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Regional Landcare News | Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board

May 2022


Feral goats decimate pasture and crops, cause erosion and impact on our natural ecosystems. Photo credit: Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board.


Table of contents

Woodside students pitch in again!
Plants that can be poisonous for livestock
Fleurieu Farming Systems Soilkee Demonstration Field Day
Eastern Mt Lofty Ranges regenerative agriculture group kicks off
Future Drought Fund’s Science to Practice Forum 7 - 9 June
The Very Fast Break - with Dale Grey
Local Landcare Legends – Macclesfield Bushcare Group
'Looking Underground' soils field day a hit
MLA 'Grass to Dollars' courses - Strathalbyn
First Nations News – Raukkan: The Home And Heartland Of Ngarrindjeri Country - Bill Wilson interview on the ABC
Climate Smart Farming Forum - Friday June 3 Lobethal
Heifers for Profit course
Soil Resilience: Farming for the Fleurieu Forum 9 June
Upcoming events for your calendar​​​

Feral goats and deer firmly in the sights of Landscape Board

The Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board is leading a long-term program to reduce the environmental and agricultural impacts caused by feral goats and deer across the region.

The Regional Grazing Pressure Management program is funded through the Landscape Levy and is being delivered in partnership with the Department for Environment and Water’s National Parks and Wildlife Service, Green Adelaide, ForestrySA, SA Water, and private landholders, to control feral goats and deer, which are declared pests under the Landscape South Australia Act 2019.

Tom Kloeden, Regional Coordinator for Grazing Pressure Management at the Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board, said the program uses a coordinated approach in priority areas to deliver reductions in the populations of both feral goats and deer.

“Grazing pressure, particularly from feral goats and deer, has substantial impacts on primary production, water catchments, native vegetation and threatened flora and fauna and this program is using a strategic and coordinated approach to managing the issue.

“We are using a combination of staff-led operations, specialist contractors and volunteers to deliver the program, which is very much targeted at the long-term eradication of feral goats from the Hills and Fleurieu region,” he said.

A recent two-day aerial goat control operation in Montacute, covering 1400 ha of Forestry SA, SA Water, and DEW land, as well as four private properties, resulted in the removal of 323 feral goats and 6 deer, using 10 hours of helicopter flight time. A further 110 goats were removed by trapping and ground shooting.

In 2021, the aerial operation in Montacute covered 800ha and resulted in the removal of 454 feral goats. This site has been a particularly important focus following the Cudlee Creek bushfire, due to the feral goat’s ability to impact regenerating native vegetation and erode fragile soils.

Control operations are also undertaken at various priority sites across the Hills and Fleurieu as sub-populations are identified.

For more of this story, click here.


The plants being grown at Woodside Primary School will be used for watercourse restoration, including protecting permanent water pools, restoring habitat for the Bassian Thrush, and other projects. Photo credit: Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board

Woodside students pitch in again!

Enthusiastic volunteer students at Woodside Primary School are once again helping creeks in the Cudlee Creek fire scar to thrive into the future.

The school continues its tradition of helping our landscape recover from bushfire, with 29 students in year 5 and 6 getting their hands dirty at a transplant day last month. They follow the great work of year 7 students last year, who also grew plants for fire recovery.

The students pitched in to transplant 150 Drooping She-oak seedlings (Allocasuarina verticillata) into plant tubes, ready for growing on and planting out.

While students helped out, Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board project officer Billy-Jo Brewer explained the importance of sedges and rushes, as well trees and shrubs, in creating a food web that supports all the fauna that live in a creek by providing habitat for the insects that are then eaten by fish, amphibians and birds.

This project is being delivered by the Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board in partnership with the Department of Primary Industries and Regions. This Local Economic Recovery project is jointly funded by the South Australian and Australian Governments under the National Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.


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Yellow Oleander affects cattle more than sheep.Photo credit: Brisbane City Council

Plants that can be poisonous for livestock

There are many common plants we can see in pastures that can cause an issue for our livestock. Most often they need to be eaten in large quantities or consistently over long period of time to see obvious detrimental impacts but some can be much more potent. Here is a summary of some of the most common poisonous plants seen in our region that effect sheep and cattle.

Soursob (Oxalis pes-caprae) poisoning can affect both sheep and cattle and is usually seen around July due to increased plant growth. The plants contain oxalates, which cause kidney damage, usually seen as anaemia or ill thrift and can also contribute to hypocalcaemia (milk fever).

