Final newsletter for 2015 now online

Here is the final Society newsletter for 2015 (Volume 30, Number 4) and it is jam-packed full of reading for those who are lucky enough to get a short break over Christmas.

From all of us at the Grassland Society of NSW, we wish you a very merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous New Year. May the seasons be kind to you over 2016 and beyond.

See below for the Newsletter index:

Volume 30, Number 4, 2015 (pdf file 3800kb)

  • Editorial – Carol Harris
  • Improving phosphorus efficiency in pastures – Timothy McLaren
  • Grass roots research reaching local producers
  • Farmers gain tips on maximising beef production per hectare
  • Research Update
  • Desmanthus showing promise in northern inland NSW – Trudie Atkinson
  • Number and nitrogen fixation capacity of rhizobia in soils
  • List of some of the rhizobial strains used in Australian inoculants
  • This dog has a nose for weeds – Hillary Cherry
  • Bureau issues Climate Outlook for December to February
  • World leading research steers to genetic improvement in cattle
  • From the President’s Desk – David Harbison

NSW Weedwise App

NSW WeedWise App
WWThe NSW WeedWise app provides key information to help users reduce the impact of noxious and environmental weeds in New South Wales (NSW). The app profiles over 300 weeds, describing their legal requirements under the Noxious Weeds Act 1993, control information and registered herbicide options.

Users can search or browse weed names (common or scientific); recognise a weed by its physical description and image gallery; and find out about its impacts, where it occurs, how it spreads and its preferred habitat. Control options are described for each weed and the herbicides registered for its control by the Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicines Authority are listed, including application rates and techniques, and any minor-use permits that must be complied with.

Landholders/residents can enter the contact details of their local council weeds officer, and then directly report sightings of high priority weeds via email or SMS. Weeds professionals can share information about a weed with clients via email or SMS, including a weed’s profile, legal requirements, control advice and herbicide options.

NSW WeedWise incorporates the content contained in the Noxious & Environmental Weed Control Handbook, a free, biennial publication from NSW Department of Primary Industries. NSW WeedWise was developed with the assistance of the NSW Weeds Action Program.

NSW Weedwise is available online here:

or is available for your smartphone or tablet via iTunes or Google Play.

Survey on the roles of animal genetic resources in providing ecosystem services in grasslands

FAO SURVEYClick here to download the pdf survey form

We invite you to participate in a survey on the roles of animal genetic resources in the provision of ecosystem services in grassland ecosystems (please see the attached questionnaire). The results will be used to prepare a thematic study that will serve as an input in the preparation of The Second Report on the State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, which is being prepared by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) at the request of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.
The specific objective of the survey is to obtain information on the ecosystem services provided by specific populations of grazing livestock in specific grassland locations. To participate in the survey, you will therefore need first to choose an area of land (which for the purposes of the survey will be referred to as “the grazing area”) and a livestock population about which you are able to provide information.
The “grazing area” can be a single management unit (e.g. a nature reserve under unified management or an individual farm) or a geographical area (e.g. a mountain range) encompassing a number of management units (e.g. a number of farms or a communal grazing area used by a number of livestock keepers).
The livestock population should be a specific breed or group of breeds belonging to a single livestock species. It can either be a population that has historically been present in the grazing area or a population that has been introduced specifically for the purposes of managing the vegetation (or otherwise contributing to supporting, regulating or cultural ecosystem services). If you wish to provide information on more than one livestock population (e.g. more than one species), please complete a separate questionnaire for each. Likewise, if you would like to provide information on additional grazing areas, you will need to complete additional questionnaires.
Please support your answers by providing references (scientific publications, grey literature, official reports, etc.). Please insert the references in the relevant text boxes in the questionnaire (if possible, please include a web address for each). If the documents are not easily available (e.g. not available on the web), we would be grateful if you could send copies via email to the address below.
Once the relevant information has been assembled, the survey should take approximately 20 minutes to complete. If you have any questions, please contact Tatiana From (, Animal Genetic Resources Branch, FAO.
Please kindly submit completed questionnaire forms by 20 November 2013.

When you have finished completing the questionnaire, click the “Submit by Email” button on the last page and send the completed questionnaire to This should work automatically. If it does not, please attach the completed questionnaire manually to an e-mail and send it. Note that if you click the button without completing all the compulsory fields, you will see a warning message. Any required fields that you have not filled will be highlighted in yellow.
Thank you in advance for your participation in this survey!

