Mid Lachlan Landcare

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

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.

Improved communication on pest control for landholders

A talented new Pest Animal Control Coordinator has joined Mid Lachlan Landcare. Jayden Gunn, wildlife photographer and writer for Aviarylife Magazine, brings some amazing skills and energy to the Landcare group says MLL Coordinator, Tracee Burke.

“My work over the next year will involve community engagement. I will be communicating with landowners, asking them what pests are out there and how we can work in community groups to tackle current pests or predicted pest problems,’ said Gunn.

‘For example wild dogs are becoming an increasing threat to agriculture in our region.

‘A large part of my life has focused on work as an aviculturalist, legally keeping and breeding threatened and endangered Australian birds including …the Glossy Black Cockatoo and the superb parrot.

‘This has resulted in developing an in depth understanding of the dietary requirements, breeding habits, seasonal movements, behavioral characteristics, conservation status and general taxonomy of the birds,’ he said.

Since leaving school Jayden has focused the majority of his time studying the Australian environment, more particularly the human impact on all of the native species.

Jayden also has a Certificate 3 in Animal Studies from Cowra Tafe and has had local work experience as a Veterinary Assistant and currently works at Cowra Meat Works.

His interest in conservation has led him to develop an interest in identifying environments and wildlife at risk of decline or damage.

“I have had experience in handling all pest animals found in this area as well as other dangerous and deadly animals like venomous snakes and wild boars,” he said.

“I have lived in Cowra since 2004, when I was 8 years old and, in that time, I have explored almost every corner of our region and can confidently say that I know what problems we are facing” Gunn claims.

‘Most of our threats to native wildlife come from cats, foxes, feral dogs as well as the near arrival of the Indian myna which I have seen, on numerous occasions only 50-100km from Cowra,’ he said.

‘The science says that if landowners work together in groups they have more positive outcomes rather than tackling the problem as an individual.

If you have any pest animal problems that you would like to discuss or you would be interested in becoming part of a local pest animal group please contact Jayden on 0474128928 or E-mail jaydengunn@yahoo.com.


Funding Opportunity ‘Save our Superb Parrot’ September 2018

Mid Lachlan Landcare through funding provided by Saving our Species ‘Save our Superb Parrot’ project is running a scattered paddock tree project within our area.

The Mid Lachlan Landcare region is covered in the map above and includes the area coloured blue.

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 project is providing funding for 500 new scattered paddock trees to be planted across farms.

The aim of this project is to enhance areas of highly cleared landscapes in the Mid Lachlan Landcare region by further developing connectivity through the landscape to improve movement and habitat of the Superb Parrot and other local fauna. This builds upon projects completed in 2016 and 2017 where over 800 new scattered paddock trees have been planted across our region. The trees must be planted within 30m of each other and need to connect remnants i.e. roadside vegetation and an existing mature paddock tree. Advice on tree species to plant, mesh and star posts to protect the young trees, as well as the tubestock will be provided to successful applicants. Construction and installation of the guards plus planting of tube stock is to be completed by the landholder.

Paddock trees across the landscape have a number of benefits for productivity as well as conservation including pest control, salinity management, stock and crop shelter and improved soil structure.

Check out the link below for further information on paddock trees.


You can also watch this short video on paddock trees as well.


If you would like an Expression of Interest form for this project please e-mail midlachlanlandcare@gmail.com All forms must be completed and returned to Mid Lachlan Landcare by 28th September 2018.

Applications for this project are now closed.


Education a focus for our new team member

Mid Lachlan Landcare is pleased to introduce Trudi Refshauge. Her skills in education, journalism, agriculture and Landcare have enabled us to offer her the roll of Education Officer. Trudi’s role is to engage with local schools and the wider community about environmental conservation and agricultural sustainability. She also presents to visiting schools and universities that take part in our Educational Tours.

Trudi is a beef producer from Wyangala Dam where she practices Holistic Management and has developed her own version of low stress stock handling. Regularly spotted stopping boat traffic near the dam where her stock run on both sides of the road, drivers are often surprised to see her stop/go hand signals work equally effectively on her herd of cattle.

Trudi has spent the last decade developing and leading a successful Stephanie Alexander Kitchen – Garden Program at Wyangala Dam Primary School. In that time, the school community has gained a wealth of experience growing, harvesting, preparing and sharing a range of herbs, fruits and vegetables. Trudi has also introduced her students to learning about healthy soils and biodiversity through native seed collecting and propagation, building a shrub and tree corridor on a travelling stock route, bird watching, worm farming and building a Bee B&B Hotel.

Trudi has been heavily involved with the Hovells Creek Landcare Group (HCLG). Two decades ago, it started with many devoted hours helping her horticulturalist mother-in-law (to-be) propagate native seeds and grow seedlings for any landholder in the district who wanted them. She has since partaken in biological weed control and native seed collection programs and actively planted out numerous native shrub and tree corridors. Trudi has held voluntary positions of Press Officer and Secretary for the HCLG and hosted a number of functions for HCLG in her and her husband’s historic homestead. Her influence has extended over 60,000 hectares of land in the HCLG region.

In 2015 Trudi was contracted by The Great Eastern Ranges K2W (Kanangra Boyd to Wyangala) Link to join a group of teachers to develop an educational resource for Primary Schools supporting biodiversity and in particular, the threatened Squirrel Glider.

Trudi is skilled at writing, and in 2011 was a prize winner in Orange Library’s Banjo Patterson Writers Short Story Competition. She has had a range of environmentally focussed articles published in the local Cowra Guardian.


