Healthy Landscapes

The Practical Regenerative Agricultural Communities - Healthy Landscapes - program is being delivered as a partnership between Hepburn Shire Council, Macedon Ranges Shire Council, the City of Greater Bendigo, A Healthy Coliban Catchment project (North Central Catchment Management Authority and Coliban Water), Melbourne Water and the Upper Campaspe Landcare Network.

The program complements Council’s Artisan Agriculture Project and ZNET Hepburn programs, Coliban Water and the North Central Catchment Management Authority’s Healthy Coliban Catchment Project and the Upper Campaspe Landcare Network's Pollinator Corridor Project

Healthy Landscapes

We offer the following programs about regenerative agricultural practices to help you improve your land, soil, water and livestock:

  • Individual, free, on-farm advice
  • Webinars, workshops and field days
  • Holistic Grazing Management short course
  • Farmer discussion groups

The program aims to help you identify and implement practical land management practices to:

  • Improve your grazing
  • Improve productivity
  • Improve soil health
  • Improve biodiversity
  • Improve waterway health

How to get involved

All land managers in Hepburn Shire, Macedon Ranges Shire and the City of Greater Bendigo are eligible to participate. Priority for individual, free, on-farm advice will be given to properties over two hectares in area. Individual advice is practical and matched to any experience level and livestock grazing enterprises including, but not limited to, cattle, sheep, horses, pigs and alpacas.

To book a free property visit, fill out the expression of interest form.

Upcoming events

Horse focused Discussion Group

WHEN – 29 January 2023 at 10pm

EVENT – Face to Face, in the paddock, field day

Sustainable summer grazing of horses with the property also host to agisted horses. Come and learn together how to graze with a small impact on the landscape.

 Book Now

Romsey - Grazing and Farming Discussion Group

WHEN – 24 February 2023 at 6.30am - 8.30 pm

EVENT – Face to Face, in the paddock, field day

Join Jason McAinch to discuss how the property owner is grazing, within their context, trading cattle on to the property for approx. six months. Learn from each other and discuss the situations on your own property.

The location of the field day is on a property between Romsey and Hesket.

Once registered, the property address will be sent to you prior to the event.

Book Now

Small Property Grazing Course

WHEN –Friday 24 February 2023

EVENT – Face to face course

Expression of interest are still being taken for the small property course. The course is structured for property managers with less than 20 hectares (50 acres) and having grazing livestock (horses, sheep, cattle, alpacas etc). Beginning 24 February at a cost of $75 per property.

Landholders in the Macedon Ranges Shire, Hepburn Shire or the City of Greater Bendigo are eligible to attend.

Pollinators on your farm: Who, where and what do they do? - webinar

WHEN – Tuesday 28 February 2023 at 7.30pm

EVENT – Online Webinar

In this webinar, we will talk about which insects (and some other animals) pollinate flowers and provide other ecosystem services that keep your farm healthy and productive. We will discuss who they are, where they live, what they like to feed on and what they need to survive.

Book Now

Pollinator Farm Walk - Sedgwick: Promoting pollinators on your farm

WHEN – Sunday 5 March 2023 10 am

EVENT – Face to Face, in the paddock, field day

We will take a farm walk to see some pollinators in action, discuss where they can live and how to promote a healthy functioning farm full of diverse pollinators.

Book Now

Understanding and Managing Soil Biology on your farm Workshop

WHEN – Wednesday 8 March 2023 10am - 2.30 pm

EVENT – Face to face course, in the paddock, field day

Join the Healthy Landscape program in welcoming Declan McDonald to a workshop to share his knowledge on soils, (physical, chemical and biological) and then travel to a farm property that is starting their journey in applying regenerative agricultural practices.

Declan has over 30 years’ experience in soil and landscape management and is convinced of the intelligence of natural systems. He has authored / co-authored a number of publications aimed at improving understanding and management of soil as a living realm. The focus of this workshop is to maximise the productive capacity of the soil through promotion of biological activity supported by carefully selected fertilisers and other inputs. The aim is to provide participants with tools to leave their land in better condition, improve profitability, and reduce stress.

