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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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

Community Purchase – Amulla or Winter Apple

Thanks to everyone who got behind our trial Box Gum Grassy Woodland groundcover purchase. I hope your groundcovers grow well and reproduce for the future.

It was awesome of Oz Plants and the Weddin Community nursery to try growing these to order for us. As anticipated there were some unsuccessful germinations but recently an extra 2 species have started coming up and these should be ready late Winter/early Spring. Overall we ended up with 7 of the 11 species growing.

You can check out all the species we tried here in our original post. It includes links to descriptions of each species which are all important species in our Box Gum Grassy Woodlands.

I thought we might focus on Amulla or Winter Apple (Eremophila debilis) in this post. My first introduction to it was when I was out exploring a TSR (travelling stock reserve) and it really struck me. It has these bright pink fruit during the Winter months that must be important to plenty of native species. Now that I have had it planted in my garden for a few years I have noticed the Eastern Rosella’s and even the odd King Parrot that look to be feeding on the fruit.

This plant is frost tolerant and is described as drought hardy. I haven’t given mine any extra care and they are spreading well and have even germinated a couple of new ones.

They are edible but I find them a bit on the bitter side with quite a large seed and not much flesh. They are described as ‘Small green fruits approximately 8mm in size that appear in autumn/winter either turning white or pink when ripe. The fruit has an appearance of a tiny apple with a similar crispy texture and sweet taste.’

I purchased about 30 of them during this community opportunity and I am in the process of planting them in some of my revegetation sites on the farm. Can’t wait to see how they go.

Apparently Amulla is not unpalatable to stock and can be heavily grazed at times even with it’s low growth-habit. It is not a common species but this could be due to the fact that it is palatable and has now been grazed out of many sites where it may have previously grown. Each plant can live for 10-20 years, which is amazing, and one plant will cover an area of about a square meter in a couple of years.

The Weddin nursery propagated 243 of these Amulla which are in the process of being collected and planted across 16 farms in our region.

All up including the Amulla 964 plants have been successfully propagated with a further 250 coming up now. If you haven’t already collected your order from the nurseries don’t forget. Please let me know if you are having trouble getting to either of the nurseries to collect and I’ll see if I can help.

We would love to hear how your plants are growing and where you have planted them so please let me know and send us some pictures 🙂

Mycology May – Fungi surveys – Box Gum Grassy Woodland – Cowra

On Saturday the 21st May we held our first ever Fungi Surveys of Box Gum Grassy Woodlands on 2 sites around Cowra. One site was the Chiverton TSR on the Grenfell Rd. and the second site was in remnant woodland on the farm of one of our Box Gum Grassy Woodlands Habitat on Farm projects.

It will be wonderful to start gathering data on the fungi in our woodlands. We set up 4 teams on each site and collected 101 fungi specimens that have all gone to the Orange Ag Institute for official identification and recording.

In case you needed a bit of extra encouraging to love fungi, Alison Pouliot reported in this FungiMap BLOG about the fungi of Central Victoria’s Box Gum Woodlands and I am sure the same would be said for our local woodland here :-

Hundreds, possibly thousands of species of fungi inhabit Central Victoria’s Box-Gum Grassy Woodlands and Derived Grasslands. Although rarely a focus of biodiversity management, fungi are vitally important to the health and resilience of these ecosystems. 

Many fungi may be threatened by processes that have resulted in widespread destruction or deterioration of these woodlands, especially as they are now largely restricted to isolated remnants.

It is so important for us to learn more about the fungi of these Woodlands to help us protect them into the future. The fungi are just as vital as the trees, understory, forbs, fallen timber and everything else associated with the woodlands. Interestingly it was noted by Alison that there was quite a difference in species when comparing the two sites. The species at our farm remnant site were very much colonising fungi species and although we found many fungi, it was not as diverse as the TSR (Travelling Stock Reserve) site. The TSR site also contained a greater variety of understory and groundcover plant species.

It really helped to tie the day together having some of the Biodiversity Conservation Trust team along to talk about the Box Gum Grassy Woodland remnants we were surveying in.

I am truly blown away everyday at how much everything links up with everything else. We still have such a small knowledge of this interconnectedness around us. They say Fungi is the Forgotten Kingdom but we are working to change this across the Central Tablelands. I can’t wait until next May!!!

The CSIRO did a study published in 2009 ‘Fungus diversity in revegetated paddocks compared with remnant woodland‘ in the area around Holbrook which is an interesting read if you wanted to have a look at it.

You can also check out this article recently produced by The Conversation ‘Beyond Flora and Fauna: Why it’s time to include fungi in global conservation goals‘ which further discusses the importance of fungi in our ecosystems and life.

Special thanks goes to all the partners who helped to make this event possible. They include Central Tablelands Local Land Services, Saving our Species, the Environmental Trust and also the Biodiversity Conservation Trust.

NSW Local Land Services logo