Mid Lachlan Landcare

Brigidine College did not want to miss their yearly Mid Lachlan Visit

During the second week of November we were so happy to welcome Brigidine College back to the region. This is our first school visit since COVID hit and we have missed our visiting school tours. It was so great to be out and about showing these students where their food comes from and supporting local farms and business’s.

This year we had a group of about 40 Food Technology, Hospitality and Business studies students who stayed at the ‘Old Vic Inn’ Canowindra.

The tour started at Mulyan Farms with Ed. He took them to see beetroot being harvested and the processing lines. They were able to see and hear first hand about food safety and the different ways this business is working to utilise everything harvested, value adding where they can. The students also hand picked their own beetroot to cook up as part of the evenings dinner. Many of the students had never experienced this before.

That evening the food technology students cooked up a feast for all with local fresh produce including Rayz Organic Lamb and the beetroot they had hand picked.

Day two consisted a tour of Rosnay Organic to learn all about growing figs and olives organically. Next stop was ‘Belmont’ a mixed farm in Canowindra where Stuart McDonald showed them his crops and the machinery that is used to harvest. At ‘Oatleigh’ Scott Hickman went through his grazing operation for the ladies and they were able to see the shearing of some sheep. They were also lucky enough to visit La Barre olives processing facility at Canowindra.

On day three we started pretty early with a visit to the lovely guesthouse Eddy’s of Canowindra and the awesome Muzzy’s Quality Meats where the team demonstrated how a lamb is cut up to make all the cuts you see in store. Last but not least on their way home Scott and Peter organised with the Carcoar Saleyards for the ladies to come and see how a saleyard works.

Thank you so much to everyone involved in making this an experience the ladies will never forget and giving them such important hands-on information that will be invaluable for their studies. It is such a great way to bridge that city-country gap.

Check out the video below of a couple of the ladies describing their experiences.

2nd annual Cowra Archibird Photo Competiton a great success

The Cowra Natural Resource Management Committee have been able to run this competition during 2020 and what fantastic entries we had. Mid Lachlan Landcare partnered with the committee to help out with the admin of the competition and also provided some funding through the ‘Saving our Superb Parrot’ project which is funded under the NSW Government Saving our Species program.

This year we had Open, Teen & Youth categories as well as a best Superb Parrot photo prize. Check out the winning pictures below. If you would like to see all the amazing pictures then go to the Cowra NRM facebook page.

John Cooper was the judge of the Open, Teen and Youth categories. What a difficult task he had!!

We were also lucky to have 3 individuals who have been very important in the ‘Saving our Superb Parrot’ project judge the Best Superb Parrot photo. These were Damon Oliver (Department of Planning, Industry & Environment), Gordon Refshauge (Chairman of Hovells Creek Landcare) and John Rankin (Cowra Woodland Birds).

Overall we had over 200 entries and at least 65 different bird species were photographed all within 100km of Cowra. The plan is to run this again in 2021 so get your cameras out and start snapping so you have some entries ready for next year 🙂

Diary of a Onthophagus vacca farmer

Well we have become farmers of a different type of livestock – Dung Beetles 🙂 The beetles arrived on the 9th of October 2020 to be released into their nursery as reported in the last BLOG post. They started off slow and we were quite concerned they may not make it.

They are now turning the piles of cattle dung, that we feed them about twice a week, into a shell really quickly. It is awesome to see the work they do to bury the dung within the nursery. They cannot escape and so they are totally reliant on us to provide for them.

Before arrival we had to collect about 50 litres of dung to put in a garbage bin and leave to settle for a week. This ensured any beetle species already in this dung were gone so we didn’t introduce other beetles into the O.vacca nursery. As this bin empties we collect more dung to be ready to swap over when required. It is a pretty simple process and it’s pretty easy to feed the dung out to the beetles.

These livestock don’t need paddock moves, don’t need water checked, don’t need shearing, don’t need weaning. All in all it’s a great process and in the long run they will improve our soils as well.

At this stage all seems to be going well and we really hope the beetles survive, thrive and especially breed. The on-farm nursery protocol is as per below:-

  • Check dung burial twice weekly.
  • At the same time, add 2 litres of dung immediately adjacent to the previous pile.
  • The parental beetles will feed and breed for 2–4 months (August – October/November).
  • They will then die.
  • The next generation of adult beetles (F1 beetles) will begin emerging in October – November or much later in cooler climates (January – February).
  • The newly emerged adults will feed for 2–3 weeks but will not breed.
  • When they have finished feeding, they will tunnel underground and stay there until spring.
  • Stop feeding the beetles in summer when the dung is no longer being buried.
  • In spring the overwintering beetles will emerge, feed and begin to breed.

They are a really interesting species to learn about and it is exciting for Mid Lachlan Landcare to be involved in establishing a new species of dung beetle in our region. Fingers crossed they make it though our summer.

