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February 2022

Five new soil carbon trials
Repairing water sources after storms
Mixed species pasture as medic alternative for sheep and erosion control
Upcoming events for landholders
Has it been raining near you lately?
Seasonal conditions up to end of December
Useful (and free) subscriptions
Regenerative agriculture newsletter

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

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.

In this edition of Farmers Connect we cover storm recovery, soil carbon grants and upcoming events for landholders.

If you have been affected by the January storms, PIRSA's flood management page may be a useful resource. We are also available to help with water source issues, pest control and soil erosion - read more in our 'repairing water sources after storms' story. This Landline video shows some of the impacts of the rain (good and bad) for Kimba farmers including landscape Board member Justine Major.

Brett Masters from PIRSA, Richard Norris from Nutrien Ag Solutions and Eyre Peninsula farmer Alex Piip at Alex’s farm where one of the grant demonstrations will take place at Butler, near Port Neill.

Five new soil carbon trials

Five Eyre Peninsula farmers are preparing to trial treatments and planting options, which will test out regenerative agriculture practices for improving soil carbon thanks to our grants program.

“The Eyre Peninsula has large areas of agricultural land that is subject to acidification; as well as having a significant proportion of soils at moderate to severe risk of wind erosion and soils with low organic carbon - our Regenerative Agriculture Program grants focus on giving farmers an opportunity to trial methods that can help address these issues,” says AIR EP Executive Officer, Naomi Scholz.

“We look forward to supporting local farmers with these five new grants and seeing the results that they achieve.”

The five new grants will see demonstrations set up on five farms with support from Tumby Bay based agronomist with Nutrien Ag Solutions, Richard Norris. The demonstrations will be based at properties near Louth Bay, Port Neill, Miltalie and Koppio.

“These grants are a great initiative to start doing some work to address soil issues in these areas,” says Richard Norris. “Land is becoming hard to come by and expensive, so it is important to improve what we do have.

“There has been a focus on trying to improve the bridge between low and high yield to increase averages. This is where we need to identify what constraints we’re dealing with.

“It can be difficult to diagnose the best solution to the problem but the solution needs to be profitable and have a positive impact on soil health.

“These grants will give us local examples of soil carbon improvement opportunities, and narrow down the best treatments for specific issues that we’re facing in this region, while easing the expenses associated with these amelioration treatments.”

Read more…

Storm damage at a property in eastern Eyre Peninsula.

Repairing water sources after storms

In the aftermath of significant rain events across the Eyre Peninsula, the Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board is offering support and guidance to those who need to repair waterways or water sources.

Under the Landscape Act South Australia 2019, permits are required for water affecting activities such as construction or modifications to waterways, dams and crossings, however there are some exemptions for emergency repairs. In the local Water Affecting Activity Control Policy there are permit exemptions for emergency repairs to a culvert or causeway as a result of a flood event, as long as standards are met, the work is undertaken within 12 months and the Board is notified of the works.

If you would like advice on repairing or modifying waterways and water related infrastructure, please see our Water Affecting Activities web page for a range of resources or call the Board’s Water Resources Officer on 0428 815 487.

In addition to water source issues, the Board is aware that the emergence of declared weeds and the need for priority control activities will arise; along with soil and water erosion impacting farming land.

If there’s a water source, weed or agriculture issue you’d like to talk to us about, please contact Tim Breuer who is leading the Board's severe weather response team. Tim can be contacted via email timothy.breuer@sa.gov.au or on 0488 000 481.

More information...

Mixed species pasture as medic alternative for sheep and erosion control

The Schaefer family run a mixed cropping and sheep enterprise at Pinkawillinie, north west of Kimba.They have accessed one of our small grants to trial mixed pasture species for grazing, to complement their medic based pastures.

They found that their sheep performed well on the multi-species pasture, and that they provided earlier ground cover and persisted for longer than the traditional medic species. They think multi-species pasture could have a role in smaller areas through the winter period, but seed costs probably prohibit large scale adoption.

To learn more, see the full case study.

And if you’d like to trial a multi-species pasture on your place, our soil cover grants are open all year round for applications.

Photos: top shows the early emergence of the mixed species in autumn 2020 and then in early spring 2020.