Lunch included.

Property location details will be emailed out 72 hours and 2 hour before the event to all registered participants.

Book Now

Equiculture Workshop Malmsbury

WHEN - 10 March 2023 9.30 am - 3.00 pm

EVENT - Face to face course, in the paddock, field day

Do not miss this opportunity with Stuart & Jane back in their old stomping ground!

Equiculture – short for equine permaculture – is a holistic horse property management program.

Jane and Stuart Myers' workshops are aimed at horse owners that either own land (including livery/boarding/agistment owners), lease land, or keep their horse/s on agistment/boarding (so that’s everyone who owns or manages a horse!). Learn how to make changes in horse and land management that improve the 'lifestyle' of horses and people and at the same time greatly benefit the wider environment. A true win-win-win situation.

Cost $50.

Lunch and morning tea included.

Book Now

Fencing and troughs Field day

WHEN - Kyneton Thursday 16 March 2023 at 10am

              Marong Thursday 23 March 2023 at 10am

EVENT - Face to face course, in the paddock, field day

Come and see a practical demonstration of some moveable and semi-permanent fencing options along with moveable trough options. We will be investigating how these movable fences and troughs combine to improve grazing management.

Book Now - Kyneton

Book Now - Marong

Dung Beetle Field Days

WHEN - Romsey 30 March 2023     10.30am - 12.30 pm

            - Goornong Date TBC           6.30 pm - 8.30 pm

EVENT - Face to face, in the paddock, field day

What beetles are in my area? Find out why dung beetles important to my farm ecosystem, how you can attract them and possibly rear more.

Workshop will be followed by an on-site farm walk to locate some dung beetles.

Book Now - Romsey

Book Now - Goornong

Previous workshops and recordings

Integrated Weed Management

This webinar looks at how you can get to know your weeds and increase your understanding of a range of control techniques and strategic practices. Learn that the target of any weed management is about using the suitable control at the correct time with the appropriate follow up limiting spread and importantly limiting re-infestation.

https://youtu.be/5EvMEyoEM88

Grass and Pasture ID webinar

In this webinar, environmental scientist Dr Graeme Lorimer shows how to identify, understand and manage wild (non-planted) grasses. This webinar is being held in partnership with Port Phillip & Westernport CMA with the support of the Victorian Government.

https://youtu.be/aUeMSEJCGCQ

Transition from spring to summer feeding

Brian Wehlburg, from Holistic Management International and The Savory Institute, talks about how to transition from spring to summer feeding. Be inspired by Brian’s passion for environmental improvement and grazing management.

https://youtu.be/WZWuH0tngyg

Compost research and Natural Capital Accounting in agriculture

Hear from La Trobe University's Dr. Jim Radford on some local research and trials with compost used in an agricultural setting.

Jim is involved in a project that is measuring a range of different aspects of environmental performance. These include ecosystem integrity, soil condition, greenhouse gas balance, resource use efficiency and biodiversity impact.

The Natural Capital Accounting framework is being co-designed with farmers to ensure the accounts are understandable, trusted and provide useful information for farmers and their customers. By demonstrating the value of natural capital for profitable farming, the aim is to elucidate and promote farming practices that have positive outcomes for the natural resource base that underpins agriculture. This could lead to the possibility that farmers could capitalise on their sustainable practices.

https://youtu.be/XD7sfnwsLQg

Central Victorian Climate Today, Tomorrow and the Future

This event was delivered in partnership with the Healthy Landscapes program and the Bureau of Meteorology.

Felicity Gamble, Senior Climatologist, Extended and Long-range Forecasts, from the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM), presents forecasts for the upcoming three months and for the future (~2035) for central Victoria. Felicity also shared some useful tools and materials developed by the BoM and AgVic.

https://youtu.be/0CiK2n773XM

Free webinars with local farmers

These webinars, held in 2021, feature local farmers talking about their experience of regenerative agriculture. Webinar recordings are available on the links below.

