Upcoming Events: July/August

There’s something for everyone! See below link to four upcoming events in July/ August.

Sunday 30 July-  National Tree Day: A great day out for the whole family to celebrate National Tree Day. Click here for more details.

Sunday 6 August-   FREE Pest Animal Control Workshop: Hosted by the Friends of Toorourrong, join as at Toorourrong Reservoir Park to learn more about the impacts and management of feral animals. Click here for more information and details to register.

Tuesday 15 August-   Eden Park Bushfire Mitigation Plan: A Stakeholder Engagement Workshop to help shape the Plan by building upon local knowledge, click here for more information and details on how to register your interest.

Saturday 26 August-   The Annual Agribusiness Dinner. An event not to be missed, click on the below Eventbrite link to purchase your ticket or click here for the flyer.

Eventbrite: Agribusiness Dinner

 

 

It’s Tussock Termination Time!

STplants

The state government is currently running their annual Serrated Tussock compliance program. Approximately 60 properties within the municipality are a part of the program and will shortly receive notices from the regional biosecurity officer. For larger properties with significant infestations, a site inspection followed by control is required to be undertaken by mid-August. For smaller properties, particularly in the residential areas of Whittlesea-township, notices will be sent out in August reminding landowners that it’s time to do their work.

Councils Land Management Team will be assisting the regional biosecurity officer in efforts to engage landowners and to register reports received from community members. Our annual roadside management program for Serrated Tussock will also be undertaken between July and August. If you’d like to report Serrated Tussock you’ve noticed on a property or the roadside, contact Katherine Whittaker on 9217-2147 or Katherine.whittaker@whittlesea.vic.gov.au

 

Farm Chemical Users Course: Register now!

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Want to gain industry standard training in farm chemical use?

The City of Whittlesea is subsidising the cost  for rural residents to update or become accredited farm chemical users. The course and permit usually costs around $250 but is available here, for just $50.

In this two-day course join a network of local rural landowners and learn about:

  • Storage and handling
  • Pest identification
  • Modes of action
  • Label interpretation
  • Issues associated with chemical use
  • Formulation types
  • Weed and pest control application
  • Animal health
  • Transport and disposal
  • Preparation and clean up procedures
  • Recording procedures

By the completion of this course you will have the required Industry Quality Assurance Programs Training, necessary when applying for the Victorian Agriculture Chemical Users Permit (an ACUP is required for users of Schedule 7 and other Restricted Use Chemical Products).

Places are limited, so make sure to register via Eventbrite today!

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/farm-chemical-users-course-17th-24-june-tickets-34946130818

Terms & Conditions: This course is only available to City of Whittlesea residents. Attendees may be asked to provide proof of residency upon entry.

Full catering provided

For more information please contact Katherine Whittaker on (03) 9217 2147 or email Katherine.Whittaker@whittlesea.vic.gov.au

Meet Local Farming Businesses

Open Farm Day is your chance to visit, meet and support local and regional farming businesses.

This year Open Farm Day is bigger than ever with farms from Nillumbik, Whittlesea and the Kinglake Ranges opening their gates to showcase farming on the fringe.

A diverse mix of farms is found in the area including fruit and veggie farms, livestock and animal farms, orchards and vineyards. Choose the farms you want to visit to make your own Open Farm Day trail and experience farm tours, demonstrations, farm animals, product tastings and more.

Date:  Sunday 2 April Time:  10am-4pm Venues: Details to come, call Annemaree Docking on 0407 564 318.

SERRATED TUSSOCK TRAVELLING IN FODDER ACROSS THE STATE

The Victorian Serrated Tussock Working Party (VSTWP) is advising landowners to ensure fodder and hay purchased this summer and autumn is free of noxious weeds and in particular, Serrated Tussock (Nassella trichotoma).

THE VSTWP advises landowners to:

  • purchase stockfeed from reputable outlets and from areas outside of the serrated tussock core infestations around the fringes of northern and western Melbourne
  • feed out hay in designated feed-out areas, where any weed seed germination can be easily monitored
  • undertake machinery / vehicle hygiene practises

See below link to the Media Release from the Victorian Serrated Tussock Working Party (VSTWP).

VSTWP Media Release March 2017

Rabbit Virus Release: What you should know

This week, the release of the new RHDV1 K5 virus will be rolled out at 700 sites across the country. You can find all you need to know about the history, release and monitoring of the virus here, but these are some key summary points:

  • The release of this virus has been a decade in the making and studies have shown no off-target impacts to other fauna species.
  • Both European Rabbits and European Brown Hares are susceptible.
  • The virus is delivered by baiting with individuals displaying flu-like symptoms (temperature and lethargy) within 2-3 days of consumption. Death occurs quickly, between 6 and 12 hours after symptoms are first displayed.
  • While domestic and farmed rabbits are susceptible to this strain, a vaccine is available and owners should make contact with their local vet for more information.
  • Previous studies have shown that a reduction in rabbit numbers can result in a simultaneous reduction in fox and feral cat numbers. Good news for our local native wildlife!

