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Regional Landcare News | Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board

December 2021


Infographic of the Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board's Land highlights from 2020 - 2021


Table of contents

Good Bugs = Good Wine!
Regenerative Agriculture event hits the mark
Summer Fodder Crop Demonstration Fields days
Happy World Soil Day!
Local Landcare Heroes - Fleurieu Coast Community Nursery Volunteers
Healthy Soils Workshop in Willunga
Native Grass Meadow Field Day
First Nations News – Hills and Fleurieu field staff cultural training
Landcare Australia News

Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board release 2020 - 2021 Annual Highlights Report

The Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board has been working closely with our communities and stakeholders over the past eighteen months to deliver significant environmental outcomes, and have recently released our first ‘Annual highlights report’ to reflect some of our achievements from the 2020-2021 financial year.

Our ‘Land’ priority aims to regenerate our biodiverse and productive landscapes by:
• reducing the impact and spread of weeds
• reducing the impact of pest animals and impact-causing native animals
• supporting the uptake of regenerative agriculture and  land management
• setting initiatives to help future-proof our agricultural systems.

You can view the full report here.
Find out more about pest plant and animal management here.
Find out more about sustainable agriculture and land management here.

Upcoming events for your calendar:

  • Friday 10 December 2021: Landcare Webinar - see details in Landcare Australia News article

  • Wednesday 15 December 2021: Healthy Soils Workshop - Willunga Environment Centre (booked out - for waiting list, call (08) 8556 4188)​​

  • 23 to 25 August 2022: National Landcare Conference, Sydney - call for abstracts now open


Shingleback Wine vineyard manager Paul ‘Rowdy’ Mathews and Dr Kerry-Anne March releasing beneficial insects in the Shingleback Wine biodiverse revegetation site. Photo: Jim Mead

Good Bugs = Good Wine!

Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board’s Wildlife for Wine project manager Jeff Edwards could not be more excited with the release of our new guide for grape growers.  

Designed as a comprehensive resource for growers, Natural predators of vineyard insect pests - a guide to the natural enemies of grapevine pests in South Australia was written by Dr Mary Retallack with support from Wine Grape Council SA. Funding for the guide was provided by the Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board through the landscape levy, with additional support from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program. 

Through Mary’s extensive consultation with entomologists and viticulturists, this guide has been developed to help vineyard managers identify and create strategies that encourage more natural insect predators to seek prey amongst the vines. 

“The end game is to reduce the amount of pesticide used in vineyards and increase biodiversity. The guide explains how the presence of certain predatory spiders and insects can improve grape quantity and quality, as these beneficial predators prey on pest insect species," Jeff said. 

Paul Mathews, vineyard manager at Shingleback Wine in McLaren Vale, is an enthusiastic supporter of this approach.

“When we avoid unnecessary spraying and allow nature to do the work, then we know things are in balance, and that’s how we like it”, he said.

The beneficial predators are predominantly native species, which require native vegetation to survive. Replanting habitat on the margins of vineyards and on otherwise uproductive land increases biodiversity and provides much needed habitat for these native species to thrive. 

“The new biodiversity plantings at Shingleback vineyard are already hosting numerous good bugs, from which we are now seeing them flow into the vineyard,” Paul said.

(Click here to watch a video about how Shingleback Vineyard have adopted this approach enthusiastically)

The easy-to-read guide includes over 100 beautiful images, demonstrating that ‘a picture paints a thousand words’, while detailed texts explains a few of the characteristics that will help you identify some of our more commonly encountered beneficial bugs. 

For a hard copy of the guide, visit the Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board offices in Mount Barker or Willunga, or click here for the online version.

For more information, contact the Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board’s Sustainable Agriculture officer Jeff Edwards at the Willunga Office jeffs.edwards@sa.gov.au

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Richard Leask of Leask Agri fields Regenerative Agriculture questions from the floor. Photo: Jodie Pain

Regenerative Agriculture event hits the mark

More than 40 Farmers from around the Hills and Fleurieu region gathered in Strathalbyn for a Regenerative Agriculture Workshop on Wednesday 24 November at St Andrew’s Uniting Church Hall. Several farmers from around the Hills and Fleurieu region and Kangaroo Island tuned in online as well.

The evening was organised through a partnership between the Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board, Goolwa to Wellington LAP and the Strathalbyn Natural Resource Centre, and was compered by Leanne Muffet of Strategic Matters.

Hills and Fleurieu Sustainable Agriculture Officer Jeff Edwards set the scene with a presentation about the developments in regenerative agriculture in the Hills and Fleurieu region over the past five years.

Four local farmers delivered a five minute “Ted Talk” style presentation, touching on the vision for their property, how they have applied regenerative agriculture principles on their farms, the challenges and triumphs associated with doing so, and the key lessons they have learnt so far. The farmers ranged from new property owners to experienced commercial growers. All presentations were well received, with presenters taking questions from the floor.

After supper and informal networking, Leanne Muffet facilitated a session aimed at co-designing a new regenerative agriculture network in the Hills and Fleurieu region.  The key focus question for the six groups was, ‘What does a regenerative agriculture network look like?’

