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September 2020

New Regional Agricultural Landcare Facilitator on EP
Seasonal summary for the Eyre Peninsula region
Round 4 of the Smart Farms Small Grants are now open!
Sticky beak days in full spring swing
Did you cancel your Agricultural Show or Field Day?
Free farm first aid training
Are you looking for information on EP soils?
Curious about trials funded through our Regenerative Agriculture Program?
Mallee Seeps project underway on EP
Sustainable agriculture position vacant
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Edition 9 - September 2020

Welcome to edition 9 of Farmers Connect and the first edition sent out by the new Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board (formerly Eyre Peninsula Natural Resources Board) and… also the first edition from the new facilitators of the Board’s Regenerative Agriculture Program, Agriculture Innovation and Research EP (AIR EP).

AIR EP will now deliver the Board’s agriculture program which focuses on building increased awareness and adoption of land management practices that improve and protect the condition of soil, biodiversity and vegetation. 

For the past five years the Board’s agriculture program has been delivered internally by Mary Crawford, who has now retired. We support these words from EP Landscape Board Chair, Mark Whitfield about Mary’s valuable contribution.

“On behalf of the Board, I extend our gratitude to Mary Crawford for the extraordinary contribution she has made to our organisation and to the farming community of Eyre Peninsula,” says Mr Whitfield.

“Mary has demonstrated a passion for managing our landscapes, supporting the farming community and in particular women in agriculture. Mary’s drive, commitment, knowledge and experience will be sorely missed.” 

No doubt, there are many readers who have met Mary over the years and benefited from her expertise.

As COVID-19 restrictions have eased in SA since our last edition, we have been able to see some sticky beak and crop walks take place. You can read about them in this edition along with information about grants, climate conditions and new staff, services & projects.

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Amy Wright  
New Regional Agricultural Landcare Facilitator on EP

We are pleased to announce that Amy Wright has been appointed to the Regional Agricultural Landcare Facilitator (RALF) role for the Eyre Peninsula region. Amy will be based in Kimba and has a passion for agriculture with experience working as an agronomist on the upper Eyre Peninsula, and brings with her a great scope of knowledge.

She is very much looking forward to supporting farmers, industry and community groups adopt sustainable agriculture across the whole of the Eyre Peninsula. Look out for Amy at upcoming crop walks and sticky beak days.

The RALF position is funded by the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program through the EP Landscape Board, with Agriculture Innovation and Research EP (AIR EP) hosting the position for the next three years.

Welcome aboard Amy! To contact Amy, please email  ralf@airep.com.au or phone 0467 004 555.

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Eyre Peninsula crops.

Seasonal summary for the Eyre Peninsula region

Climatic conditions / events

• Cold fronts, including several days with rain from August 14 to 19 brought widespread rainfall of 40-70mm, which resulted in most districts recording close to average August rainfall. The exception to this was the coastal districts south of Streaky Bay to Elliston and a narrow strip of central EP from Lock to Warramboo, which received below average August rainfall.

• Warm days resulted in above average maximum temperatures generally, with a small area around Streaky Bay very much above the average August temperatures.

• Below average to very much below average August minimum temperatures, including several light frosts, were reported across the region. These frosts are unlikely to have had significant impact on plant growth.

• Despite August rainfall, soil profiles in western and eastern Eyre districts contain little stored moisture with good conditions required during spring to maintain crop and pasture health.

Land management

• August rains came at a critical time and on all but the heaviest soil types, crops which were suffering moisture stress in June and July now have good yield potential.

• Sunny days with cooler nights, combined with good August rainfall provided good growing conditions and in most districts, including near Arno Bay and Wharminda which did not receive early rainfall, paddocks now contain adequate surface cover for erosion protection.

• Although surface cover has improved in all districts, paddock biomass is less than is normally expected for this time of year, with some exposed soils on the tops of water repellent dunes in parts of central and eastern Eyre remaining at risk of erosion.

• Whilst some grass freeing of pastures was undertaken this month, many growers have opted to spray top grass weeds in spring to preserve paddock biomass.

