Landcare celebrates milestone

November 19 marks an important milestone – Watershed Landcare turns 20!

That’s quite an achievement considering that the Landcare movement in Australia is only 25 years old.

Watershed Landcare spoke to Sam Hamilton who was involved from the outset and did a stint as Chairman of the then fledgling organisation.

“Back then Landcare in our region consisted of a whole lot of small groups with set boundaries, acting independently and focused on their own needs.” said Mr Hamilton.

“As specific programs concluded and some of the smaller groups waned, representatives from the different groups came together to form a steering committee and over time individuals became members.”

“Eventually it developed into Watershed Landcare as we know it today.” he continued.

Watershed Landcare now has a footprint of around 900,000 ha, approximately the Mid-Western Regional Council area, and has run countless events and projects over the last 20 years focusing on raising awareness of environmental issues and promoting and supporting innovation in sustainable agricultural practices.

Although no longer involved in committee, Mr Hamilton is an active member of the Grazing group and has participated in a number of projects on his Lue property.

So what makes Watershed Landcare relevant to landholders 20 years on?

“Landcare is not an event or a project, it’s a movement.” Said Mr Hamilton.

“By promoting innovation and bringing sustainability into agricultural production, getting people to do business in a sustainable and viable fashion, it creates not just something that will be around in 100 years time but be profitable today.” he continued.

Watershed Landcare would like to invite our members and the community to help us celebrate this significant achievement.

We will be holding our AGM followed by a BBQ dinner at 6pm on Friday 25 November at the Straw Bale Shed, Australian Rural Education Centre.

Come along for a fun and relaxing social evening with other Watershed members.

This event is free to attend but please RSVP for catering purposes by Monday 20 November.

For more information or to RSVP contact Claudia Wythes, Watershed Landcare Coordinator, on 0412 011 064 or claudia.wythes@watershedlandcare.com.au.

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Innovative cropping techniques

Watershed Landcare will be hosting a workshop on Multi Species Pasture Cropping with Colin Seis, pioneer of this innovative cropping technique which was developed right here in the Central Tablelands.

The concept developed over a beer when Mr Seis, together with Daryl Cluff, started exploring the idea of ‘fast tracking’ improvement in degraded soil and grassland while producing crops for human consumption and/or stock feed.

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Don’t put your land out to pasture

As the old adage goes, there’s more than one way to skin a cat and, likewise, there’s more than one way to improve and maintain the condition and productivity of pastures.

Watershed Landcare have a couple of events coming up that will address various aspects of pasture management.

The first of these will focus on pasture establishment and management and will feature Agricultural Consultant and Journalist, Robert Freebairn.

The field day will be held on Thursday 3 November at ‘Maidavale’, 978 Castlereagh Highway, 10 km north of Gulgong.

The field day is being held as part of the Digging Deeper into Watershed Soils project and discussion topics will include ground cover, various pasture types, the logic for each, establishment, management, soil quality and other relevant aspects.

Native pastures will be included as well as the role of tropical, annual legumes, Lucerne and winter forage crops. The hosts have also asked Mr. Freebairn to address how to best manage competition from other species when establishing pasture in their situation.

Participants will have plenty of opportunity for discussion and to ask questions during the paddock walk and Mr. Freebairn’s presentation.

Watershed Landcare have invited local landholder and inventor of Pasture Cropping, Colin Seis, to run a workshop on this innovative technique.

Unlike conventional techniques where crops are sown into bare soil or stubble, Pasture Cropping allows sowing directly into a dormant pasture.

This produces an annual crop, either for grazing or harvest, with multiple added benefits to soil health. By avoiding the need to kill the competitive pasture, soil structure, biological health, nutrient cycling and water retention are not only maintained but improved and there is a reduction in wind and water erosion and cost.

Utilising multiple species in a pasture crop also has the added advantage of minimising risk, if conditions are not ideal for one of the crops.

This workshop will be an introduction into pasture cropping, looking at principles, practical implementation and the benefits of pasture cropping with multiple species.

The Multi-Species Pasture Cropping Workshop will be held on Monday, 14 November 1-4:30pm.

These events are free to attend for Watershed Landcare members and $10 for non-members.

For more information or to RSVP contact Claudia Wythes, Watershed Landcare Co-ordinator, on 0412 011 064 or by email: claudia.wythes@watershedlandcare.com.au.

These events are supported by Watershed Landcare through funding from Landcare Australia, the Jaramas Foundation and Central Tabllands Local Land Services and are a part of the NSW Government’s Local Landcare Coordinators Initiative, supported through the partnership of Local Land Services and Landcare NSW.

