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Issue 27 - 11 March 2021
Message from RALF

Hi everyone,

The first two episodes of the second
'Big Shift for Small Farms' podcast series are providing popular, already attracting more than 1200 listens adding to the 11,300 listens of the first series. This month, we are featuring episodes on Managing livestock and Farm branding to build customer connections.

Also in this edition: register now for
 'Dishing out the Dirt', our interactive workshop series on understanding soils, with the first one on Monday 15 March at Camden; Woolworths Junior Landcare and Gallagher electric fencing grants are now open; manage Serpentine leafminer using IPM; and view the exciting new documentary trailer on RegenAg, 'It is less about the ag product, it is all about the soil.'

Also, keep an eye on your inbox for an invitation to complete a short survey to help us better understand your issues and challenges as a small farmer in the Sydney basin. This will help inform how the Sydney Small Farms Network can best support you.

If you know someone who might be interested in joining the Greater Sydney Small Farms network, they can register HERE. To view previous newsletters, click HERE. To provide ideas on how the Greater Sydney Small Farms network can help you, please email or phone me on 0436 803 337

Richard Stephens
Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator (RALF) 
The Big Shift for Small Farms Podcast - Series II

Managing livestock holistically: In Australia we have a lot of introduced livestock species including cows, pigs, sheep and chooks. This episode explores how to care for your livestock while also preserving your land and the natural environment. We’ll hear from a grazing management consultant about why looking after your landscape could save you big bucks and improve not only your livestock’s health but your own wellbeing too.

Farm branding to build connection: More and more consumers want to buy why you farm as much as what you produce. In this episode we’re looking at the power of your story. We’ll talk to farmers about their journey from small business to becoming a brand and we’ll hear about a platform that’s been built to help farmers not only sell their products but promote their farming practices.
Soil Carbon Farming

As a major part of its response to the changing climate, the Australian Government is backing soil carbon farming.

Drawing carbon from the atmosphere and storing it in the land is one of the five technology based priorities identified by the Australian Government. Agriculture minister, David Littleproud, has flagged that farmers should expect more support for soil carbon and other carbon farming projects in the May budget. 

Farmers can now better understand the opportunities from carbon farming activities using a farming tool developed by CSIRO. The LOOC-C (‘Look See’) app gives farmers detailed assessments of how their land and farming practices could be eligible for rebates under the Climate Solutions Fund (CSF). It includes soil carbon measurements and gives abatement estimates for CSF methods in Australian Carbon Credit Units. Click HERE.

Learn about soil carbon, how to improve it, how to set up a soil carbon project and be paid to increase soil carbon on your property at our Soil Carbon Field Day, Friday 23 April 2021 (Note the new date!). To be held at the Local Land Services Demonstration Farm, 40 Edwards Road, Richmond Lowlands, more details in the next newsletter, or email Madeleine.Florin@lls.nsw.gov.au
The 'coronavirus of agriculture'
Food prices may rise as a result of fall armyworm, which has been described as the "coronavirus of agriculture" continues its relentless march across the country. It has been a year since fall armyworm was first detected  in Far North Queensland. The hungry caterpillar has now spread throughout Queensland, Northern Territory, Western Australia, New South Wales and Victoria. Click HERE.
Australia's mean summer temperature was still above average
While Australia recorded its wettest summer in half a decade, and its coolest in nine years, the mean summer temperature was still slightly above average. La Niña stopped an eight-year climate change induced hot streak with rainfall across the country 29 per cent above the long-term average. On average, it was 1.8 degrees colder this summer compared to last summer. Click HERE. 
Greater Sydney Regional Landcare Awards
The 2021 Greater Sydney Regional Landcare Award nominations close on 15 March 2021. There are several categories, including farming, which is open to primary producers, Landcare and farming groups to acknowledge excellence and leadership in sustainable land management on a farm or farms. Winners will be announced at the Greater Sydney Landcare and Bushcare Forum on 21 May 2021. Click HERE. 
Draft NSW water strategy out for comment
The NSW Government is developing a 20-year NSW Water Strategy to improve resilience of the state’s water resources over the coming decades. The strategy aims to address key challenges and opportunities for water management and service delivery across the state. The draft NSW Water Strategy will be on public exhibition until  28 March 2021. You can have your say, click HERE for more information. Also, an information webinar is planned for 10am on 15 March, click HERE to register. 
Swill feeding is illegal
Swill feeding is the traditional name for feeding food scraps to pigs. This practice has caused foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks overseas. Some food substances such as meat or other mammalian by-products have been categorised as prohibited pig feed ('swill') and it is illegal to feed them to pigs in Australia. For more information call the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline 1800 675 888 or click HERE.  
Dishing out the Dirt
Come along and get your hands dirty at a series of interactive workshops exploring the importance of soil and how it can be maintained and nurtured for optimal sustainability and productivity. These three hour workshops start at 10am will be held on Monday 15 March at Camden, Thursday 18 March at Richmond and Thursday 25 March at Dooralong on the Central Coast. Registration is free but places are limited due to COVID. Click HERE.
Soil Regen Summit 2021
Join some of the world’s most knowledgeable experts in Regenerative Agriculture in this free, virtual, 4-day event on 15-18 March 2021. If you’re a farmer or someone with a passion for the planet, then this event is for you! Covering a diversity of subjects like holistic grazing, agroforestry, soil biology, market gardening, mycology, carbon sequestration, human health, ecology and much more! Click
Ingigenous Agriculture webinar series
The first in a new webinar series showcasing the many aspects of Australian Indigenous agriculture. Held online every third Wednesday monthly between February to November 2021. In this webinar, speakers will improve our understanding and awareness, share knowledge of many aspects of Australian Indigenous agriculture and help increase connections to culture and Country. Cost is $15 per webinar or $89 for the series, or free for Ag Institute members. Click HERE.
Soil Carbon Field Day
Learn about soil carbon, how to improve it, how to set up a soil carbon project and be paid to increase soil carbon on your property. 
When: Friday 23 April 2021 - NOTE THE NEW DATE!
Where: Local Land Services Demonstration Farm, 40 Edwards Road, Richmond Lowlands.
More details and a registration link will be in the next newsletter, or email Madeleine.Florin@lls.nsw.gov.au