Capeweed (Arctotheca calendula) can affect all ruminants, with toxicity is mostly likely from rapid large intake of the plant. The toxic component are the nitrates which can cause methemoglobnaemia, affecting the oxygen transport capacity of the blood. Signs can include dark/muddy coloured gums, rapid, weak heart beat, weakness or tremors and can lead to sudden death. Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) also contains this toxin.

Yellow Oleander (Thevetia peruviana) affects cattle more than sheep. The toxic components are cardiac glycosides, which occur in all parts of the plant, although the kernels of the fruit are most toxic. This toxin causes changes to the speed and rhythm of the heart and can be fatal. More mild ingestions may cause other gastrointestinal signs or impact the animals breathing.

For a complete list of plants poisonous for livestock, subscribe to the Willunga and Aldinga Veterinary Services MOOSletter from April 2022 here.

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Farmers inspect the disc chain at the Fleurieu Farming Systems field day. Photo credit: John Butler

Fleurieu Farming Systems Soilkee Demonstration Field Day

Over 40 farmers attended a Fleurieu Farming Systems field day at Willow Creek last Friday to see Derek Walter to demonstrate his Soilkee seeding machine and multi species fodder crops germinating in paddocks that were planted a few weeks earlier.

The Soilkee machine only disturbs 17% of the soil while making a seed bed for germinating pasture plant seeds, leaving the other 83 % of the soil undisturbed. Derek’s main reason for purchasing the Soilkee was to seed diverse pasture species into Kikuyu without using chemicals.

The group then moved to a second property to view a disc chain demonstration from Kelly Engineering which was able to dig up Kikuyu to help control it without using chemical herbicides.

The strong attendance by local farmers showed a healthy demand for knowledge about alternative pasture seeding and weed control techniques amongst local Hills and Fleurieu farmers.

As a follow up to the recent field day, Kelly Systems are kindly offering the use of their unit for free on-farm trials.

The unit is currently at Waitpinga and could be towed locally. Beyond that, it needs to be loaded onto a semi-trailer and off-loaded with a heavy lifter (weight 2 to 3 tonnes) or using a ramp.

Other requirements:
- Gateways at least 4m wide
- Plenty of turning room (length about 7m)
- Tractor in excess of 110hp

If you are interested please contact Geoffrey Swincer, (secretary Parawa Ag Bureau) on gswincer@internode.on.net

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The Eastern Mt Lofty Ranges Regenerative Agriculture group met in late April. Photo credit: Jim Mead

Eastern Mt Lofty Ranges regenerative agriculture group kicks off

A beautiful autumn Saturday in late April greeted land holders for the inaugural meeting and farm walk of the Eastern Mt Lofty Ranges Regenerative Agriculture group. The group is part of the wider Hills and Fleurieu Regenerative Agriculture network, made up of 4 such groups. The group met at Tumbelin Farm near Macclesfield.

After a cuppa and informal networking, farm manager Dave Lohmeyer guided the group on a farm walk around the property, showing their unique turkey trailer, the farm’s low flow device and revegetation along the creek line. The group had some robust discussions around rotational grazing, how often stock should be moved and different ways to calculate how much pasture a herd could get through before moving them on.

Returning to the shed, the group discussed topics they would like to cover in future meetings. Overall, the morning was a great success, with some neighbours meeting for the first time! The group will meet bi-monthly, with Rowena Danks from GWLAP facilitating the group going forward. To find out more or to join the group, contact Jim Mead  - jim.mead@sa.gov.au or Rowena Danks -  Rowena.danks@gwlap.org.au

The Central Hills regenerative agriculture group held their 3rd meeting and farm walk at Mt Torrens on May 7 and had a great roll up. The groups is planning a farm bus tour as one of their future activities, as well as a range of guest speakers.

The Future Farmers /Upper Fleurieu regenerative agriculture group also held a field day on May 7, with the topic of revegetation as the focus. Guest presenter Sean Kennedy from SA Water took the group through the steps required for successful revegetation projects.

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The Future Drought Fund's Science to Practice Forum is on from the 7 - 9 June

Future Drought Fund’s Science to Practice Forum 7 - 9 June

The program for the Future Drought Fund’s Science to Practice Forum, 7 - 9 June, is out now!

Speakers at this year’s free event include farmers, ag tech entrepreneurs, leading researchers, natural resource managers, resilience experts and industry group representatives.

The forum is also a chance to see and hear how the 8 Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs across Australia are harnessing innovative tools and technologies to help farmers and communities and Future Drought Fund program leaders will share opportunities for you to become more drought resilient.