Some pictures below of the dung pile after the beetles have finished with it. If you have any questions or would like to find out more about the dung beetle work we are doing please contact us midlachlanlandcare@gmail.com.

Monitoring our Box Gum Grassy Woodland Project sites

We have begun the monitoring process on the completed project sites and this is an important component of the ‘Saving our Species’ program. By carrying out a monitoring program we can see what changes occur across the project sites. The sites will hopefully show improvement but the monitoring will also pick up decreases in the quality of the sites and we can then look at why this might be occuring and implement changes.

Due to the current weather conditions it is such an amazing year to be doing this monitoring. We have enlisted the talented Dan Florance to lead the monitoring. Before we go to a site he has a computer randomly pick a number of GPS coordinates across a site. Here we look at different components within a 20m diameter circle around each GPS point. There are all sorts of things that get measured but my favorite is noting down all of the native groundcover species present within the circle. Box Gum Grassy Woodlands have many grasses and a very high diversity of forbs. It is absolutely fasinating and wonderful to see some of these species up close. This region is so important for the conservation of Box Gum Grassy Woodlands and anyone involved in this project is doing amazing things to help.

Our monitoring has turned up a number of special species (although I think every species is special and exciting to find). We thought you might like to see one of them. Below are Yass Daisy (Ammobium craspedioides) and they have shown up on one of the sites over near Mandurama. This little plant is listed as ‘vulnerable’ in NSW and you can find out more info here.

John and Megan Rowlands are undertaking targetted weed control as part of this project within this amazingly diverse patch of woodland on their farm near Mandurama. “We are aware there are very few remnant areas such as the Box Gum Grassy Woodland on Hilton. With the various surveys completed we are encouraged to know & learn of the many native plant & wildlife species this 40 hectare block supports. We realise how important it is to nurture such a unique area.”

To find out more about the ‘White Box, Yellow Box, Blakely’s Red Gum Habitat on Farm’ project and how you could get involved contact midlachlanlandcare@gmail.com

Second Box Gum Grassy Woodland Workshop held

On Thursday 22nd October we held a workshop for the year 2 participants in our Box Gum Grassy Woodland Habitat on Farms project.

Dan Florance from the Austalian National University Fenner School of Environment and Society provided a great presentation and discussion with plenty of practical ideas on how we can protect, enhance and expand Box Gum Grassy Woodland on farm.

Ideas such as :-

  • fencing off and changing grazing practices within a remnant patch of woodland you might have on your farm.
  • ways to protect individual old paddock trees.
  • innovative ways to include understory species back into your farm.
  • looking at connectivity opportunities across the farm.
  • grazing management to maximise opportunities for our native grasses and forbs to grow, set seed and drop seed within our livestock enterprises.
  • direct seeding or tubestock.

We also discussed the huge range of Native flora and fauna that call this woodland home. After lunch we headed out for a site visit to one of last years completed projects. It gave everyone a chance to be inspired, see the gorgeous natives within the site, see the plenty of exotic annual species that have come up within the site this year (there is no perfect Woodland patch!) We checked out the innovative cluster circles he has put in to get some understory species into this patch. As under his careful management since 2013 there had still not been recruitment of understory species. He is hoping these circles will enable them to get established while he can still crash graze the rest of the paddock at strategic times.

It was lovely to be able to see the Superb Parrots that nest in this patch. Dan also heard and then pointed out Cockatiels that were utilising the patch as well.

Last years projects were fantastic and we are now very excited to see the projects this years participants come up with.

If you are keen to find out more about our Box Gum Grassy Woodland Habitat on Farm project and you are interested in getting involved for year 3 email us midlachlanlandcare@gmail.com.

Onthophagus vacca dung beetle coming to the region

As part of our current dung beetle project we are excited to announce that our Local Landcare Coordinator is recieving this newly imported species of dung beetle to breed in an on-farm rearing site.

The Onthophagus vacca were introduced to Australia in the 1980’s but they failed to establish. It is anticipated that this new strain of beetle is expected to survive and reproduce better than the earlier strains. This beetle is expected to fill the Spring gap in activity that some areas currently have.

This trial for Mid Lachlan Landcare will give our coordinator training to then enable her to assist our other landholders who become involved in the on-farm rearing of the Bubas bison (Winter active beetle) in Autumn 2021. Many thanks to Sally Kirby from Central Tablelands Landcare for the assistance.

To find out more about the Onthophagus vacca you can check out the article produced by Dung Beetle Ecosystem Engineers ‘ New import for Australia, meet the beetle : Onthophagus vacca

Our on-farm rearing site set up and ready to breed some dung beetles

Beetles being released into the on-farm rearing site 9th October 2020

Birds, if only they could talk!