Introducing The Whittlesea Blackberry Action Group

Did you know that we now have our very own local Blackberry Action Group? With the support of the Victorian Blackberry Taskforce, this group will help our community achieve similar successes in Blackberry control to those being had by multiple community Blackberry Action Groups across the state.

Our new Blackberry Action Group will soon be busy putting together an action plan for the target areas in Humevale, Kinglake West and around Toorourrong Reservoir. The project facilitator will then engage property owners in those target areas, working to enlist as many volunteers as possible for the program. At the same time, Council will continue to support Blackberry control on private land through the pest plant education and compliance program. The formation of a Blackberry Action Group has also importantly created opportunities for greater advocacy for Blackberry control on public landholdings in those areas.

If you’d like further information or are interested in joining this exciting new community group, contact Councils Environment Protection Officer on 9217-2147.

It’s Blackberry time!

Now is the perfect time to start controlling blackberries! Blackberries are a serious weed in the City of Whittlesea and every landowner must do their part to eradicate this plant. If you need information on how to control this plant you can download a blackberry factsheet or call Council’s Environment Protection Officer on ph:9217 2323.

Weed Identification Tips: Lobed Needle-grass

Lobed Needle-grass Nassella charruana is a tussock forming spear grass to approximately 1m high. It germinates and actively grows over Autumn and Winter and drops its seed over Summer and Autumn. Locally, LNG starts to drop seed from October onwards. LNG is unpalatable to stock and is often noticeable as dark green tussocks surrounded by short pasture (image 1).

The narrow, in-rolled Leaves of LNG grow from the plant base. The tough leaves feel a bit like nylon and can ‘squeak’ if you squeeze the leaves between thumb and forefinger and pull firmly. The ‘lobed’ seeds (image 2) are 4-10mm long with a bristle-like tail (the awn), which is 45-85mm long.

Like most needle-grasses, LNG readily invades highly disturbed areas, particularly fertile agricultural land (image 3). This species is largely restricted to the Whittlesea municipality and a management program administered by the Council will commence in the coming months. If you know or suspect Lobed Needle-grass is on your property, please contact Councils Land Management Team on 9217-2147 for further advice.

image2
LNG seed with notable ‘lobes’ where the awn (or tail) meets the Corona.
image3
LNG is unpalatable to stock and can be seen as dark green tussock arund which pasture has been grazed
image1
LNG Tussock

Lobed Needle Grass: How you can help

 

Lobed Needle Grass (LNG) is a tussock forming grass that can grow up to 1 metre high. It grows on clay soils and prefers wet depressions but can also be found growing on stony rises. LNG is native to Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil. In the City of Whittlesea it can mainly be found in Epping, Mernda and Donnybrook.

This grass is closely related to the better known weeds such as Serrated Tussock (Nassella trichotoma) and Chilean Needle Grass Nasella neesiana. This is an unpalatable species that has the potential to outcompete its more familiar relatives.

In 1995, Lobed Needle Grass was officially recorded for the first time in Australia from a  specimen found in Thomastown! Even now, 21 years later, 94% of all records from Victoria for Lobed Needle Grass are found within the City of Whittlesea.

Due to the very restricted distribution of Lobed Needle Grass it was declared a State Prohibited Weed under the Conservation and Land Protection (CaLP) Act. This is the highest classification of noxious weeds in Victoria and as such the responsibility for eradicating State Prohibited Weeds falls to the State Government and the Department of Economic Development, Jobs Transport and Resources (DEDJTR).

The City of Whittlesea has recently received correspondence from the Minister for Agriculture that DEDJTR has made the decision that it will no longer be coordinating or funding works on Lobed Needle Grass as it no longer believes that it can be eradicated from the state.

The Minister has further advised that while there is no legal responsibility under the CaLP Act for individual landowners to attempt to control this grass that Council can advise landowners that ‘this is an undesirable plant that may impact on the use of the land and control will help to maintain good relations with neighbours.”

The City of Whittlesea considers Lobed Needle Grass to be a serious threat to agricultural and environmental values and working closely with the State Government to secure funding for Lobed Needle Grass on private property.

What can you do?

If you own a property that was previously part of the State Governments eradication program, Council Officers would like to talk to you. We are trying to assess the current distribution of Lobed Needle Grass within our borders.

If you suspect that you may have Lobed Needle Grass on your property and need help to identify it, feel free to contact the team. There’s also a useful I.D link here. The City of Whittlesea’s Land Management and Biodiversity Team will be preparing a fact sheet and a workshop in time for a Spring control campaign in 2017.