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May 2021

Regenerative Ag Forum
Landscapes photo competition now open!
Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot program
Farming Acid Soils Champions workshops
Soil carbon and plant based options demonstration sites
Eastern Eyre Soil Management Program
Grassroots Grants open for community landscape projects
Autumn seasonal summary for the Eyre Peninsula
Are you looking for information on EP soils?
More information
May newsletter

Welcome to the latest edition of Farmers Connect from the Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board and facilitators of our Regenerative Agriculture Program, Agriculture Innovation and Research EP (AIR EP).

We hope you all got some rain this week - and that this is just the beginning for the season ahead. If you are in a drought-affected area, PIRSA's drought support may be able to help.

This newsletter provides a summary of local sustainble agriculture issues and work happening under the Regenerative Agriculture Program which is supported by the Board, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

There's still time to register for our Regenerative Ag Forum being held in Cleve on June 8. The forum will give an overview of our demo sites and what is - or isn't - working. 

This edition also includes information about EP farmers being involved in the new Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot program in which carbon credits are paid for revegetation; farming acid soils workshops being held in late June; information about grant opportunities; and an update on our Eastern Eyre Soil Management Program. 

Regenerative Ag Forum

Our Eyre Peninsula Regenerative Ag Forum will be held on June 8 at Cleve, with guest speakers including renowed soil ecologist Dr Christine Jones and farming systems consultant David Davenport.

The forum will discuss regenerative ag practices currently being trialled across the Eyre Peninsula; and opportunities for low to medium rainfall environments.

Register to attend by June 2.

Landscapes photo competition now open!

Do you have a great pic that features our amazing Eyre Peninsula landscapes, fresh water sources, sustainable agriculture, pest plants & animals, our region’s biodiversity, or the community taking part in landscape management?

We’d love you to share them with us if you do! We have just launched a photo competition and are looking for photos that focus on and tell us something about Eyre Peninsula and our landscape priorities.

We have six $200 gift vouchers up for grabs for photos judged the best in each of the following categories: 

  • Water (relating to fresh water including creeks and wetlands, and managing water, e.g. a farm dam or creek at dusk, collecting a water sample)
  • Sustainable agriculture (including general farming work such as seeding or feeding sheep)
  • Pest plants & animals (for example, rabbits on your property or spraying of local weeds)
  • Biodiversity (including important coastal, estuarine and in-land habitats and species)
  • Community (relating to people being involved in landscape management, making sure you have permission to photograph the person/s as per the competition T&Cs)
  • Landscape/scenery (for example, a sunset photo of your farm)

Entries are open until 9pm on Wednesday, June 23, 2021. See our website for more details and competiton Terms & Conditions.

Brian Foster is interested in the Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot for his rocky land at Coulta.

Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot program

Have you got land on your farm that has limited productive value? There is now an opportunity to plant trees in these areas and obtain an income for the revegetation work.

The Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board region has been chosen as one of six pilot regions across Australia for the Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot program which is part of the Agriculture Stewardship Package being delivered by the Department for Agriculture, Water and Environment.

The Pilot will trial a market-based mechanism that will reward participating farmers for improving environmental outcomes on agricultural land. Through the Pilot, farmers will establish biodiverse environmental plantings between 5-200 hectares on-farm and will be rewarded for increasing on-farm biodiversity and carbon abatement.

One of the local landholders interested in being involved with the pilot program is Coulta farmer Brian Foster.

“I am interested in this pilot as I can see the effect climate change is having and I see farmers as pivotal enablers of carbon storage,” Mr Foster says.

“I have an area of land near Coulta that has limited productive value as it is too rocky to crop and doesn’t have a high carrying capacity for stock.

“So I think it’s worthwhile to see if carbon payments from environmental plantings can stack up economically while storing carbon at the same time.”

We are facilitating the Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot at a local level.

Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board Planning and Assessment Officer, Andrew Freeman encourages local farmers to look at their property and think about areas that have limited production value that could instead be revegetated under this program.

Applications close 11 June 2021.