• Insect pests continue to be reported in low numbers. However, they have generally been below control thresholds and plant damage has been minimal.

• Livestock are generally in excellent condition and though most producers have been able to stop supplementary feeding, low paddock biomass is a concern with many growers considering cutting some paddocks for hay to ensure adequate supplies over summer.

Source: Department for Environment and Water: Erosion Risk on Agricultural Land – August 2020

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Round 4 of the Smart Farms Small Grants are now open!

The Australian Government is offering grants valued between $5,000 and $100,000 to support one to two-year projects that will help farming, forestry and fishing groups and communities increase their awareness, knowledge, skills and capacity to adopt smart and sustainable agriculture practices.

Visit communitygrants.gov.au for more details about the National Landcare Program: Smart Farms Small Grants. 

Applications close on 9 October 2020.

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Attendees at the BigFIG sticky beak day were shown Schaefer's multi species grazing trial, funded by our Regenerative Agriculture Program. The demonstration aims to increase both soil health and productivity by introducing multi species plantings, and managing grazing to optimise production.

Sticky beak days in full spring swing

About 60 people turned out for the annual Buckleboo Farm Improvement Group (BigFIG) sticky beak day on Thursday 13 August. As per usual it was a very organised day with lots of different things to see, including:

  • Zibell's regenerative agriculture trial looking at trying to overcome lack of organic matter by adding natural fertilisers and foliar sprays; and reducing reliance on synthetic inputs (EP Landscape Board/National Landcare Program).
  • Schaefer's regenerative agriculture multi species grazing trial with the aim of keeping soil cover over summer (EP Landscape Board/National Landcare Program). Plus some impressive lupins and native animal exclusion fencing.
  • Jake Giles (EPAG Research) gave an overview of the aims of the Resilient EP project funded by the National Landcare Program, including the development of soil moisture maps and real time soil water information.
  • The GRDC Southern Pulse Agronomy and National Variety trials at Cliff's.
  • Fitzgerald's tillage radish.
  • Baldock's GRDC Sandy Soil trial (ripping +/- inclusion plates and fertiliser rates).
  • Woolford's new confinement feeding pens for taking pressure off paddocks in times of low feed availability, to avoid selling off their highly valued genetics.

The AIR EP Lower EP Crop Walk was held on 8 September in the Yeelanna/Brooker area, with around 50 people in attendance. Our first stop was a wheat crop at Mark Modra’s property where Kenton Porker (SARDI) and Andrew Ware (EPAG Research) have been conducting a GRDC Resetting Phenology trial.

Second was Jordy Wilksch’s to get an update from EPAG Research’s Jake Giles on the National Landcare Program funded Resilient EP project and the soil moisture probes. It was an interesting look into the harsh reality of how dry our soils are this season.

The third stop for the morning was to Jake Challinger’s sandhill, the trial sites for the GRDC funded “increasing production on Sandy Soils in low and medium rainfall areas of the Southern region” being run by Brett Masters (PIRSA); and the National Landcare Program funded “increasing adoption of new techniques combining physical, chemical and plant based interventions to improve soil function on EP” run by Dave Davenport (Davenport Soil).

We finished up the day in a lovely paddock of ryegrass, where Peter Boutsalis (Plant Science Consulting) was able to give us an insight into the latest results of his annual ryegrass resistance surveys, and new chemical control options for grass weeds that are soon to be released.

If you would like a copy of the crop walk booklet emailed to you please contact Naomi on email at eo@airep.com.au.

Franklin Harbour Ag Bureau held their annual sticky beak day on Friday 11 September with a great turn out of around 35 people. Thankfully the wind subsided by the first stop for the day at Mill’s Farm, Elbow Hill. Dave Davenport (Davenport Soil) gave an update on his “increasing adoption of new techniques combining physical, chemical and plant based interventions to improve soil function on Eyre Peninsula” trial.