Want to improve the health of your soils?

Healthy soils are the foundation for healthy pastures and, in turn, healthy livestock. But how can you improve the health of your soils?

Landholders in our region will have the opportunity to explore soil health through a series of workshops and hands-on projects.

As part of the ‘Digging Deeper into Watershed Soils’ project, Watershed Landcare are looking for 3 sites in our region to host workshops and conduct on-ground works on their properties focusing on soil health.

The project, which is made possible through funding from Landcare Australia and the Jaramas Foundation, aims to improve landholders knowledge of aspects that influence their soil; including soil chemistry, biology, hydrology, botany as well as local knowledge.

A series of workshops will be held across our region linking with the on-ground activity sites. The workshops will explore soil health further with a focus on:

  • soil health issues within our region;
  • soil biology, soil water and soil acidity;
  • adapting management decisions as a result of understanding the landscape; and
  • improving soil health.

The first workshop in the series, focusing on pasture establishment and management, will feature Robert Freebairn and will be held later this month.

The remaining workshops will be tailored to the individual project sites, giving the participating landholders an opportunity to work with the experts engaged to discuss their proposed on-ground works, determine the best management options and address the issues at the project site.

Participating landholders will also receive a free soil test.

Watershed Landcare is seeking expressions of interest (EOI) from interested landholders to host workshops on their property and receive funding to assist with on-ground works to improve soil health on the land they manage.

On-ground works eligible for funding include erosion control work, works to improve hydrology, compost or compost tea applications, pasture cropping, increasing nitrogen-fixing plant composition of pasture or any other innovative and creative ideas that meet the project objectives.

Individual landholders will be able to apply for up to $750 in funding and will be required to provide a 25% in-kind contribution (labour or materials) to the project.

For further information contact our Coordinator, Claudia Wythes, during business hours on 0412 011 064 or email: claudia.wythes@watershedlandcare.com.au.

This project is supported by Watershed Landcare through funding from Landcare Australia and the Jaramas Foundation and is part of the NSW Government’s Local Landcare Coordinators Initiative, supported through the partnership of Local Land Services and Landcare NSW.

Public forum for changing landscapes

Futurelands2 is a public forum will explore our changing relationship to land. The forum will gather farmers, artists, custodians and scholars to lead this essential discussion, and invites visitors to engage in novel ways with the region’s natural and farming environments

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Buzzing to be involved with bees

Interested in knowing more about bees and maybe keeping your own hive?

The newly formed Mudgee Bee Group is inviting any aspiring apiarists to come along to their next meeting on Tuesday 6 September.

Following a two day beekeeping course hosted by Watershed Landcare and delivered by Tocal College in April a number of Watershed members and graduates of the course identified a need for more ‘bee learning’.

The Mudgee Bee Group formed as a Watershed Landcare special interest group to provide more training, peer support and mentoring to it’s members.

The group currently meets on the first Tuesday evening of the month at the Straw Bale Shed, Australian Rural Education Centre (AREC).

The August meeting featured a couple of expert speakers; Sheryl McIntosh from the Amateur Beekeepers Association (ABA) of NSW and Atif Jamil from Hornsby Beekeeping Supplies.

Sheryl is the ABA Treasurer and keeps 30-40 hives on her Capertee property. She shared her knowledge on managing a hive over a calendar year with the group.

Atif’s presentation focused on equipment for a new beekeeper and the different hive varieties.

The group will be keeping community bee hives to provide novice beekeepers with an opportunity to gain experience in handling bees and is currently in the process of setting these up. The hives have been donated to the group and will provide the group with hands-on experience in starting and maintaining a hive.

Members will also see the process through to completion; extracting their own liquid gold. Obtaining all the equipment necessary for extracting honey can be expensive for someone just starting out so the group will have a pool of equipment available for members’ use.

Want to get involved? Then why not come along to the Tuesday 6 September meeting where the Mudgee Bee Group have invited speakers Hayley Pragert, Bee Biosecurity Officer from the Department of Primary Industries and Doug Purdie from the Urban Beehive Sydney. Doug will also be bringing along products available to purchase.

Contact Claudia Wythes, Watershed Landcare Co-ordinator, on 0412 011 064 or by email: claudia.wythes@watershedlandcare.com.au for more information or to RSVP.

The Mudgee Bee Group is supported by Watershed Landcare and is part of the NSW Government’s Local Landcare Coordinators Initiative, supported through the partnership of Local Land Services and Landcare NSW.