Darren Cater, a beef cow and calf farmer at Monegeetta. Watch the recording.

https://youtu.be/9GYi3Ul0Bmk

Paul Righetti, a Yandoit farmer who farms sheep, cattle and pasture raised hens. Watch the recording.

https://youtu.be/21RMEqfSngQ

Aaron Demeo, farmer in Raywood with merino and white suffolk sheep, crops, and contract rears dairy heifers. Watch the recording.

https://youtu.be/dvmpLOVht60

Understanding your farm soil webinar series

This webinar series covers soil biology testing, soil carbon and organic matter. There are five videos in the playlist below. Click on the playlist drop-down arrow that says 1/5, to select the video you would like to watch.

Video 1: Soil testing - Understanding your farm soil

Video 2: Soil carbon with Dr Fiona Robertson

Video 3: Soil carbon

Video 4: Organic matter - Part 1

Video 5: Organic matter - Part 2

https://youtu.be/RVKT8NsiYTk?list=PLDL0DuUuk5RjB5iNOqcbpUSnts_GvHXe9

Managing pastures in a changing climate

World-renowned farmer Colin Seis shares how to establish and maintain flourishing pastures while improving soil health in an ever-changing climate.

Part 1: https://youtu.be/tx2SOdKTNhk

Part 2: https://youtu.be/GoEjPJ9MV38

Ecological burns – the benefits

Ecological planned burning is a land management tool applied to promote positive benefits for a local environment.

Benefits include stimulating dormant seed banks in the soil profile, reducing the vigour of, or eliminating, weeds, nutrient cycling and the removal of biomass ... all of which promote biodiversity and ecosystem health.

https://youtu.be/Thcnr2FjSl4

What is regenerative grazing?

Regenerative grazing aims to increase perennial pasture species, including native grasses, while also increasing species diversity. Through high intensity grazing regimes followed by long rest periods, the approach increases the organic matter in soils and facilitates all year round ground cover, protecting soils from sunlight and erosion. This approach increases soil health and improves water retention and drainage. Livestock benefit from a consistent and complete diet which results in improved health and productivity.

On-farm biodiversity

Biodiversity refers to the diversity of life forms on a property, a locality and your region. This includes the micro-organisms found in soils and water, fungi, plants, insects, birds and all other animals that live on land, in rivers and in wetlands. These life forms interact between themselves and with the non-living parts of the environment to form ecosystems. Healthy ecosystems benefit farms through maintaining soil and water quality, providing shelter and a balanced diet for livestock while assisting with reducing pests and diseases. In turn, on-farm biodiversity has the potential to connect positively with the ecosystems of neighbouring properties and surrounding bushland.

Holistic agricultural practice resources

Videos
  • Allan Savoury’s Ted Talk on YouTube. Allan’s work is in the more brittle environment of Africa, although his work practices are transferrable.
  • An Introduction to Regenerative Agriculture on YouTube. Produced in West Gippsland.
  • Dr. Christine Jones, founder of Amazing Carbon, is an Australian soil scientist who has various stories and interviews. Search ‘Christine Jones Amazing Carbon’ on YouTube.
  • Moveable fencing, instructional videos by KiwiTech with good examples of single wire and three wire sheep packs. Whilst we are not recommending this brand above others, some of their products have strengths.
Books
  • “Call of the Reed Warbler” by Charles Massy. The book is an in-depth look at regenerative agriculture from Australian Charles Massy.
  • “Dirt to Soil” by Gabe Brown. Gabe Brown has also worked with Ray Archuleta and, together, they have a range of YouTube presentations, as well as more resources on their website Understanding Ag.

Caring for Country resource

The Caring For Country Sustainable Land Management Guide is aimed at landholders who want to better manage their land. It includes an introduction to our indigenous heritage, the value of biodiversity and the importance of being a good neighbour.

The guide offers practical information including links to organisations and agencies that can help landholders to build their knowledge of sustainable farming practices. With more information at hand, landowners can make better decisions to ensure their land is economically and environmentally sustainable.

 

 

 

 

For more information, email Jason McAinch, the Private Land Conservation Officer at jmcainch@mrsc.vic.gov.au