A resource for common land management issues on small rural properties.
The Regional Landcare Facilitator Project has recently produced a short document providing information to small rural landowners about common land management issues. Topics in the brochure include: Weeds, Pest Animals, Native Plants and Animals, Land Management Information and Resources, Farm Safety Information, Fire Information and a list of key local contacts.
This document provides key information, and links to more detailed information. The Guide was recently updated (Feb. 2015).
If you would like a printed copy of this guide, please use the Contact Us form. The following content is from the Guide.
Small Rural Property Guide
North East Victoria is a highly productive area with many agricultural industries including dairy and beef cattle, sheep and other livestock, vineyards, fruit and vegetables, berries, olive oil and more. Buying locally is not just about reducing your food miles (which is a measure of the distance food travels from where it grows or where it was raised to where you buy it) the benefits include supporting your local growers to ensure they can remain in business and having the freshest produce available for you and your family. There are local Farmer’s Markets, and the North East Local Produce Guide lists almost 100 local producers who sell either directly to you or at retail outlets throughout NE Victoria. The North East Local Produce Guide is available at www.nelocalproduce.com.au and from your local Landcare group or farmers market.
Weeds and their management can take up a large percentage of your time and money if you do not approach the task correctly. Your small rural property likely adjoins farming land and you should be mindful that fences do not stop the spread of weeds. Be a good neighbour and control weeds on your property before they spread. Weeds impact the production value of your land and some weeds can make your horses and livestock sick. If left to get out of control weeds are difficult to eradicate, and may be very expensive to treat. Contact your local landcare group as there may be funding available for some weed control programs and for further general information on weeds.
See the Weed Management Information page for links to information on managing weeds in your area.
Pest animals impact urban and rural areas (and everywhere in between). Problems caused by pest animals include competing with native wildlife for food and shelter and preying on native animals as well as livestock. Pest animals can also spread weeds, cause erosion and degrade waterways. Common pest animals include foxes, European rabbits and hares, feral goats, feral pigs and feral cats. There are fox and rabbit baiting programs running throughout NE Victoria, but the best approach to control is a community wide program using a number of control methods. Speak to your local landcare group to see if there are current programs running and how to become involved. The Department of Environment Land Water and Planning can also provide information on pest animals.
Wild dogs are also found through the North East and pose a serious problem to livestock industries such as goats, sheep, cattle and horses. You can make a difference to the pest animal problem by keeping your cat and dog contained (especially at night), and managing pest animals on your property.
See www.feral.org.au for more information on pest animal management.
Native Plants and Animals
Plant lists specific to your local area have been developed and are available from your local landcare group or North East CMA and on line at www.landcarevic.net.au/northeast/rlf/resources/native-plant-lists.
More information on revegetation needs is available on the Revegetation Information page.
Before you remove native vegetation you should be aware that legislation exists to protect native wildlife, vegetation and natural resources. There are several pieces of legislation that may affect you, outlined here are just two. The Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (FFG Act) is the key piece of Victorian legislation for the conservation of threatened species and communities and for the management of potentially threatening processes. More information on this Act can be found here: Flora & Fauna Guarantee Act.
The Environment Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC ACT) is the Australian Government’s central piece of environmental legislation. It provides a legal framework to protect and manage nationally and internationally important flora, fauna, ecological communities and heritage places. When revegetating try to use local native species. See www.environment.gov.au/topics/about-us/legislation for more information.
Land Management Information and Resources
There are many on line resources available that provide information on land management issues. A selection of particularly useful apps and on line tools are listed here:
Biodiversity Interactive Map: www.depi.vic.gov.au/environment-and-wildlife/biodiversity/biodiversity-interactive-map. This interactive mapping tool allows users to zoom in on their property and access information about Ecological Vegetation Classes (EVC’s), threatened flora and fauna.
The museum of Victoria has developed a field guide application for smartphones and tablets, which combines detailed animal descriptions, photos and sounds provide a valuable reference that can be used in all environments: museumvictoria.com.au/discoverycentre/museum-victoria-apps.
Weed ID: The Ute Guide phone application is designed to assist farmers in the identification of the most common weeds found in paddocks throughout Australia. www.grdc.com.au/Resources/Apps.
Field Guide to Pest Animals of Australia app has been developed by the Invasive Animals CRC, and contains species profiles for 53 of Australia’s worst pest animals, including: species descriptions, photo galleries, footprints, audio calls, maps, control techniques, quick links to plenty of pest control resources: www.feral.org.au/mobile-phone-apps/
Information on chemicals including permits and stopped, cancelled and archived products can be found on the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicine Authority’s iPhone app: www.apvma.gov.au.
Farms can be dangerous
Most rural land is private property, so please observe all signs and if gates are closed they are closed for a reason – not open gates without permission. Potential hazards on farms include:
- Farm machinery
- Stock moving
- Farm operations, weed spraying, mowing, fencing
- Feral animal control - the use of traps, poisons and shooting as a means of control, represent a hazard to unauthorised persons and animals
See www.farmsafe.org.au/ for more information.
Victoria has extreme fire danger days every summer. Be fire ready by planning what you would do in a bushfire situation. Simple things you can do to prepare your home for a bushfire including locating woodpiles away from your home, clearing leaf litter from around your home, cleaning out your gutters regularly and managing your vegetation.
See the Complete fire ready kit on the CFA website: www.cfa.vic.gov.au/plan-prepare/fire-ready-kit/.