Regenerative Agriculture is a term we are hearing more and more frequently. In the past we have talked about sustaining our landscape. But if the landscape is already degraded, we want to strive for something more. In a nutshell, regenerative agriculture is about that very common goal almost all landholders aspire to; And that is to return their landscape in as good as, or even better condition than when they started.

Charles Massy, a Monaro sheep grazier, believes he was reading his landscape wrong. He was benchmarking his property against traditional agricultural systems that involved high inputs to deliver high returns. Charles now measures his success by animal health, species diversity, profitability and human health. He focuses on improving the nutrient and water cycling on his property, which helps restore the health and production of his landscape.

And Charles is not alone. In his recently published book, Call of the Reed Warbler, Charles has travelled throughout Australia to interview and case study landholders sharing the same values. “The key message I’m presenting is that from healthy landscapes comes healthy profits, people and planet.” Charles explained at a recent Climate Conversation Landcare event at Yass, with over 200 people attending.

With all of NSW now drought declared, and dry conditions set to continue with ongoing climate variability, healthy and resilient landscapes are critical. Charles feels “there is room for a lot of hope and excitement” and that regenerative agriculture is the key to successful agricultural businesses. Focusing on the health of our landscape, health of our people and ongoing profitability we can farm our country and restore its resilience and balance.

Charles still manages the family’s grazing property in NSW while teaching at universities and consulting in the fields of Merino breeding and landscape design. He has chaired and served as a director on a number of national and international review panels and boards of business, research organisations and statutory wool bodies, involving garment manufacture, wool marketing, R&D, molecular genetics and genomics. Charles completed a PhD in Human Ecology (ANU) in 2012 and is also the author of Breaking the Sheep’s Back, providing insights into Merino sheep history and the political destruction of the Australian wool industry.

The Upper Lachlan Landcare Grazing Group encourages and supports more regenerative practices by local graziers and is pleased to have secured Charles Massy to speak at Grabben Gullen Hall on Thursday 6th September. Tickets are $10 for Landcare members and $15 for non-members. All are welcome. For more information, or to RSVP please contact P: 0447 242 474 or E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sunday, 11 February 2018 14:37

Valuable Local Resident!

Did you know we have an endangered native fish, critical in the big fish eat little fish cycle of our Australian river systems, living right on our doorstep?
There is a population of Southern Pygmy Perch living in the Gunning District, one of only 3 known remaining populations in NSW.
Southern Pygmy Perch once inhabited waterways far and wide throughout NSW, including the Lachlan, Murrumbidgee and Murray river systems. They were once so plentiful people would catch them in large numbers and use them as bait fish.

Whilst small, their ongoing survival is important for the survival of many other fish species. Not to mention any loss in biodiversity across our landscape leaves us all the poorer.
Why the Southern Pygmy Perch has managed to hang on in Gunning isn’t entirely clear. They live amongst the aquatic vegetation growing in creeks, dams, billabongs and wetlands. And they have a particular skill for surviving in more stagnant water bodies such as dams and wetlands.

The main threats to Southern Pygmy Perch survival is loss of habitat. Seen as loss of riparian and aquatic vegetation, as well as wetland drainage and regulation. Predation is also a major threat and the main culprit in the Gunning area is the introduced red fin. These aggressive fish compete with Southern Pygmy Perch for habitat but are also known to eat Southern Pygmy Perch.
The long, scruffy grass growing along your creeks and around the edges of your dam may look far from manicured, but to Southern Pygmy Perch this is home sweet home! They need vegetation to shelter in, hunt, regulate water temperature and breed.

Gunning District Landcare now has a Recovery Action Plan in place and are working towards it’s recommendations. Hopefully this means we may even start to see these small fish inhabiting waterways more broadly across our Shire – keep an eye out!

For more information contact; Ruth Aveyard 0447 242 474 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Friday, 03 November 2017 21:52

Ground Cover Mantra

Recent weed and grazing management workshops Landcare have hosted in Upper Lachlan have all come back to one common theme – Ground Cover!

Many complex systems operate across our landscape. Nutrient and water cycling. Pasture and stock management. Native birds, reptiles and insects. Shelter belts and paddock trees. Anyone on the land would agree, you never stop learning.

But one simple rule seems to transcend and benefit all – maintain ground cover!

Weed seeds would, no doubt, be widely distributed across our landscape, but with no bare ground they are given no opportunity to germinate. Pastures will respond far quicker to favourable growing conditions if sufficient root and leaf remain. Water moves across the landscape much slower when it has to make its way through plant matter. This means more will soak deep down into your soil profile. Often I have heard farmers happily explain they received big falls of rain but very little has run into their dams.

Maintaining ground cover means organic matter has an opportunity to build up. Organic matter feeds the enormous range of micro fauna, fungi and bacteria living in the soil. All this biological life in the soil help cycle nutrients from an unavailable to an available state for plants to use. They aerate the soil, reduce compaction and improve structure.

