Don’t Miss Out: Get your Tickets today

This Saturday 25 November: Weed Control Networking Day

Hosted by the cities of Hume and Whittlesea and Mitchell Shire Council, the line-up includes presentations from:

  • Victorian Serrated Tussock Working Party
  • Victorian Gorse Taskforce
  • Dabyminga Blackberry Taskforce
  • Tim Bloomfield: Pest Plant and Pest Animal Interactions
  • Pat Connor: Weed Seed Spread and Precautions (including a vehicle hygiene demonstration over lunch)
  • Whittlesea and Surrounds Blackberry Action Group
  • Melbourne Water on Landholder Assistance Programs

The event will be facilitated by Terry Hubbard of the Strath Creek Landcare Group, Upper Goulburn, Victorian and National Landcare Networks and 2017 recipient of the Joan Kirner Landcare Award.

There’ll be a FREE sausage sizzle of gourmet Aroona sausages (100% grass-fed, preservative free beef) cooked by the Wandong Heathcote Junction Community Group.

So don’t miss out! Grab your ticket today using the following link:

www.weedday.eventbrite.com.au

 

‘Checking Biodiversity Matters’

We’d like to thank Mark for sending in this inspiring account of trials and tribulations of land management over nearly two decades in Beveridge..

“After building our house approximately 17 years ago we finally moved to our piece of paradise in East Beveridge hills on 21 Acres of mainly cleared land with north & east facing slopes 400m up in the winds….

We set about organizing the areas around the house &  fencing off areas in the paddock, got some cattle to hopefully keep the pastures in check & help pay the rates. It seemed like it should work even though we both had “real” day jobs…..

10 years later of drought, depleting pastures (to almost looking like desert in summer), trees falling over, growing kangaroo populations, the day jobs taking all our time (including travel ling away)  we realized if we wanted to live by the motto of “leave the land better than when you found it” we had to do something a lot better. We got rid of the cattle to start with.

Approximately 6 years ago we set about communicating with the council & learning their thoughts on what best to do to get the land repaired & back on track & perhaps even establish some agribusiness eventually. One step at a time & first things first.

We attended various landcare & council workshops/field days & applied for the EWG (Environmental Works Grant) to help revegetate remnant areas to provide flora & fauna pathways & shelterbelts also to connect gullies from neighbouring properties & repair the entire property.

We know it’s been proven building biodiversity helps the whole property to recover & build health again. We have planted around 2000 plants, fenced areas off revegetation to discourage kangaroos camping & encourage other flora fauna etc, repaired erosion & pastures.

EasternGrey
Eastern Grey Kangaroo

After the daily mob of 100 kangaroos or so got used to things & stopped killing every plant we put in we saw some progress & noticed an increase in small lizards & birdlife numbers. Then we saw more echidnas & unfortunately wombats. We hadn’t seen jacky lizards for years especially after back Saturday & suddenly one day there was 3 of them sitting on the old fallen tree amongst our reveg area.

All of this got us interested on how we can measure the new growth in total biodiversity. We needed to benchmark from this point & monitor how things are going to see we are on the right track. After many a discussion with the council sustainability guys, other landholders & spotting the odd phascogale & sugar gliders we agreed for council to install their cameras for a couple of weeks to see what we could find. Much to everyone’s delight phascogales were photographed proving the new environment is supporting rare species & helping grow the balance needed for all to succeed.

Glider
Sugar Glider

We have monitored reveg areas growth with drone camera & are now monitoring areas with our own wildlife camera & it’s opened our eyes to exactly how much more wildlife other than wombats & kangaroos are around. We knew they were there but how many?

We have seen significant growth in both vegetation & wildlife mainly in the past 2-3 years after areas finally got established & have also seen pastures next to these areas improve as well with no application of lime or chemicals yet. We have discovered more critters are out there than we imagined & will now continue to monitor all areas of interest including installing nesting boxes (also available through EWG) for the phascogales & gliders, bats etc.

Thanks to the councils team who have been inspiring & encouraging all the way during this time.

The pests are still about…”

Fox
European Fox

All photos courtesy of M. Traynor

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!

P1210521

 

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

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

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