landcare (MLL) has partnered with CIBO LABS Operations Manager, Nik Henry and Senior Extension Officer, Wendy Gill to run a series of workshops for participating properties.

On August 24, MLL is offering everyone from across the Mid-Lachlan Landcare district an opportunity to attend a workshop. ‘This workshop will enable the group to share the experiences and knowledge gained through the program’, says MLL grazing facilitator Peter Davis. ‘It’s another tool to help with fodder assessment and management’.

Within the grazing industry, there has been an ever-increasing interest in rotational and timed grazing, and therefore, grass budgeting.“Our satellite assisted forage budgeting systems provide graziers with weekly satellite maps showing the variability in pasture biomass and ground cover for every paddock on the farm. This information provides objective data for planning rotational grazing, match stocking rates to carrying capacity and managing land condition”, says Henry.

CIBO LABS also offer clients a groundcover report based on 30 years of satellite history. From this, clients can see their individual property landscape health and pasture growth rates with regional comparisons. This can be useful when telling a story about historical management, drought management and pasture improvements over time.

‘We have the ability to look backwards and are able to quantify and marry data with stories about how new management has impacted or improved landscape,’ says Henry.

Livestock corporations in Northern Australia have been using this program effectively since 2018,’ says Henry. ‘The satelite images encompass the full range of shrub and tree cover, grass growth and weeds. Some of the satellite images of weeds and other unpalatable vegetation can be misleading. To compensate, the technology improves as data is fed in by agronomists and pastoralists to ground-truth the satellite images.’

Since 2020 ,the southern landscape has seen ground truthing of pasture biomass (which comprises a completely different species to the north). MLL participants have been working with the satellite data, using apps, taking photos, taking pasture cuts and measuring growth rates to add to the biomass library for visual calibration of the southern data.

MLL’s Peter Davis explained this program has been funded through a grant from the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal through the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund – a program to build drought resilience. ‘This program is helping farming businesses to plan for future weather events such as the next dry spell,’ he said.

Growing the Grazing revolution (GGR) Update

Peter Davis – GGR Grazing Officer

Unfortunately the latest round of funding for this project, as part of the Australian Government’s ‘Smart Farms Small Grants’ program, finished at the end of June. We have been searching for other opportunities to be funded over the last 8 months but there hasn’t been a suitable option for us yet. Don’t worry we will continue searching and if anyone has any ideas feel free to contact us.

The Mid Lachlan Landcare Committee met to discuss this issue and voted unanimously to keep the project running using our own funds and reducing the workload until further funding is secured. The project board then met to discuss the best use of resources.

Just prior to this meeting our Grazing Officer Peter Davis put through his resignation as of the end of August so he could spend more time on the farm. We are all very saddened by this news as Peter is a great asset to the team and has worked so well with Scott over the last 4 years. We aren’t losing Peter though which is wonderful. He has accepted a postion on the GGR board and also on the Mid Lachlan Landcare committee so he will still be a big part of Mid Lachlan.

The board has worked with Scott and developed a plan. For the next six months he will be working one day a week. We will not be running any of the cluster group meetings but will likely hold a few events on farms which will be open to all members of the GGR cluster groups. We will also work to hold one big field day/event before the end of this year based on feedback from all of you but we will have to make it cost neutral which we are sure you will all understand.

This project has been running for over ten years now which is a huge achievment and looking back on the last two years, under this recent funding, it has achieved so much and supported so many people through some really tough times. Thanks so much to Scott Hickman who has been a driving force throughout the whole 10 years and also the entire GGR board. We hope to continue to be there for you all for a long time yet.

Photo’s from our recent grazing meeting in June 2022 at Wendy Bowman’s property near Canowinda