Upcoming events for landholders

Multi-species cover cropping on western EP

Details: A free half day workshop will be held at Streaky Bay on 18 March to discuss multi-species cover cropping with local and interstate farmers. There will be opportunities to ask questions and work out how such an approach might work for farmland on western EP.

Are you interested in the role of multi-species cover cropping, but find it confusing? Would you like to hear how some farmers are using multi-species pastures to both improve their livestock production, but also have better soil cover? Are you wanting to know more about the kinds of species that might work, and the cost involved? Come along to this workshop to find out more.

Regenerative Agriculture Forum

Details: We are hosting a Regenerative Agriculture Forum on 31 March in Port Lincoln.

The forum will feature presentations and discussion from:

  • CSIRO’s Dr Mark Farrell about recent multi-species cover crop research including soil microbial investigations, and
  • Dr Amanda Schapel (SARDI) who will present about soil amelioration and soil carbon.

There will also be presentations by local farming practitioners and an extended panel discussion.

The forum is targeted towards growers, advisors and researchers, and all those interested in the interplay between cover crops, soil modification, soil biology, soil carbon and sustainable agriculture systems.

For further information about these two events or to RSVP, contact Josh Telfer 0460 000 290 or susag@airep.com.au.

Mallee seeps technical workshop

Details: A hands-on training workshop will be held on March 9 for landholders who want to know more about identifying and managing Mallee seeps, held at Rudall Sports Club.

The workshop will include site visits. The aim is to help landholders return their seep-affected land back into profitable production. The workshop will also cover options to assess and manage threatened areas after the big wet.

Workshop participants will be encouraged to submit photos and GPS points of their suspected or identified seeps / scalds, prior to the workshop. Register by February 28.

For more information about the Mallee seeps workshop, contact Amy Wright on 0467 004 555.

Fox bait distribution

On typical EP farming land, there's estimated to be up to 1,200 foxes in any 10km radius. To help landholders control foxes, free meat fox baits will be distributed by the Board across the Eyre Peninsula from February 23 to March 15. Find locations closest to you.

Has it been raining near you lately?

In January, some places received record breaking falls. The image  from the week ending 28 January, shows the signifcant falls across the region, particularly in the north-east of EP. The highest falls recorded by the BOM were 230 mm at Cowell (Winter Springs), 202 mm at Buckleboo (Karinya), and 201 mm at Kimba, which are up with the highest falls for anywhere in Australia for the same period.

Managing mosquitos after heavy rains

With the recent significant rainfall across Eyre Peninsula, the occurrence of water laying in paddocks and around residences is attracting high numbers of mosquitos. SA heath have an informative factsheet on managing mosquitos on private property after floods.

Plant Growth Index for Eyre Peninsula - A measure of soil cover relative to the 2008-2017 period.

Seasonal conditions up to end of December

The review of the seasonal conditions and erosion risk for the October to December 2021 quarter by the Department of Environment and Water (DEW), has again shown the generally positive trend from the previous quarter with generally above average trend in the Plant Growth Index. This was helped by good rainfall across upper EP in November (right in the middle of harvest!) which helped maintain cover levels.

This is not the case elsewhere in parts of South Australia, which continued to have challenges maintaining cover levels over the summer. Having good cover helps with both wind and water erosion prevention, with the latter recently being more significant on EP given the extremely high rainfall totals around the end of January.

It was disappointing to see crop weather damage occurring following the burst of rain in November. However, this did take the pressure off the land cover level. The year 2021 ended up being a much-improved cover year than when it started.

Useful (and free) subscriptions

Want more ag info delivered to your inbox? Try these:

The Fast Break and The Very Fast Break
Get the latest seasonal climate risk information, including details of oceanic and atmospheric climate driver activities for Victoria, South Australia, Southern NSW and Tasmania.

AIR EP newsletter
Agricultural events and information specific to Eyre Peninsula farmers.

Soils Community of Practice newsletter (Vic)
You will receive regular newsletters containing news items, events and announcements that are of interest to our broad soils community. Even though this group is based in Victoria, we find it contains information that is relevant across the ag sector.

Eyre Peninsula Landscape news is the Board's quarterly update on work that is happening across the region including sustainable agriculture, water management, biodiversity and pest control activities. Subscribe.


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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