Read the program and register here.

The Science to Practice Forum’s sessions are delivered in a hybrid format across 3 days, giving you the flexibility to attend interactive online sessions as well as in-person events in hub regions.

This means wherever you are across the country, you can connect with other farmers and practitioners and see how hub activities are helping our regions get ready for future droughts.

Watch a video on why you should join the Future Drought Fund’s Science to Practice Forum 2022 here.

We want a wide range of voices to be heard at the forum.
Please share this information throughout your networks and with rural and regional stakeholders.

Let them know you’ll be attending in person or online and encourage them to register for the forum too.

We’re looking forward to seeing you next month and sharing our progress towards building drought resilience with you then.

Future Drought Fund team

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The Very Fast Break - with Dale Grey

Dale Grey, from Agiculture Victoria, presents an update on seasonal climate drivers and outlooks for autumn in his usual quirky style. To watch the South Australian version of The Very Fast Break, click here.

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Past Maccy Bushcare monthly working bees. Photo credit: Macclesfield Community History

Local Landcare Legends – Macclesfield Bushcare Group

The May 2022 Local Landcare Legends are the Macclesfield Bushcare Group who are working on Peramangk country.

The aim of the Macclesfield Bushcare Group is a volunteer-led group working to protect, conserve and restore indigenous vegetation and fauna habitat in Macclesfield and along the Angas River.

The Bushcare group is involved in caring for the areas of remnant vegetation in the Mount Barker Council reserves in Macclesfield, an area where over 90% of the native bushland was cleared, with only a few pockets of high quality vegetation remaining. 

Their work involves careful weed control using minimal disturbance weed control methods in areas of high biodiversity, and planting local indigenous species in areas that are more highly degraded. It is pleasing to see these areas improving over time and providing improved habitat for local fauna.

Recently, an exciting find for the group has been spotting the Native Water Rat (Hydromys chrysogaster) at Crystal Lake along the Angas River. Rakalis are listed as Threatened in the Adelaide Mount Lofty Region and are protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Act Act 1972. Spotting this elusive native rodent is wonderful as they are an indicator of a healthy riparian ecosystem. Countless years of volunteers, council workers and landholders cleaning up our river is paying off! Check out the video here.

The group celebrated their 25th Anniversary in 2021 and has had a major impact on the maintenance and restoration of the Macclesfield bushland, where they focus their work. The group has recently created an Instagram page – you can see their work here.

The group’s environmental activities include weeding, seed collecting, general maintenance, plant propagation and revegetation. Working bees are held on the 1st Sunday of each month, from 9.00 am – 11.00 am. The group shares a morning tea at 11:00 am to celebrate their hard work and achievements.

To learn more about the group, check out their webpage here.

or their brochure showcasing local flora and fauna species here.

The group would love to meet some new faces. To get involved, contact the group’s Coordinator Sue Bradstreet at sbrad@hotkey.net.au

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Dr Rebecca Tonkin in a soil pit on the Mt Observation property. Photo credit: Jodie Pain

'Looking Underground' soils field day a hit

'Looking Underground', a soil Information field day, was held at Mt Observation on Tuesday May 17. The day was a organised by the Fleurieu Beef Group and Goolwa to Wellington LAP in partnership with the Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board as part of the Healthy Soils, Healthy Landscapes project.

Speakers included:
- Dr Bernard Doube, (Dung Beetles Solutions International) who spoke about the long-term effects of Dung Beetles on soil carbon and health
- Melissa Rebbeck, (New World Climate and Agriculture) who spoke about the use of biochar in Fleurieu soils and its effect on livestock
- Dr Rebecca Tonkin (Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board) showed two soil pits and spoke on the advantages and challenges of each soil type

The day was well attended and many attendees provided positive feedback on the usefulness of the information for their farming systems.

This workshop was presented by the Fleurieu Beef Group, Goolwa-Wellington LAP and the Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board, with funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

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MLA 'Grass to Dollars' courses - Strathalbyn

Applicable to all permanent pastures in the Strathalbyn Area (both annual and perennial) including the Lakes, Plains and Hills, the Grass to Dollars program takes 11-12 months.

During this time, each participant will be encouraged to take pasture management techniques and principles from the program and apply them to their own farm, review successes and failures and discuss this with other participants to work through possibel solutions.

This package is delivered over 8 half day on-farm sessions with a half day of individual coaching for a fee of $1850 ex GST.