The stock you run will be more robust because they graze on a wider variety of more nutritious plants. And they will have access to better feed sooner, when growing conditions become favourable. Many of the landscapes complex systems will function as they should, and all you have to do is maintain ground cover!

For more information contact; Ruth Aveyard 0447 242 474 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Saturday, 30 September 2017 18:07

Fit Farmer Support

So often it is not until crisis strikes that any of us seek help. Often working in isolation, and wanting to appear resilient and robust, regardless of the situation, we are reluctant to seek help and support.  Living in a rural community means available support services can be limited. The other issue is it can be hard to know what all these support services offer.

Upper Lachlan Landcare wanted to deliver a day with the community to inform people about what support services are available locally. Not only did we want to let people know where to turn when crisis strikes, but also what to do long before. We wanted people to take a break and check in with themselves. Ask themselves; Am I taking enough time out of my busy life for fun, relaxation, fitness? Am I giving myself every opportunity to be the best that I can be?

People attending our Fit Farmer Workshop on Friday had the opportunity to see and hear a wealth of information all in one space. Support services themselves even commented that it was so helpful for them to find out about other agencies and the support they offer. Some people went away simply with an extra spring in their step, while others felt a deeper response. Either way, feedback from the day was all very positive and worthwhile. We are now looking forward to planning next years!


Wednesday, 30 August 2017 15:08

Limerick School Tree Planting

Same place. Same time of year. Same person. Just 80 years later.

Students of Limerick School, planted a row of Tasmania Blue Gums (provenance bicostata) leading from the Peelwood Road up towards the schoolhouse. This was in 1937.

“The teacher must have been pretty on the ball to have us kids planting these trees when many trees in the area were being ringbarked and cleared”, recalls Eric Hurn.

Eric Hurn and Olive Treacy, were allocated the task of nurturing one of these trees which is still standing proud today, 80 years later. Those “occasional buckets of water” Eric described must have done the trick!

This clearly inspired something in Eric. He went on to plant thousands of trees on his grazing and potato growing property near Roslyn. In conjunction with Roslyn Landcare and Local Land Services, Eric also hosts a planting day each year with local primary school students on the Broken Bridge Traveling Stock Reserve. Continuing the legacy started back at the Limerick School.

Clearing was conducted throughout the Upper Lachlan Shire, as was the case in many parts of Australia. The remanent stands of original forest and woodland we see today are invariably on the poorer, or lighter country, like hilltops. These areas were last to be considered when clearing, and fortunately many were never cleared. These areas now provide valuable refuge for many woodland birds, reptiles and mammals, like the spikey echidna.

“These days people see all the trees we plant and think how much better the countryside looks. Which is true, but they don’t know how much is missing.” Observes Eric. “We had the clearest creeks and freshest air, plenty of bird life, and this was all down to the trees.”

So, by the sounds of things, we still have a long way to go to restore a better balance between open paddocks and woodlands.

Eric will celebrate his 90th birthday in a few days. We wish you a very happy birthday Eric and are truly grateful to have such a visionary in our community.

Thursday, 25 May 2017 11:05

More than Just Erosion Control

Upper Lachlan Landcare has been fortunate to have yet another expert in our midst! Cam Wilson from Earth Integral, has recently hosted 2 workshops. Cam’s workshops explain how water moves through the landscape, the erosion process and demonstrates how to stabilise small active erosion cuts.

Sunday, 14 May 2017 21:53

Managing the Riparian Area

The Riparian area is the space between the stream, river, watercourse and the land. A healthy, functioning riparian area contains dense ground cover and a variety of plant species.

The benefits of a healthy riparian area include improved water quality, reduced erosion, increased wildlife habitat for native birds, insects and reptiles, and increased shade and shelter options for stock management. Ideally the riparian area should be a least 25m wide.

Thursday, 16 March 2017 21:37

Colin Seis is coming to Upper Lachlan

We are very excited to welcome Colin Seis to the Upper Lachlan Shire. In January 2015, The Weekly Times, wrote an article titled “Six of the world’s influential farming trailblazers share success secrets”. Colin Seis was one of those 6 trailblazers.

In 2005 Colin won the NSW Conservation Farmer of the year award and in 2007 he won the inaugural “Carbon farmer of the year award” in NSW. He was the recipient of the 2014 Bob Hawke award for Landcare.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017 15:56

Paddock Trees

Paddock trees are those ancient trees branching out over the paddock providing shade on hot sunny days. Often they can be hundreds of years old. Not only do they provide shade for stock, but also a home for a variety of creatures such as birds, lizards, bats and gliders. These creatures can have a significant impact on devouring insect pests. Studies have also shown that improved water infiltration and nutrient cycling occurs in paddocks with a scattering of trees.

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