The Mudgee Bee Group is a Watershed Landcare special interest group, providing training, peer support and mentoring to aspiring beekeepers. Each year, around July or August, we celebrate and recap our activity for the past year before we get ready for another busy spring/summer season. Check out what has kept our group busy over the past months. Membership of the Mudgee Bee Group is $84 per year. The fee incorporates membership to Watershed Landcare and the Amateur Beekeepers Association who, together, provide Mudgee Bee Group members with support such as administration, funding, insurance and technical information. All fees are to be paid to Watershed Landcare, who collect the ABA membership on their behalf. Download the Mudgee Bee Group form at http://watershedlandcare.com.au/special-interest-groups/mudgee-bee-group/.
Watershed Landcare Incorporated (WLI): This membership is per household, not individual.
If you would like more information about WLI contact Claudia Wythes, Watershed Local Landcare Coordinator, on 0412 011 064 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Amateur Beekeepers Association of NSW (ABA): This membership is per individual, so the first person named will be listed. If you would like more information about the ABA, visit their website www.beekeepers.asn.au. Additional public liability insurance can be obtained for your hives. Please speak to the Watershed Coordinator for more information.
Other responsibilities: To keep bee hives in NSW, you must be a registered Beekeeper. Your registration number must be clearly displayed on the brood-box of every hive. For more information, contact the NSW DPI Beekeeper Registration Unit on 02 6558 1707 or via email email@example.com or visit www.onegov.nsw.gov.au/New/Search/bees to register online.
Women in Ag
The aim of the Women in Agriculture group is to champion rural women by providing support, mentoring, professional development and vibrant and interactive conversation. The women involved have diverse backgrounds, from grazing and horticulture to running their own food manufacturing plants and natural resource management.
The Women in Ag group meets once a month for a cuppa and a chat and to explore a topic of interest and share skills. Specialist speakers are also engaged to run workshops on different topics. The Women in Ag group meets on the last Wednesday of the month, 9am-11am. Want to join? Contact Watershed Landcare Co-ordinator, Agness Knapik, on 0435 055 493 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Grazing Group is a special interest group of Watershed Landcare members who are interested in networking with other graziers in the district. The Grazing Group meets quarterly with meetings entailing a cuppa, some round-the table catch up on what's happening on each graziers' property, some support / new ideas / training from a guest speaker followed by a walk out in the paddock.
Topics covered so far include: Grazing Charts, a grazing management tool that gives farmers the best prediction, and earliest warning, of an oncoming drought. Comparing before/during/after grazing in some cells plus looks at some set-stocked paddocks. Managing changing feed quality heading into a dry autumn. Livestock marketing with KLR Marketing. Discussing different approaches to pasture establishment and management. This is a great opportunity to initiate and contribute to an interesting forum of proactive and progressive 'grass growers'.
Annual cost to join is $100 per business which will used to assist the Grazing Group through coordination of meetings and engaging guest speakers. If this sounds like something you'd like to be part of, contact Watershed Landcare Co-ordinator, Claudia Wythes, on 0412 011 064 or email: email@example.com.
Climate and farming
A perspective on the FCA conference by Cilla Kinross. The Farmers for Climate Action conference on 'Risks and Rewards of Farming in a Changing Climate'. An interesting talk was by Doug McNicholl, from the Meat and Livestock Australia group, about how the industry aims to be carbon neutral by 2030. Meat production contributes to greenhouse gases through methane emissions; processing; overgrazing; burning; clearing; application of fertiliser; nitrous oxide from manure, and use of diesel and farm chemicals.
McNicholl stated that the industry has reduced emissions by 56% (2005-2016). However, if you remove the amount of land not cleared for beef production, a more accurate figure is 8% over the last five years. McNicholl pointed out that the (generally grass-fed) red meat industry is more sustainable in Australia, as much of the 88% of the land used for grazing is not suited to cropping and uses less water and crop land than feed lot cattle. In feed lots, however, you can use red algae as a feed supplement to reduce methane emissions.
Some of the other talks tended to focus more on adaptation to climate change, rather than mitigation. It was made clear by Steve Crimp (ANU) that even if we hold our warming under two degrees there will be changes, with the Orange climate having higher temperatures, warmer winters, a reduction in rainfall (but more storms). Farmers will need to make transformative changes in respect of tillage, retention of crop residue, carbon sequestration, renewable energy, cattle feed, fallow extension and erosion control, not to mention a whole suite of new crops, possibly gene-modified.
It was noticeable that the 'elephant in the room' -land clearing - was mostly ignored . If groups like Farmers for Climate Action really wish to mitigate climate change, they should follow the principle (as doctors do) 'first do no harm' ie they should be pushing governments to protect native vegetation. Native woodlands are natural carbon sinks. It was suggested in response to my question about this that farmers should be subsidised to keep the bush intact and I don't disagree with that idea. If current trends continue, with only 9% native vegetation left in reasonable condition in NSW, it won't be long before the only bush left will be in national parks (and they are looking increasingly under threat of logging and grazing!). Reference: www.sustainableaustralianbeef.com.au/managing-climate-change-risk.