The convoy then headed off to Craig Briese’s property at Mangalo to peruse the Cleve Rural Traders pre-emergent chemical demo. It was great to see how some of the newer chemicals have stood up in this drier season.

Our third and last stop for the day was the NVT trial site at Mitchellville. Always a highlight of any sticky beak day, all were interested to compare the newly released varieties against the widely grown varieties. Andrew Ware and Jake Giles presented the latest on the Resilient EP Soil Moisture project.

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Did you cancel your Agricultural Show or Field Day?

The Supporting Agricultural Shows and Field Days program is open from 18 September to 9 October, 2020.

If your show was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19, you are eligible to apply for expenses incurred, using the 2019/2020 Financial Year as your cap as per the size of your show. 

The maximum total grant amount available to your show across the life of the program is dependent upon the average total attendance on all days at your local agricultural show, based upon the shows you conducted over the previous three years:

• Small shows      up to 1,999 attendees                $10,000
• Medium shows  2,000 to 4,999 attendees           $15,000
• Large shows      5,000 attendees and up             $70,000

To apply visit www.communitygrants.gov.au

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Free farm first aid training

On-farm accidents are a major problem for farming in Australia. Incidents can involve workers, bystanders to work and others (including children) and occur in a range of circumstances on farms of different agricultural enterprises.

The Red Cross is offering free first aid training for primary producers, farm workers and contractors.

Develop skills and improve the safety of your farm or rural workplace by enrolling in this first aid training course, delivered by an accredited Red Cross Trainer.

Each workshop covers topics including:
* Legal Requirement * Cardiac Emergencies * Basic Life Support (DRSABCD) * Severe Bleeding and Wound Care * Reporting * Fractures and Dislocations * Recovery and Resilience * Shock Management * Breathing Emergencies * Environmental Impacts * Allergic Reaction/Anaphylaxis * Envenomation *Wellbeing and Mental Illness Support and Assistance

The participants are provided with the knowledge and skills to assist themselves, their family and friends to cope with accidents and injury and the importance of both physical and mental wellbeing.

Sessions run from 10am to 4:30pm and are being held at:

  • Arno Bay Sports Complex on Wednesday, October 7;
  • Cleve, Sims Farm on Thursday, October 8; and
  • Cowell Institute Supper Room on Friday, October 9.

All training materials, morning tea and lunch are included. Limited places!

To register or for more information, contact: Jasmin Piggott via phone on 0438 207 434 or email jpiggott@redcross.org.au.

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This map from our website shows wind erosion potential across the Eyre Peninsula.

Are you looking for information on EP soils?

Through the Regenerative Agriculture Program, we have updated our website - thanks to Mary Crawford for her work on this before retiring from the Sustainable Agriculture Officer position with the EP Landscape Board.

The website provides farmers with a comprehensive resource of soils information.

The 'Soil Management' page is a one-stop-shop for information about soils, their constraints, production potential, erosion maps, fact sheets, management options and much more.

Check it out here on our website.

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Curious about trials funded through our Regenerative Agriculture Program?

The Regenerative Agriculture Program aims to increase awareness, knowledge and adoption of land management practices on the Eyre Peninsula to restore soil pH levels, increase soil organic carbon levels and reduce the risk of nutrient loss from wind erosion. It supports farming systems groups and individual farmers to implement best practice management and practice change; and showcase the results to the broader farming community through our grants program.

For more information about the trials being funded by our grants program see our website.

We will be calling for expressions of interest for both mixed species and soil carbon grants in the coming months, so start planning now! Keep an eye on our grants page or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

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Landscape Officer Sarah Voumard working on one of the project sites by installing a piezometer and planting puccinellia, with Chris McDonough and landholder Kerran Glover.

Mallee Seeps project underway on EP

This month we started on-ground works for the two-year ‘Overcoming the rising degradation of mallee seeps on Eyre Peninsula’ Smart Farms Small Grant project which is supported by the Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Program.

