A spinning spider’s good side

A healthy spider community means a healthy, biodiverse ecosystem.

How do you measure the health of something as diverse and complex as an entire ecosystem?

Ecologists use top-level, or apex, predators as an indirect measure of the biodiversity and functionality of the entire system.

The reasoning is that if those at the top of the food chain are healthy, diverse and resilient then that must also be the case for each link in the chain – other predators, herbivores, plants and algae, insects, soil microbes etc.

But did you know that you can apply the same principles on your own farm?

Spiders can act as indicators of ecosystem health and habitat quality. They play a critical role in agricultural pest management and you are never more than about one metre from a spider as they go about their business of consuming insects and other creepy crawlies. Having a healthy spider community on your farm means you have a healthy, biodiverse ecosystem.

As part of a research project on landholder collaboration for landscape-scale conservation and sustainable production lead by the University of Sydney and University of New South Wales, Watershed Landcare will be hosting a spider monitoring workshop in Mudgee.

We are very lucky to have a special guest speaker coming to the event. Dr Mary Whitehouse is a CSIRO scientist who has spent many years researching spider biodiversity particularly in crops.

Mary will be happy to identify spiders if anyone wishes to bring some along in a glass jar.

We will look at a cost-effective and easy-to-use method of monitoring spiders by using spiders’ webs as a substitute (the Web2Spider guide and supplementary material provided by the Australian Museum).

This workshop will cover:

  • How to identify and monitor spiders on your property
  • How spiders respond to good land management
  • Why working together on spider monitoring is beneficial
  • How to upload the information onto an online collaborative tool
  • How to use this data to make more informed land management decisions

The Mudgee Spider Monitoring workshop will be held on Tuesday Tuesday 8 August, 5:30-8pm in the Burrundulla Room, Mudgee Golf Club.
All welcome. The workshop is free to attend and dinner is included.

Please RSVP for catering purposes by Monday 31 July to Agness Knapik, Watershed Landcare Coordinator, on 0435 055 493 or info@watershedlandcare.com.au.

This event is supported by the University of Sydney, University of New South Wales and Watershed Landcare and is a part of the Landholder Collaboration Project funded by the NSW Environmental Trust.

More information on the project is available here.

Need help managing serrated tussock?

Watershed Landcare are launching a new project to help landholders manage serrated tussock on their properties.

The project, funded by the Central Tablelands LLS through funding from NSW Catchment Action and the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme, will deliver a broad range of activities catering to landholders with different experience levels in dealing with serrated tussock.

Serrated tussock

“Building on interest in serrated tussock management in recent months, we have received funds from Central Tablelands LLS to help landholders develop management plans that take in a range of factors that are critical to managing serrated tussock.” said Claudia Wythes, Watershed Landcare Co-ordinator.

“Things like grazing management, pasture species, control options and the scale of the problem all need to be considered.” she continued.

The project will utilise mentoring and support to develop a whole of farm approach to serrated tussock management, rather than focussing on individual control methods or strategies.

Participating landholders will have the opportunity to develop a serrated tussock management plan, tailored to their property, as well as some funding to assist in implementing some of the identified actions.

“A number of workshops will be held over the coming months including identification and grazing management. For those landholders who have been managing serrated tussock for some time, we are keen to trial alternative ideas you may have as well as give you support as it can be a tough battle to fight on your own.” said Ms Wythes.

Want to get involved? Whether you are actively managing serrated tussock on your property, just spotted a few isolated plants or would like some help with identification, we want to hear from you.

For further information or to register your interest contact Claudia Wythes, Watershed Landcare Coordinator, on 0412 011 064 or claudiawythes@watershedlandcare.com.au.

This project is supported by Watershed Landcare through funding from the Central Tablelands LLS from NSW Catchment Action and the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme and is a part of the NSW Government’s Local Landcare Coordinators Initiative, supported through the partnership of Local Land Services and Landcare NSW.

Locally grown, native tubestock for sale

We have some leftover tubestock from the Field Days, $2.50 each:

41 Acacia baileyana

10 Acacia buxifolia

3 Acacia dealbata

53 Acacia brownii

42 Acacia decora

5 Acacia falcata

34 Acacia fimbriata dwarf

25 Acacia Implexa

12 Acacia iteaphylla

34 Acacia spectablis

33 Acacia vestita

31 Angophora floribunda

71 Callistemon linearis

26 Casuarina cunninghamiana

56 Dodonea viscosa

74 Eucalyptus albens

32 Eucalyptus blakelyi

21 Eucalyptus camaldulensis

50 Eucalyptus dealbata

22 Eucalyptus meliodora

155 Eucalyptus sideroxylon

33 Eucalyptus stellulata

9 Grevillea lanigera

17 Grevillea “Scarlet Sprite”

11 Hakea salicifolia

4 Hakea sericea

44 Hardenbergia violacea

45 Slender bamboo grass

26White cedar

12 White correa

 

Stellar farm field day line up

The Mudgee Small Farm Field Days are celebrating their 40th anniversary this year and Watershed Landcare will be there to celebrate with a full program of displays, workshops and lectures.