Participants moved between groups to focus on other questions associated with designing a functional network, building on information already gathered in a survey prior to the event. The event aimed to create a network built from the ground up that served the needs identified by the farming community.

The Hills and Fleurieu Sustainable Agriculture Team will work with participants to support and develop local networks and deliver targeted activities in 2022 to maintain the momentum generated on the night. For more information about joining a local regenerative agriculture network, contact Jim Mead on jim.mead@sa.gov.au

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Field day participants inspect the summer fodder crop on Santa Cruz, Waitpinga. Photo: Jim Mead

Summer Fodder Crop Demonstration Fields days

The Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board’s Sustainable Agriculture Team partnered with the Fleurieu Farming Systems group to deliver two field days with a focus on Summer Fodder Crops. The first field day on Monday 6 December was held on properties at Willow Creek and Waitpinga. The second field day was held on Wednesday December 8 at farms at Inman Valley and Myponga. Both events were well attended, with 23 farmers on Monday and 43 on Wednesday.

The summer fodder crop demonstrations aim to extend the stock feeding season, increase soil biological activity, make use of any summer rains and provide valuable ground cover over the summer to build soil structure and increase infiltration. The crops may mean farmers have less soil moisture at the end of the summer season, but will be able to utilise soil moisture early in the winter season due to improvements in soil structure and infiltration. Longer term outcomes expected include increasing soil carbon.

Speakers included Millie Moore and James Cook from S & W Seeds, Peter Filsell from Fleurieu Farming Systems group; as well as the property managers and landholders, Ben Noble, Alister Carmichael and Alistair Just.The event generated great discussions and presented informal networking opportunities for farmers. A BBQ was provided by the local Lions club after the Wednesday event, which all attendees enjoyed. For more information about the Summer Fodder crop demonstration, contact John Butler john.butler@sa.gov.au

This project is supported by the Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board, through funding from the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund and the National Landcare Program.

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World Soil Day logo

Happy World Soil Day!

Our soils are the basis for all life on earth. World Soil Day was on Sunday 5 December 2021 and aims to celebrate our soils and raise awareness about the fundamental importance of soils in maintaining all life forms. 
The Office of the National Soils Advocate has prepared a video with a statement from the National Soils Advocate, the Honourable Penny Wensley AC, outlining why we need to preserve our soil.
You can access the video here.

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NAB Corporate volunteers and Fleurieu Coast Community Nursery volunteers in the back row. Photo: Corey Jackson

Local Landcare Heroes - Fleurieu Coast Community Nursery Volunteers

This month’s Hills and Fleurieu local Landcare heroes are the Fleurieu Coast Community nursery volunteers. The Yankalilla based nursery was started in 2015 by Coastal Conservation Officer Corey Jackson with a Green Army team and developed further over time. Last year, the nursery grew 40,000 seedlings for revegetation projects in the region. Working bees are held at the nursery on the first and third Monday of the month, except on public holidays. People that are interested in volunteering at the nursery on working bee days can register by contacting the Fleurieu Environment Centre in Normanville on (08) 8558 3644.

Most recently, the Fleurieu Coast Community Nursery volunteers have been propagating dune species that will replace weeds that the group has been controlling over the winter. The first challenge was how to successfully propagate large numbers of Spinifex and associated dune species. The volunteers had information on what has and hasn’t worked and have now further refined the process.  They trialled different cutting methods and potting media mixes on Spinifex and Scaevola species.

The Fleurieu Coast Community Nursery held a recent corporate volunteer event in partnership with the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife and National Australia Bank.Trained regular volunteers under supervision of the Coastal Conservation Officer worked with corporate volunteers to propagate Spinifex cuttings and to transplant and divide sedges. 

The nursery recently received a $45,000 Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife grant to upgrade and improve the Fleurieu Coast Community Nursery. Major upgrades funded through the grant included a concrete floor, plumbing, sinks, potting benches and growing benches have now been completed. Volunteers have assembled potting and plant benches at working bees.This grant has improved facilities for volunteers and increased the nurseries growing capacity.

Scaevola calendulacea cuttings. On the left, 1/3rd perlite and 2/3rd native potting mix had the best results. Photo: Corey Jackson

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Healthy Soils Workshop in Willunga

Soil scientist and farming system specialist Dr Rebecca Tonkin is delivering a Healthy Soils workshop on Wednesday15 December at the Willunga Environment Centre. Rebecca has fifteen years of experience in supporting farmers to improve soil and pasture health and is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about both. More recently, Rebecca has been helping farmers to improve soil pH and reduce acidity in soils, which is an increasing issue in South Australian soils.

The event is a joint initiative between the Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board and the Willunga Environment Centre, funded through the Australian Government's National Landcare Program.

Although the event is booked out, contact Janine at the Willunga Environment Centre on (08) 8556 4188 to be put on a waiting list in case of any cancellations. If demand is high enough, another workshop will be scheduled in the new year.