For more information, contact Andrew Freeman on email Andrew.freeman@sa.gov.au or phone 0429 673 123; or see our factsheet.

Farming Acid Soils Champions workshops

Following two Farming Acid Soils Champions workshops in February, there are two advanced half-day follow-up workshops for those who attended the previous workshops; and also for those who would like to explore soil acidity and pH in more depth.

Brett Masters from PIRSA will focus on pH mapping applications, how to use them, and where they might be appropriate both on the soil side but also the economics side. There will also be a discussion looking at soil acidity interaction with no-till farming, particularly in regard to stratification of acidity and nutrients. Finally, addressing subsurface acidity - the iceberg in the room - how to identify, measure and manage it. 

Morning tea will be provided.

For more information contact Sustainable Agriculture Project Officer Josh Telfer on 0460 000 290 or email susag@airep.com.au.

Winter multi species pasture grazing demonstration site.

Soil carbon and plant based options demonstration sites

A key part of our Regenerative Agriculture Program is the availability of small grants for the set up and monitoring of activities that contribute to healthy soils in the form of improved soil carbon and reduction of erosion risk. Our next round of grants will open in July.

The Soil Carbon demonstration sites target interventions on sodic, acidic and sandy/non-wetting soils.

Previous successful applicants have:

  • explored improving rooting depth;
  • demonstrated the effect of addressing subsurface acidity on crop and pasture production; and
  • investigated the roles of adding amendments like biochar to crop/pasture growth and addressed subsoil constraints through either physical intervention like ripping/mixing, combined with chemical or biological additions or amendments. 

The Plant Based Options demonstration sites are for EP farmers who wish to investigate the role of multi-species cover crops, intercrop multi-species or pastures (winter) and/or the use and role of a summer crop (for cover or pasture) for increasing soil carbon and soil surface cover. The demonstration requires the establishment and monitoring of two cropping/pasture sequences either winter/summer, summer/winter or winter/winter.

The successful applicants would be expected to submit monitoring reports and results from their site, and communicate with our Sustainable Agriculture Project Officer.

Funding of up to $9,000 is available for each demonstration site. The soon to be released application guidelines will spell out the exact reporting and monitoring requirements to qualify for the grants. Applications will open on 1 July and close 23 August 2021.

For more information contact our Sustainable Agriculture Project Officer, Josh Telfer on email susag@airep.com.au or 0460 000 290.

Preferential growth by different summer crop species.

Eastern Eyre Soil Management Program

Earlier this year we funded a short-term, opportunistic project to increase soil cover of bare soils of Eastern EP over the 2020/21 summer, either by providing support to sow cover, undertake soil amelioration activities, or monitor existing cover crops to determine suitable species and understand the impact on the following winter crop. Here is a brief update of activities from the project, as reported by David Davenport from Davenport Soil Consulting.

Erosion potential and methods to improve plant numbers following ripping with inclusion plates

Studies have shown that maintaining appropriate sowing depth is difficult following ripping with inclusion plates. In response, farmers are using secondary techniques including crumple rollers and tillage techniques to create a smoother surface. However, these techniques have the potential to increase erosion risk through removing soil cover and disturbing a larger percentage of the soil surface. This project is monitoring changes to erosion potential and observed erosion. Also plant emergence using different ripping and post ripping practices, will be monitored.

Results to date confirm that ripping with inclusion plates without secondary soil levelling does not appear to increase erosion risk even following a strong wind event and may even reduce potential on previously bare soil surfaces.

Residual soil moisture

The project is also monitoring residual soil moisture under summer cover crops that have been sprayed out at different times. This will continue until germination but initial results show that the major difference found in soil moisture between early and late desiccation treatments are found lower in the soil profile.

Another interesting observation is the differences in growth between species with sunflowers appearing to grow higher on dune systems but not competing successfully with grass species that appear to prefer the slopes (see photo).

A crop walk organised by WoTL for women in the Cummins area was a successful grant project last year.

Grassroots Grants open for community landscape projects

Applications are now open for the Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board’s Grassroots Grants Program, which provides $101,000 in funding for local community-based landscape management projects.