Taste the Hawkesbury
Harvest Trails and Markets is hosting a massive tent over 3 days and they want to fill it with the best food and drink that the Hawkesbury has to offer! Given that the show attracts tens of thousands of people, this is a unique opportunity to expose your goods to a huge audience!
Email your expression of interest TODAY to info@hawkesburyharvest.com.au and join us for 'Taste The Hawkesbury' at the Hawkesbury Show 23-24 April.
Renewables in Agriculture conference 
Opportunities for renewables in farming will be explored on 19 May 2021 in Dubbo, NSW. Farmers, experts, business and energy consultants will gather to share knowledge and understand biomass, bioenergy, hydrogen, energy storage, solar irrigation, financing renewables, hosting solar or wind farms and electric utes. Ticket prices start at $175 (includes a free haircut from a hydrogen powered barber shop!). Click HERE.     
Greater Sydney Bushcare & Landcare Forum 
The 2021 Greater Sydney Bushcare & Landcare Forum will celebrate and thank Landcare and Bushcare volunteers for their collective efforts in restoring, protecting and regenerating biodiversity across Greater Sydney. The forum will feature a program designed to help us adapt to and create our own future as well as announcing the Greater Sydney Regional Landcare Awards. To be held on Friday 21 May on Cockatoo Island. Register HERE to secure your place, or EMAIL Madeleine for more info.


NAB Foundation Community Grant Program
More Australian communities are being impacted by natural disasters as our climate changes. NAB Foundation Community Grants of up to $10,000 aim to:  h
elp people and places prepare for natural disasters; assist  short and long-term recovery; build community resilience against future disasters; strengthen the environment to be more resilient; and help communities reduce their climate risk. Round one applications close 31 March, round two close 31 July 2021. Click HERE.
Woolworths Junior Landcare Grants
Applications are now open for primary schools and early learning centres to apply for a Woolworths Junior Landcare Grant. 1,000 grants of up to $1,000 each are on offer. These grants aim to  inspire kids from across the country to get hands-on with projects such as: a habitat restoration project,  planting a bush tucker or vegetable garden or  running a composting or recycling project. Applications close Date 19 March 2021. Click HERE.
Electric fencing grants
Applications are open until 9 April 2021 for the Gallagher Landcare Electric Fencing Grants. Gallagher is supporting projects aligned with the priority areas of conservation fencing and grazing management. Eligible applicants are invited to apply for an individual electric fencing project grant for up to $8,000 for fencing materials. Up to 12 grants across Australia are planned. Click  HERE.
Destination Australia Scholarships
Applications have been extended for scholarships worth $15,000 per year for the two year intensive Diploma of Agriculture program studying 4 days a week in Armidale NSW. Learn farm production and management skills by combining study with practical activities. Students can commence the course at the beginning of any unit. Scholarships applications are open until the allocation is exhausted, submit yours ASAP. Click HERE.
Subsidised horticulture qualifications 
AgSkilled 2.0 provides the NSW production horticulture industry with a range of subsidised qualifications, tailored  to meet specific producer needs. Build the productivity of your business by upskilling existing workers and providing new industry entrants with training in a range of areas including business, production, safety and technology. Click HERE to learn more.
Boundary fence funding 
Applications close 31 March 2021 for grants to help bushfire-affected landholders with the cost of rebuilding boundary fences adjoining public lands. Private landholders who share a boundary with public land and were impacted by the bushfires of late 2019 and early 2020 are eligible to receive up to $5,000 per kilometre to contribute to the replacement of damaged boundary fences. Grants can be issued retrospectively to cover costs already incurred. Click HERE.