For more information contact

Tim Prance - 0427 812 655 or

Amanda Ratcliff - 0437 903 824

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Fleurieu Landscape Board’s Aboriginal Partnerships Officer Bill Wilson speaks about Raukkan, David Unaipon and Ngarrindjeri culture on ABC radio.

First Nations News – Raukkan: The Home And Heartland Of Ngarrindjeri Country - Bill Wilson interview on the ABC

Situated on the lands of the Ngarrindjeri people and once the site of the Point MacLeay Mission, Raukkan lies on the banks of Lake Alexandrina near the mouth of the Murray River and Lake Albert.

Listen to this heartfelt interview with Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board’s Aboriginal Partnerships Officer and Ngarrindjeri man, Bill Wilson, as he talks about how Raukkan and its people have shaped and inspired his life.

Many may know Raukkan as the birthplace of David Unaipon, the inventor and author whose image, along with the mission church of Raukkan, appears on the $50 note. As you will hear, there are many others who have kept Ngarrindjeri culture and language alive through their work at Raukkan.

To hear the interview, click here.

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The forum features speakers such as Dr Christine Jones. Photo credit: John Butler

Climate Smart Farming Forum - Friday June 3 Lobethal

The Hills and Fleurieu Sustainable Agriculture team is proud to present the Climate Smart Farming Forum on Friday June 3.

“A farmer’s guide to climate and carbon”

Climate change and carbon are hot topics at the moment (pun intended) and they are of special importance to farmers. Climate effects what and how we grow on our land, while carbon is a key part of soil health and resilience.

Climate and carbon are closely linked and there is a lot of interest in using the capacity for agricultural land to store carbon as a carbon sink for businesses looking to offset their emissions.

This is a quickly evolving space and staying up to date with what it means for your farming business can be challenging. We have brought together an excellent group of experts in climate, carbon and agriculture for a Climate Smart Farming Forum to make things easier.

Join us for this free event on June 3 at Goldings Winery, Lobethal, from 9 am to 4pm.( lunch and morning tea, featuring local produce, included.)

Speakers include:
Peter Hayman (SARDI Climate Applications) - What current climate predictions mean for our region. 

Margaret Jewell (MLA) - Meat and Livestock Australia’s Carbon Neutral 30 plan, why and how they plan to get there.

Emma Winslow (PIRSA) - Primary Industries and Regions SA’s perspectives and projects relating to climate and carbon.

Amanda Schapel (SARDI Rural Solutions) - How soil carbon influences soil health and potential of soil as a carbon sink

Renowned soil biologist Dr Christine Jones - The interaction between plants, soil biology and carbon.

Ed Scott (Soil & Land Co) -Translating the science into on farm actions.

Michael Eyres (Field Systems) - as MC.

To book, click here.

To see a video of last year’s event, click here.

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Heifers for profit. Photo credit: i-Stock

Heifers for Profit course

Heifers for Profit is a course structured to maximise knowledge retention, skills development and practice change on farms.

Being involved in a Heifers for Profit course gives you the skills and confidence to manage your heifer's nutrition to improve animal welfare, optimise stocking rates and increase whole farm profitability.

Working with a group of 5-7 farmers who meet six times in a 15 month period, your trainer will work with you on a range of relevant topics.

For more information on this course, contact National Program Manager Bec Malseed on 1800 883 343 or Mobile: 0407 730 943 or e-mail bmalseed@rist.edu.au 


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Soil Resilience: Farming for the Fleurieu - will be held on June 9 in Milang

Soil Resilience: Farming for the Fleurieu Forum 9 June

If you are interested in making your soils more resilient, make sure you book in for the Soil Resilience Forum to be held in Milang on June 9. 

Presented by Michael Eyres from Field Systems and Edward Scott from Soil Land and Co., this session focuses on real farming experiences and how we can farm to protect and conserve our precious Fleurieu Peninsula soils.

To register, click here.

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Looking underground soils field day: Photo credit: Jodie Pain

Upcoming events for your calendar​​​

National Carbon Farmers Conference and Expo
Thursday 23 - 26 May 2022
Albury Entertainment Centre or online

Regenerative Agriculture Field Day with Dr Christine Jones
Wednesday June 1 2022
Lobethal/ Woodside (booked out)

Climate Smart Farming forum – guest speaker Dr Christine Jones
Friday June 3 2022

Soil Resilience: Farming for the Fleurieu forum
Thursday June 9 2022
Ace Space Milang

Future Drought Fund
Science to Practice Forum
7-9 June

National Landcare Conference
23 – 25 August 2022
Darling Harbour Sydney or online

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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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