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Presenter Andrew Fairney in a native grass meadow. Photo: Jeff Edwards

Native Grass Meadow Field Day

A free, information-packed 2-hour field day, presented by Andrew Fairney of Seeding Natives, was held on Wednesday 1 December in Lobethal to show participants how to set up their own native pasture or meadow. Native pasture offers many benefits to the landholder, including:

•    reducing fire fuel loads
•    increasing biodiversity
•    increasing beneficial insects in vineyards and orchards
•    providing horse feed with a lower sugar content

Andrew helped participants learn how to convert a weedy grazing paddock into thriving native grass pasture. The first step being to choose an appropriate site. Participants were stepped through why native grass is tricky to grow and where to source seed. Weed control prior to, and after seeding was discussed, as was the best equipment necessary to give native grasses the best start.

If you are interested in establishing a native grass pasture on your property, contact Andrew Fairney at andrew@seedingnatives.org.au

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Leon Dodd records culturally valued Fleurieu swamp plants. Photo: Nicole Motteux

First Nations News – Hills and Fleurieu field staff cultural training

The Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board field staff have an exciting opportunity to attend a Ngarrindjeri /Ramindjeri Cultural Heritage Field Training day on Tuesday 14 December.

A number of field staff attended a Cultural Awareness (Histories of SA) training session in June 2021 at Mount Barker, which was the precursor to this upcoming practical session with NAC (Ngarrindjeri Aboriginal Corporation).

Now staff are ready to get out in the field and have the opportunity to learn about the practical application of working on Ruwe (Country). Presenters on the day will be Ngarrindjeri /Ramindjeri Elder, Mark Koolmatrie, and property manager, Owen Love, who is also a Ngarrindjeri/Ramindjeri man.

Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board field staff are excited to be involved and to learn more about Ngarrrindjeri /Ramindjeri culture.

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Submissions for Abstracts for the National Landcare Conference are due on Sunday 27 February 2022

Landcare Australia News

Landcare Webinar Series

Landcare Australia has a great webinar coming up in December to close 2021. Get involved in the final webinar, and if you are not available to participate on the day, you can watch the webinar at a later date.

Soil Health with the National Soils Advocate and the General Jeffery Soil Health Award Finalists
Date: Friday 10 December
Time: 2 – 3pm AEDT
Facilitator: The Hon. Penny Wensley AC, National Soils Advocate
Speakers: Emeritus Professor Lynnette Abbott, University of Western Australia | Robert Quirk, Sugar cane farmer, NSW | Brian Hughes, Principal Consultant at Primary Industries and Regions, SA
Description: The National Soils Advocate, the Honourable Penny Wensley AC talks to the winner and finalists of the inaugural General Jeffery Soil Health Award. Watch this webinar to find out more about the achievements of Emeritus Professor Lynnette Abbott, NSW’s Robert Quirk, and South Australia’s Brian Hughes. Nominations will open for the 2022 General Jeffery Soil Health Award on World Soil Day, December 5.
It is free and easy to register to the Landcare Webinar Series. You only need to register once and we will contact you with information about the upcoming webinars and when they are available for you to watch online. You can watch the webinars via the Landcarer platform and ask the speakers questions, or you can watch on YouTube via the Landcare Australia website. When you register we will send you the links on the day of the webinar. If you have a Landcare webinar idea please contact us at digital@landcareaustralia.com.au

To register for the Landcare Webinar Series or watch the recordings of previous webinars please click here.

Landcare in Focus Magazine - now out
From dealing with feral animals on the Queensland coast to reducing dryland salinity and building sustainable productions that can handle climate variability, Australian farmers and producers are doing their part to improve outcomes for their land and the environment. This edition of Landcare in Focus looks at the challenges through the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges ahead, while highlighting the work being done on farm and through research projects. You can read the latest edition here.

Landcare Conference - Submissions for Abstracts
Landcare Australia is pleased to call for the submission of abstracts and posters for the 2022 National Landcare Conference. The bi-annual event will be held from Tuesday 23 to Thursday 25 August 2022, at the International Convention Centre Darling Harbour in Sydney. The theme for the 2022 National Landcare Conference is Power of Landcare | Shaping Our Future which affirms the importance of looking to the future when addressing the issues and opportunities open to Landcare.  We invite abstracts from individuals, groups, networks and organisations involved in protecting, enhancing or restoring and educating about the natural environment in their local community through sustainable land management and conservation activities. For more information or to submit an abstract please click here.

Abstract submissions will close on February 27 2022

Landcare Online Shop – Landcare | Coastcare | Junior Landcare caps now available
Landcare Australia has partnered with Your Brand Unleash to offer landcare and Coastcare groups an online shop for purchasing Landcare, Coastcare or Junior Landcare caps at a low cost. Groups can purchase the caps for themselves, or they can buy in bulk and sell to their volunteers and local landcare supporters. The three cap options are branded ‘Landcare’, ‘Coastcare’ or ‘Junior Landcare’. To keep the price low, Landcare Australia is underwriting the purchase of stock. However, Landcare Australia is NOT making a profit from the sale of the caps. To buy the Landcare cap please click here.

For more information, please call (03) 9738 0879.

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If you have a story or event to promote, please email the Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator for the Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board, Jim Mead, at jim.mead@sa.gov.au.

The Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator Program is funded by the Australian Government's National Landcare Program.

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