Revegetation, agriculture tours, pest plant and animal control, and protecting coastal areas are some of the activities that have taken place around the Eyre Peninsula during the past year thanks to our inaugural Grassroots Grants Program.

Last year we funded 20 projects worth $110,000 for a diverse range of projects.

Chair of the Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board Mark Whifield, encourages community members to look at the Grassroots Grants program for their community-based landscape management projects.

“Last year we were glad to see a diverse range of applications submitted to support priorities such as sustainable agriculture, pest control, water resource management, native vegetation, waterway rehabilitation or coastal works,” Mr Whifield says.

“We are looking forward to seeing a similar range of project applications this time around with funding of up to $10,000 per project with a total of $101,000 available.

“We know that there are many people on the Eyre Peninsula who are passionate about protecting or restoring our natural environment; and these grants are a great opportunity for community groups, volunteers or farming groups to get funding for their landscape management projects.”

Among last year's successful recipients was WoTL for hosting a crop walk for women in the Cummins area, the Charlton Women in Agriculture and Business branch for a regenerative ag field tour, and Buckleboo Farm Improvement Group to purchase a portal electric fencing system. 

Applications for this year’s Grassroots Grants Program are open until 5pm on Wednesday, 9 June, 2021.

Full details of the grant application details, including a link to the application form, are available on our grants web page. .

Autumn seasonal summary for the Eyre Peninsula

Climatic conditions / events:

  • Most of Eyre Peninsula recorded below average to very much below average rainfall. Areas west of Wirrulla, around Kimba to Buckleboo and Port Neill to Tumby Bay received very little rain.
  • Isolated thunderstorms around Sheringa and Cowell lifted April rainfall to around the average in these areas.
  • Daily minimum temperatures were around the monthly average but above average in western Eyre districts from Venus Bay to Ceduna. Maximum temperatures were very much above average in western and lower Eyre districts and above the monthly average in eastern Eyre Peninsula.
  • Very strong, hot northerly winds on April 13th caused significant erosion on paddocks where deep ripping has been undertaken on sandy soils in the Wudinna, Cleve, Rudall, and Arno Bay districts.
  • Although surface soils are generally dry most soils have some moisture from summer rainfall at depths below 20cm.

Land Management:

  • Weed germination has been controlled by herbicides, in preparation for seeding.
  • Annual medics and grasses germinated in pasture paddocks following February and March rainfall but most producers continue to supplementary-feed stock either on stubble paddocks or in containment areas.
  • Deep ripping and delving to overcome production constraints on sandy soils have continued this month as dry conditions have delayed seeding. Many paddocks have bare areas of loose soils vulnerable to erosion.
  • Whilst most paddocks are still adequately protected from wind erosion, those which did not cover well in 2020, have been deep ripped or delved or have recently been sown are currently vulnerable to erosion.
  • Some paddocks in lower Eyre districts were burnt this month to control ryegrass and manage stubble loads prior to seeding. Most of these were minor burns along stubble rows.
  • A grass fire burning under severe weather conditions burnt around 1300ha between Cockaleechie and Ungarra in early April. Poor surface cover on the burnt area combined with steep slopes could result in water erosion when rains are received.
  • Lime and gypsum spreading continued this month.

Source: Department for Environment and Water: Erosion Risk on Agricultural Land – April 2021, Giles Forward.

Are you looking for information on EP soils?

Our Soil Management web page is a one-stop-shop for information about soils, their constraints, production potential, maps, fact sheets, management options and much more. Check it out.

We also have a range of clips on our YouTube channel including two made this year by the Buckleboo Farm Improvement group about soil sampling and EP soil types, made possible by a grant from us.

More information

Want to see what the Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board is up to before the next edition of Farmers Connect? Follow us on Facebook or Twitter to see our latest news.

For sustainable agriculture resources, visit our website. Topics include property planning, soil management, cropping & pastures, and grazing. 

The Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board came into effect on 1 July 2020, replacing the former Eyre Peninsula Natural Resources Management Board.


This Regenerative Agriculture Project is supported by the Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

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