Mallee seeps are presenting on farms from WA to Victoria, often in dune swale country and sometimes non-wetting sands are a contributing factor. Early on in a mallee seep’s formation, a farmer can pick up signs of a mallee seep in a paddock from higher vegetation or weed growth than surrounding areas. These areas are visible using NDVI mapping from November (in drier months). Areas of soil are degraded and can either be wet or a crusted over saline topped scald area.

The aim of the project is to support agricultural production with necessary changes in paddocks with mallee seeps to prevent soil degradation and loss of productive land.

There have been five demonstration sites set up to trial remediation options on farms in the Kimba area, near Lock (Palkagee) and near Rudall (Smeaton). The soil scientist working on these trials is Dr Chris McDonough from Insight Extension for Agriculture.

In 2021, farmers will be invited to see an Eyre Peninsula trial site around harvest report time in February/March, winter and spring; and autumn 2022. A video will be made available for people to watch and a guide of options for managing mallee seeps will be made available to those who are interested.

For those of you who are interested to learn more about mallee seeps, the Mallee Sustainable Farming website is a useful reference including this information:

And Dr Chris McDonough spoke with ABC radio in August about mallee seep trials in SA. On this recording, his interview is around the 16.30min mark.

For more information about mallee seep on the Eyre Peninsula or the Mallee Sustainable Farming Mallee Seep project, contact Sarah Voumard on 8628 2077 or 0429 677 604 at the EP Landscape Board Cleve office.

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Sustainable agriculture position vacant

Agricultural Innovation and Research EP (AIR EP) is seeking an experienced person to fill the role of Project Officer, Sustainable Agriculture. This role will cover the entire Eyre Peninsula region.

The Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board has contracted AIR EP to deliver the Sustainable Agriculture program, which has been funded by the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

The Project Officer, Sustainable Farming is responsible for the implementation, reporting and integration of the Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board’s Sustainable Agriculture program.

The Project Officer will work closely with farmers, land managers, farming systems groups, agri-business, industry bodies and agencies to facilitate and implement workshops, events and activities that promote sustainable farming outcomes that improve agricultural production and protect the natural resource base of the region in the long-term.

Key role outcomes include:

  • Implementation of the Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board Sustainable Agriculture program.
  • Increase community and stakeholder awareness and adoption of best practice in agriculture and natural resources management.
  • Timely program and project management and reporting.
  • Identify opportunities for continuous improvement and integration of sustainable agriculture projects.
  • Maintain existing and develop new partnerships for collaboration.
  • Long-term landscape management and conservation principles are promoted across the region.

Commencing as soon as possible, the right person for this role will have:

  • A minimum of five years working in the agriculture or natural resources management industry.
  • A current understanding of sustainable agriculture and natural resource management relevant to South Australian dryland farming systems.
  • Understanding of current agricultural initiatives and projects in SA and related natural resources management activity.
  • Experience in project management including budgeting and reporting.
  • The ability to communicate (written and verbally) with farmers, advisors, researchers and industry personnel.
  • A demonstrated commitment in assisting the development of rural communities.
  • A current driver’s license.
  • University qualification in Agricultural Science or Natural Sources Management or equivalent, is highly desirable.

This role will commence as soon as possible and is contracted until June 2023. This role is full time and is expected to work from the AIR EP Wudinna office at least one day per week. A competitive remuneration package will be negotiated with the successful applicant. This includes a work vehicle, mobile phone and laptop.

The employer is Agricultural Innovation & Research Eyre Peninsula (AIR EP) which was formed in June 2020 through the merger of the two key farming systems groups on the Eyre Peninsula, EPARF and LEADA.

The incumbent will be working in a dynamic team of researchers, leading farmers, farm advisers and EP Landscape Board staff that will provide ongoing support in the implementation of the role.

This role is all about communication, so we’d love to speak directly to you and prefer you don’t use the ‘apply now’ option. Please call Carlyn Sherriff on 1300 746 466 to discuss this role and receive more information.

Please quote PAHR99 in your enquiry.

Applications close 12pm Wednesday 14 October 2020.

This recruitment process is being supported by Pinion Advisory.

For more information see our Seek job ad.

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

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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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