Weerite Landcare News 2011

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Weerite AGM
The 2011 Weerite Landcare Group Annual General Meeting was held on the 5th of October at the Commercial Hotel in Camperdown. Nineteen people attended the meeting and dinner. Congratulations to the elected office bearers - President: Robert Manifold, Secretary: Alister Nash and Treasurer: Scott Johnstone.

Guest speaker was local biological farmer Craig ‘Reggie’ Davis, who shared his experiences and findings with biological farming practises. Many Australian farmers are seeking alternatives to practices which involve high levels of pesticides and high analysis fertilisers. Biological farming is one such alternative which presents viable methods of producing high quality crops with reduced dependence on inorganic fertilisers, pesticides or gene modification.

A big thank you to everyone who attended and a special thank you to Craig Davis for presenting, and to the Commercial Hotel staff for a fantastic venue and dinner!
If you would like more information about biological farming practices, please contact us at the Lismore Landcare office on 55 962 384 or llpg@westnet.com.au or visit these websites: http://www.bioag.com.au or http://www.bfa.com.au/

Seed Collecting Grant
The Weerite Landcare Group has also received $13 000 through the Corangamite Landcare Grant from the Corangamite CMA to collect and propagate seedlings from aged remnant paddock trees scattered throughout predominantly cleared farming land in the Weerite / Pomborneit area.

The seedlings grown from the local seed will be used in Weerite Landcare Group revegetation projects. As part of this project protective fencing will be erected to incorporate scattered remnant paddock trees and / or stony barriers into new biodiversity shelterbelts to enhance the condition, connectivity and resilience within the landscape.

The project aims to work across farm boundaries to protect and enhance remnant vegetation, raise awareness of the importance of scattered remnant paddock trees, bring landholders together to work on a local issue and provide increased native habitat.

Dung Beetle Information Day and Farm Walk
Dean Suckling from Agri-Doo visited Weerite last Friday to give a presentation on dung beetle species in the area, and the benefits of farming with dung beetles. Members of the Weerite Landcare Group were able to bring in beetles they had collected from their paddocks, where they could be compared to other areas and identified.

Dung beetles can remove a cowpat in a matter of hours by burying it in the ground. This rapid processing can help to increase forage availability, reduce flies, control parasites and reduce the spread of animal disease. We are currently at the beginning of a dung beetle ‘season’, where new juvenile dung beetles are hatching and starting their own dung processing cycle. However each species is only highly active for part of the year, so having a number of different species present on your property will ensure some activity at different times of the year.

The information session was followed by a farm walk on the Hay property in Weerite, where a number of dung beetle species were found and indentified. The species which were found to be most active on the walk was Onthophagus binodis, but other species such as Euoniticellus fulvus were also found. Onthophagus taurus was found in a sample of dung from Derrinallum. Even though O. taurus were not found on the farm walk, it would be expected that this species would also be found following prolonged warm wet weather.

If you are interested in more information about dung beetles and the farming benefits, please contact us at the Landcare Office (55 962 384 llpg@westnet.com.au), or Agri-Doo Nutrient Management Services (soon changing to EnProve Ag and Environment) on 0448 866 205 or agridoo.com.au

If you have found beetles on your property and would like to send them for identification, either contact us on the above details, or follow these instructions:

  • Collect a dung pat and put in a bucket of water. Act quickly before beetles can crash dive into the ground
  • Collect beetles as they float to the surface
  • Kill beetles in hot water or putting in the freezer
  • dry beetles for two days on newspaper
  • place into matchbox without cotton wool or sticky tape
  • include date, location and address with phone number, and self addressed envelope for return of information
  • Send beetles to Agri-doo or John Feehan at SoilCAM for identification:
    SoilCAM 3 Prell Place Hackett, ACT 2602. Phone: 02 62480376

Thank you to Robert Manifold who hosted the day, Peter and Mary Hay who let us use their property for the farm walk, Dean Suckling from Agri-Doo for coming down and identifying beetles, and the Weerite Hall caterers for supplying and amazing lunch!