Integrated pest management the best option
Serpentine leafminer is a new pest to arrive in Australia, first reported in NSW in Greater Sydney in October 2020. Host plants include broccoli, beet, spinach, peas, beans, chilli, cucumber, potatoes, cut flowers, melons, and a variety of weeds. Research shows that it is resistant to chemical treatments, therefore Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is the best control for Serpentine leafminer. Click HERE.
Optimising vegetable cover crops
Cover crops are one of the most useful tools for managing intensive vegetable growing soils. New research has found that integrating cover crops into the growing of vegetables improves soil health and on-farm productivity by building soil structure and condition, reducing erosion, adding nitrogen, improving nutrient recycling, and contributing to weed and soil-borne disease control. Factsheets, guides, research reports, webinars, podcasts, and videos are available HERE.
Record breaking canola crop
A mixed farming business at Oberon has claimed an Australian canola harvest record of 7.16 tonnes/hectare, and credited it to 'dual-purpose cropping' pioneered by CSIRO. Even with severe drought in 2019, followed by great conditions in 2020, this yield didn’t happen overnight - it was a culmination of 15 years of working with CSIRO and following the science. What made the record crop extra remarkable was that 20 lambs per hectare had grazed it for eight weeks earlier in the growing cycle – hence “dual-purpose”. Click HERE. 
Can our food be environmentally sustainable and nutritious?
CSIRO research has found the seemingly impossible task of achieving sustainable nutrition is not as hard as many think. Eating too much food, particularly discretionary or ‘junk’ food is one of the main dietary contributors to environmental impacts in Australia. Eating more fruits and vegetables, reducing food waste and reducing the resources required to get produce from paddock to plate are all part of the answer. Click HERE.  
Breath testing for pregnant cows 
A device that could change the way farmers preg test cattle is a step closer to commercialisation. The Agscent prototype will develop an alternative breath-based pregnancy test for cattle. The federal government backs commercialisation of the device with $600,000 grant. On farm trials will continue with the product expected to roll out in early 2022. Click HERE. 


Climate Risk and Farming webinars
A three part webinar series on climate risks and management for farmers is now available. A recording of episode one, Climate Risk Management, is now online. Episode two, Climate Change, will be held at 1pm on Wednesday 10 March and episode three, Adaptation and mitigation of climate change, will be held at 1pm on 24 March. Click HERE to register.
Standing on the solution
The Australian writer, actor and farmer,  Rachel Ward, is creating a documentary on RegenAg. "It is less about the ag product, it is all about the soil." View a taster HERE. Also, Soils For Life are undertaking case studies on the regeneration of agricultural soils and landscapes, Regenerative farmer, Martin Royds’, uses strategically placed compost piles to add fertility to his system and support recycling of organic waste. Click HERE.
What Matters Most
The What Matters Most podcast #788 is a chat with Allan Savory about management, decision making, Climate Change and more. Allan Savory is a recipient of Australia’s International Banksia Award for the person or organisation doing the most for the environment on a global scale. And a TED Talk Savory gave in 2013 received over 3.4 million views and in 2014 was voted one of the 50 most intriguing TED Talks of all time. Click HERE.
What are your native plants?
By planting species that are local to your area, you can help to increase the amount of habitat available for native species. PlantNET provides information about locally native (endemic) species that may be suitable for your property. The soils, rainfall, temperature and weather can vary remarkably across a region, and some species are better suited to particular sites than others. Click HERE.
Hort Stats Handbook
In 2019/20, the horticulture sector exceeded $15 billion in production value with fruit accounting for 38 per cent of total value. Fruit production value increased three per cent  to $5,695 million. Despite the increase in value, the fruit sector also saw a four per cent decrease in the volume of fruit produced from 2.62 million to 2.57 million tonnes because of bushfires and prolonged drought. Click
Rural Financial Counselling Service 
Was your farm impacted by the recent bushfires? Are you struggling to recover and get back on your feet? Would you like some FREE, confidential, and impartial assistance from a Bushfire Rural Financial Counsellor? Click HERE to learn more about the Rural Financial Counselling Service Central Region and how we may be able to help you. 
Building fences
There are many different types of fences. Choosing one depends on what you are building them for. A property plan can help you consider the  farm layout and identify which areas maybe flood prone and which areas may require wildlife friendly fences. Fences not only let you manage your stock (and the neighbours), it can be a tool in protecting vegetation and sensitive areas. An electronic copy of TOCAL's fencing handbook is $12.99. Click 
How much nitrogen is lost by volatilisation?
Urea is a highly concentrated form of nitrogen fertiliser used by many farmers to improve crop production.  It can be applied in many different ways. This talk aims to describe the volatilisation process and highlights the key soil and weather factors that increase or reduce losses. registration is essential to attend this FREE webinar and/or gain access to the recording. Click HERE.
This project is supported by Greater Sydney Local Land Services through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Program. 
The information contained in this publication is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing. However, because of advances in knowledge, users are reminded of the need to ensure that the information upon which they rely is up to date and to check the currency of the information with the appropriate officer of Local Land Services or the user’s independent adviser. For updates go to www.lls.nsw.gov.au 
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