From livestock handling to backyard beekeeping, there’s something of interest for everyone at Watershed Landcare’s lecture series.

Bruce Maynard, Stress Free Stockmanship, will show you how stockmanship skills can change animal behaviour to aid in weed management and grazing management and how you, and the animals, can have less stress.

Organic, seasonal or local; what is the best way to shop and eat sustainably? Agro-ecologist David Hardwick will de-mystify the modern food system and show how your choices impact on the environment, farmers and your health.

Find out how you can not only run a productive farm but regenerate soils, repair riparian systems and erosion by working with nature’s designs. Adon Bender, Hazelcombe Farm, will cover water-harvesting methodology, minimal and controlled disturbance soil management for perennial, annual and animal systems, soil-food-web-structures and how all these factors interrelate and influence one another.

Author and self-proclaimed ‘beevangelist’, Doug Purdie will be back to show you how keeping bees on a small scale is easy, rewarding and helps the environment by providing pollination and as a bonus you get your own honey! Doug will walk through the types of hive, the basic equipment and the do’s and dont’s of backyard beekeeping.

There will also be talks on free range pig keeping and solar passive design and building with natural materials.

Visit our website for the full program: http://watershedlandcare.com.au/events.

Watershed Landcare will have a selection of locally grown, native tube stock for sale at the Mudgee Small Farm Field Days this weekend.

We will also have plenty of information and displays at the Waterwise Garden demonstration site (L9), drop by and find out what we do, how to get involved in our projects and become a member.

We’ll be running workshops to help you identify serrated tussock from the innocent, native bystanders and teach you how to build your own bee motel.

You can bring along any mystery plants you have growing in your paddock or bushland for identification, see our display of hardy, salt and drought tolerant plants for the Mudgee district, and we will have a selection of locally grown, native tube stock for sale.

These events are supported by Watershed Landcare and are a part of the NSW Government’s Local Landcare Coordinators Initiative, supported through the partnership of Local Land Services and Landcare NSW.

Pig out on good information

Ever wanted to have a free range pig or two running around the farm or even taking the next step into full scale pig production?

Watershed Landcare have invited Frank Power and Danielle Littlewood of Power Pork to be a part of our Mudgee Small Farm Field Days lecture series this year.

Frank and Danielle run a pig operation on their Wellington farm, ‘Glenmore’, raising grass fed animals using environmentally sustainable, ethical and low stress methods.

In 2015 they started Power Pork; supplying free range pork, which is processed through a local abattoir and local butcher, direct to customers in the local area and beyond.

To produce a tasty product in an ethical and environmentally responsible fashion the Power Pork menagerie of 20 sows and 2 boars spend 100% of their time in the paddock with a carefully managed grazing regime.

“We love having pigs around. They are just like big cuddly teddy bears. We even have a couple that will come running up to us for a belly scratch” said Danielle.

“Pigs get a bad rap because they are such environmental vandals. I firmly believe that with the right management, you can harness their power for good instead of evil!” she continued.

Frank and Danielle will give an overview of the pigs they run, their management methods and how they get them from the paddock to the plate.

The ‘For the love of pigs and good bacon’ lecture will be on at 1:30pm on Friday 14 and 10am Saturday 15 July in the Straw Bale Lecture Room (L8), Australian Rural Education Centre (AREC).

Watershed Landcare will also have plenty of information and displays at the Waterwise Garden demonstration site (L9), drop by and find out what we do, how to get involved in our projects and become a member.

Come along and see our display of hardy, drought tolerant plants for the Mudgee district, have a chat with members of the Mudgee Bee Group and check out their display hives or join in on one of our workshops on serrated tussock ID or build your own bee motel.

You can bring along any mystery plants you have growing in your paddock or bushland for identification and we will have a selection of locally grown, native tube stock for sale.

These events are supported by Watershed Landcare and are a part of the NSW Government’s Local Landcare Coordinators Initiative, supported through the partnership of Local Land Services and Landcare NSW.