As part of Birdweek 2020 the Cowra NRM along with support from Mid Lachlan Landcare, Saving our Superb Parrot and NSW Government, will be hosting an evening on all things Birding 🕊🐦

Join us on Tuesday the 20th October and spend an evening with Warren Chad & Damon Oliver for a light hearted talk about what’s going on with our feathered friends and discover the role you can play through observation and citizen science to make a difference.

Warren is a regular on ABC Central West radio and an avid contributor to Bird Life Australia, his life’s mission is to photograph and observe as many of the world’s birds as possible which all began as kid with a love of being outdoors and in natures splendour.

Dr Damon Oliver has been involved in research and conservation of woodland birds for 30 years. He especially loves the Superb Parrot and gets a thrill every time he sees or hears them. The best part of his job as a threatened species manager with the NSW Government’s Saving Our Species program is working with the many Landcare groups and landholders who share his love of the environment and sustainable agriculture. The Saving Our Superb Parrot project has been a wonderful example of community and Government working together as a team to help a threatened species in rural NSW.

Book your seat ASAP. You don’t want to miss this fantastic evening.

Expressions of interest now open for the Glossy Black Cockatoo project

Do you live on the Kangarooby Rd./Barryrennie Rd. area around Conimbla National Park? If so, would you like to do some tree planting on your property to help out this beautiful species listed as vulnerable in NSW.

We are seeking expressions of interest with a closing date of Monday 23rd November to undertake tree planting of Allocasuarina diminuta in Autumn 2021.

Click here for the Expression of Interest form.

For more information visit our Glossy Black Cockatoo project summary.

Cowra Archibird photo competition 2020

Bought to you by the Cowra Natural Resource Management Committee and partners.

📷🦅🦜😃 YAY….it’s that time again 😃🦜🦅📷

The 🦉🕊 Archibird Prize 🦉🕊 photography competition is now open for its 2nd year. We hope you have all been busy hanging out with the birds and taking photos, we’re certainly looking forward to seeing what you have captured. Last year’s entries were fantastic. 😍️💖

Entry Details:🦜 Like & follow the Cowra NRM facebook page 👍🦜 Send us your photos via messenger or email to cowra.nrm@outlook.com 📷🦜

10 photos per person per category (there are 3 categories)🦜 Photos must be of wild Australian birds taken within 100kms of Cowra 🦜 Photos entered in last year’s competition will not be accepted🦜

Provide the following details:

* Category your entering * Name & phone number * Caption/title of photo * Location photo was taken

Entries Close Monday 9 November 2020 Goodluck

Terms & Conditions

* Photos of birds held in captivity or restrained in any manner or that have been taken using harmful or unethical practices will NOT be accepted

* Photos of baby birds in nests will also not be excepted due to the risk of causing distress to the birds.

* The committee reserves the right to refuse any entry that does not abide by these rules and does not provide all necessary contact details.

* Entry into the competition signifies acceptance of all conditions. Entrants are required to abide by the Conditions of Entry and Terms and Conditions as presented.

* This Competition is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You are providing your information to the Cowra NRM and not to Facebook. The information you provide will be used for the competition only – your name and the photo caption/title is the only information that will be displayed on Facebook – all personal information will be stored confidentially for the Cowra NRM to contact you in the event you win a prize.

Growing the Grazing Revolution Update

What’s been happening in the last couple of month’s for Growing the Grazing Revolution?

In July we hosted another of our ‘Healthy Horses Healthy Landscapes’ workshops at Cargo with 20 people attending. Dr David Searle shared some great information on equine health. Although the weather was a little challenging all participants were able to take part in a paddock walk to inspect some great horse pasture.

Scott and Peter have been busy holding Grazing Cluster meetings at Bowan Park, Walli, Nyrang Creek, Woodstock and Darby’s Falls. Across the 5 Grazing  meetings we had over 35 attendees. The main topics for discussions were :-

1. Revising the past few years…. What worked, what we would do again and what changes, if any, to improve the next dry time.

2. And Now…. How are things looking after the rains and how are people feeling within themselves.

3. Cover cropping and it’s potential benefits for stock feed, multi species introduction and the important benefits for soil biology.

A Zoom meeting was also held at the Cowra Services Club with Terry McCosker for our peer leaders and the local participants of the training we held in Cowra last September. This was an excellent meeting with discussions on:-

  1. Recovering from Drought, repairing landscape, business and people
  2. Lessons learned from the dry period, What should we take forward for the next dry
  3. Boosting post Drought cash flow and ways to prevent excess debt
  4. Ideas on Event management in our landscapes
  5. Carbon link and government schemes
  6. Strategies for boosting soil biology

We are also happy to report that our event in December 2019 with Charlie Massy was included in the ABC ‘s Australian Story – ‘Breaking new Ground’ on Monday 28th September. It’s a great story and if you check it out you might see some familiar faces. Click here for the link to the show on iview. Just scroll down the page to the ‘Breaking new Ground’ story.

Photo’s below from some of the recent events.