It’s wildflower time!

Spring is approaching and with it comes the beautiful woodland wildflower season. Woodlands have a rich understorey comprised of many forbs, lillies, grasses and even some spectacular orchids. After all the winter rain we received in the Mid Lachlan, it’s likely that a good flowering display is on the cards. As the weather warms up head out to TSR’s such as Badgery’s on the Reids Flat Road or a bit further afield is Crowther TSR on the Olympic Highway. Conimbla and Nangar National Parks have beautiful walks, or get along to an old cemetery such as Koorawatha, Canowindra or Toogong, and enjoy the diversity!


Remote camera images reveal Squirrel Glider behaviour

On-going monitoring of Squirrel Glider nest boxes installed as part of the John Holland Squirrel Glider Conservation Project have revealed some interesting nest building behaviour. Squirrel Gliders were first detected at the project site in November 2014. They began occupying nest boxes by January 2016, just over a year after installation. Monitoring has shown that so far at least three individuals are using the nest boxes but remote cameras installed have provided a snapshot of what they get up when the sun goes down.

Photos taken each night reveal gliders busily building nests by carrying small branches of eucalypt leaves in their tails, gliding in from nearby trees and coming and going up and down the tree trunk. Up to 40 images are taken each night as they move to and from the nest box. Busy little critters!


Mid Lachlan Landcare and the Age of Fishes Museum: a great partnership in the development of young people

Mid Lachlan Landcare (MLL) and the Age of Fishes museum (AOF) recognised and celebrated a partnership with teacher Steve Lans, the young people he works with, and Bede Polding College by holding a small presentation ceremony during his visit to Canowindra recently.

In May 2002, Steve Lans brought a group of 12 students from Bede Polding College (near Windsor NSW) to Canowindra to visit the AOF and to do MLL’s Salinity and Erosion Tour. Since that first visit, Steve has brought 15 groups made up of 371 participants. We also know that at least five other school groups have visited the district on his recommendation.

Over this time, Steve has gained the respect and admiration of AOF and MLL staff. He is a very skilled, professional educator, and groups he has brought have always showed open, inquiring minds, and demonstrate a high level of engagement and communication. Steve is a great advocate of practical applied scientific learning. He has managed to overcome many obstacles to make these visits happen and has always exhibited positive energy. Steve is also committed to getting the best for his students and from his students. He shows everyone respect and he certainly has ours.

Andrew Wooldridge, a key driver in MLL’s education program said “We have noticed Steve has had a very positive influence on many lives. I have met several of Steve’s former Bede Polding students when they were attending the University of Canberra or the Australian National University. They all go out of their way to tell me how Steve and the course he runs has impacted on them, their study choices, their career choices and their life choices”.

“MLL had the unique opportunity to host one of Steve’s former Bede Polding students Ashleigh Zarlengha, for professional development as part of her university course last year. Ashleigh did many different tasks with MLL and the Department of Primary Industries during that time but she was very keen to be able to be a presenter on the Bede Polding Earth and Environmental Science Landcare Tour – a tour she had done herself as a HSC student with Steve several years before. Mid Lachlan Landcare staff shared the great experience with Steve of standing in a paddock and watching Ashleigh deliver high quality scientific content to Bede Polding College students“.

It has been a busy time over the last two months for MLL with visits and field-based study tours from St Andrews Cathedral School, Scots College Sydney, Shellharbour Anglican School, Bede Polding College and MacKillop College ACT. Our staff and representatives from partner organisations deliver tailored content that may include sustainable and regenerative farming systems, food processing businesses, climate change and adaptation, soil and water management,  biodiversity, geology, soil influence on land use, and sustainable living.

New Local Landcare Coordinator joins our team

Mid Lachlan Landcare was recently successful in obtaining funding for a 3.5 year part time position for a Local Landcare Coordinator. Our committee has appointed Tracee Burke in this position and she’s currently transitioning into the job. Welcome Tracee!

Tracee is from Gooloogong and has been involved with Kangarooby Catchment Landcare for a number of years. She is passionate about farming and conservation, and holistically manages a small beef cattle property. She is also specialised in local native plants, seed collection and propagation, and has a good understanding of local Landcare issues.

Tracee hopes to increase support for the smaller Landcare groups in our area, and will work with them to increase their knowledge, activities and membership, and will also assist our Grazing Project Officer Scott Hickman with our successful local project Growing the Grazing Revolution.

Stay tuned for information about upcoming projects and events. Our aim over the coming months and years will continue to be focussed on delivering positive environmental change through education and on-ground works. If you have any questions about Landcare activities in the district, please feel free to contact us via email, you can also subscribe to our mailing list, blog post via our website, or Like us on Facebook.

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Driving Sustainable Land Use

In partnership with Central Tablelands Local Land Services, Mid Lachlan Landcare is undertaking a new project to encourage and support sustainable land use across our district.

The project aims to assist farmers by providing personal support that will enable them to engage in improved grazing management practices. It will also provide technical and personal support to help farmers understand ecosystem repair priorities on their farm, and will include a number of paddock tree projects.

It is increasingly understood that biodiversity and productivity on farms can be managed in a sustainable way and the long-term viability of our farming land to produce economic goods and deliver ecosystem services depends our ability to successfully work with the land and the climate to build sustainability into farming businesses.

If you would like more information or to become involved please contact Mid Lachlan Landcare by emailing midlachlanlandcare@gmail.com