Farmers Connect EP

December 2023


It’s great to hear about (and see) so many Eyre Peninsula farmers getting harvest finished early. Let’s hope it’s smooth sailing for the rest of the season, especially for those who still have a fair way to go.

With our region now entering an El Niño weather system, we know things are going to dry out even more in the coming months. Our website has a range of farming resources including a farming in hard times section that may be helpful if needed.

We also have information in this newsletter about looking after waterholes in dry times.

This newsletter has been a way to keep the EP farming community updated about our Regenerative Agriculture Program. This program finished in June and we hope to have details of our new sustainable agriculture program ready to share with you early next year. In the meantime, all the best for a safe and healthy festive season (and a good finish to harvest for those still going).

From the Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board

Weed control in flood area

Landholders in eastern Eyre Peninsula who were affected by flooding in January 2022 are encouraged to get involved in a weed control program being coordinated by the Department of Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA).

Starting this month, PIRSA is implementing a first round of summer weed control targeting caltrop, fleabane, saffron thistle and silverleaf nightshade as well as African boxthorn and invasive cacti.

Contractors will carry out the work, largely through spraying in non-crop areas.

If you are interested in participating in the program, contact: Harry Missen, PIRSA Biosecurity Officer on 0456 431 807 or email by December 10.

See PIRSA's website for more information including a detailed map of the weed control program area.

Learn from local farmers

Our Regenerative Agriculture Program supported Eyre Peninsula farmers to trial sustainable land management practices that could benefit their farming program.

Learn from the Eyre Peninsula farmer trials by taking a look at the case studies on our website. Here’s a snapshot from just two of these case studies.

• An eastern EP farmer changed their business to suit their low-rainfall climate with a focus on improving soil cover and grazing potential through planting multi-species pasture. Find out more.

• A lower EP farmer trialled deep ripping combined with mixed species to see if it would improve production and soil health. Read this case study.

Preparing waterholes for dry times

Soaks, springs and waterholes exist through many Eyre Peninsula farming areas and are important sources of water for stock and farm use – even more so during dry times like our current El Niño weather pattern.

Best practice management of these water sources is increasingly important during this time, says our Senior Water Resources Officer, Dave Cunningham.

“In dry times, surface water supplies such as dams, creeks and lakes, can become scarce with soaks, springs and waterholes becoming more relied upon by landholders for water – for stock and domestic use – as well as for wildlife,” says Mr Cunningham.

“Soaks, springs and waterholes can have fragile environments including the groundwater systems that support them, so it’s really important that they are cleaned out with care.

“If you are looking to clean out or desilt a spring, soak or waterhole, it is recommended to contact the Board and speak to a landscape officer before any works are started to make sure you are doing it in a way that aligns with best practice and meets the required conditions, to help protect these water sources.”

While many other water source amendments require a Water Affecting Activity permit, cleaning out or desilting springs, soaks or waterholes do not. However, there are conditions regarding what is required for such works. Find out more in our fact sheet.

This soak in a watercourse is well-managed as it is fenced from stock so water quality is improved by good habitat; and water for stock is pumped to a nearby tank and trough.

Managing local Mallee seeps

Our three-year Mallee seeps project has wrapped-up, resulting in more knowledge about how to treat Mallee seeps on Eyre Peninsula farming land. A series of videos is available on our website to assist farmers with management options for Mallee seeps.

A key takeaway from the project is that Eyre Peninsula farmers should proactively monitor and address Mallee seeps, rather than allowing degraded areas to form, expand, and go out of production.

The worst scenario is to allow areas to remain damp and bare over the hot summer and autumn.

When seep areas remain damp and bare during the warmer months, salinity can become an issue due to evaporation. Sowing summer-active species such as sorghum and millet directly over these patches to establish and maintain living cover, and to utilise excess moisture until seeding time, is an acceptable management strategy for cropping systems. However, the best long-term management strategy has proven to be halting recharge by planting deep-rooted perennials.

For more information about our project, take a look at

Priority pest plants

In Australia, weeds have major economic, environmental and social impacts, causing damage to natural landscapes, agricultural land, waterways and coastal areas.

There are over 500 introduced species in Australia that are considered weeds with 32 that are classed as Weeds of National Significance.

On Eyre Peninsula, we have 16 weeds that we particularly focus on from Buffel grass and White weeping broom to Bridal Veil and Khaki weed.

Some of these weeds are also Weeds of National Significance such as African boxthorn.

To help with boxthorn control right across Australia, the Australian Government has funded the revision of the National Best Practice Management Manual for African Boxthorn. The manual provides information on best practice management for effective long-term control of African Boxthorn.

This resource, along with other useful information on lots of weeds, is available on the Weeds Australia website.

We have fact sheets available for our 16 priority pest plants. Under the Landscape South Australia Act, 2019, land managers have a responsibility to control these pest plants. Our landscape officers can provide control advice. Find your closest EP Landscape Board office.

Plant health field walks this week

An international plant health specialist is visiting Eyre Peninsula this week and will share her knowledge with farmers at 3 field days at Ungarra, Minnipa and Cleve.

There’s still time to register for the two final sessions at Minnipa and Cleve.

The visit has been organised by the Sap Analysis Group of farmers, supported by Ag Innovation and Research Eyre Peninsula and one of our Grassroots Grants.

Attendees are encouraged to watch a recording of webinar 4 from the online series Harriet delivered for this project last month. Register and then watch by following this link.

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. Subscribe for the weekly newsletter.

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.

EP Landscape Board newsletter
Our newsletter keeps the community informed about our priorities such as pest plant and animal control, as well as grant opportunities and key work that we've been undertaking. Subscribe now.

Government of South Australia