Photo Competition

Send in your favourite pastoral or grassland landscape photo to go into the running for a years free membership.

Email your digital photos to Carol Harris at

Please provide a caption and/or location of the photo – they will be published here on the website so members can appreciate our wonderful grassland landscapes.

First entry below to get you started:

Grassland Scene from the top of Mount Rankin, between Uralla and Bundarra on the  Northern Tablelands of NSW by Katie Austin.

Grassland Scene from the top of Mount Rankin, between Uralla and Bundarra on the Northern Tablelands of NSW by Katie Austin.




Another promo video for the conference

This one is featuring Oli Cay who is presenting at this year’s conference:

Promo video for Conference

Check out this promo video for the upcoming Conference in July – featuring Rodney Purcell:

2012 Conference Programme

Conference Program and Registration Form is available at the Conference Page.  Details of the programme follow:

Tuesday 24 July

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm PRE-CONFERENCE REGISTRATIONS (Joyes Hall)
6:00 pm Grassland Society of NSW AGM (Gulballanna Room in the CSU Convention Centre near Joyes Hall)

Wednesday 25 July

7:30 am – 8:30 am REGISTRATIONS
8:45 am WELCOME President – Grassland Society of NSW.
9:00 am Session 1
‘Recognising and working within landscape limitations for increased productivity.’ Dr Belinda Hackney, District Agronomist, NSW DPI, Bathurst.
‘How has grazing management changed to utilise differences in the landscape? A follow up to the 2001 Gundagai conference?’ Rodney Purcell, Producer, Brungle.
11:00 am – Session 2
‘Soil Carbon, variation across the landscape’ Susan Orgill, Research Officer, Soil Carbon, NSW DPI , Wagga Wagga.
‘Alternative Fertilisers, what do pasture trial results tell us?’ Fiona Leech, District Agronomist, NSW DPI, Yass
‘Humic products – Potential or presumption for agriculture? Can humic products improve my soil?’ Kim Billingham, Project Officer – Agronomist, NSW DPI ,Taree.
12:30 pm – LUNCH
1:00 pm – Session 3
Tour A – High Rainfall Tablelands (Rosewood & Tarcutta) Sponsored by Bendigo Bank, Agribusiness Banking, Wagga Wagga, Tarcutta Rural Supplies, Tarcutta and Anderson’s Agriservices.
Perennial pastures the key to successful beef production. Visit a fantastic undercover set of cattle yards that allow cattle work to be done snow, rain, hail or shine at Rosewood.
Prime Lamb production, making the most of the landscape.
Tour B – Cross Property Planning (Kyeamba)
Visit a group of farmers in the Kyeamba Valley that have undertaken a Cross Property Planning sequence to better manage agriculture in the landscape.
Tour C – Mixed farming tour (Wagga – Narrandera). Inspect pasture variety and crop sequencing trials – EH Graham Centre. Corporate farm – sheep grazing, cropping, irrigation and state of the art, architect designed woolshed. Lucerne hay production.
5:30 pm RETURN
6:30 pm – 7:00 pm PRE-DINNER DRINKS and CANAPES (beer, wine and soft drinks only)
HAY & SILAGE COMPETITION – Sponsored by Integrated Packaging, New Holland Agriculture, Pioneer and NSW DPI Feed Quality Service. For further details phone Neil Griffiths on (02) 4939 8948.

Thursday 26 July

8:30 am – Session 4
‘Phosphorus in the landscape: a sustainable phosphorus future for Australian pastures’ Dr Richard Simpson, Senior Research Scientist, CSIRO Plant Industry.
‘Grassgro helped me fine tune my farming system, how can it help you?’ Oliver Cay, Producer, Cooma.
‘Why fertilise native pastures?’ Doug Alcock, Livestock Officer (Sheep and Wool), NSW DPI, Cooma.
11:00 am – Session 5
‘Effect of fertiliser on the productivity and persistence of perennial native grasses.’ Mike Keys, Agronomist, Chris Houghton Agricultural, Queanbeyan.
‘Intensive rotational grazing can improve profitability and environmental outcomes.’ Warwick Badgery, Research Agronomist, NSW DPI, Orange Agricultural Institute.
‘Perennial pasture species for the mixed farming zone – we don’t have many options’. Richard Hayes, Research Agronomist, NSW DPI, Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute.
1:20 pm – Session 6
‘How a new decision support tool helps mixed farmers make pasture sowing decisions, to cover crop or sow alone.’ Jeff McCormick, Research Agronomist, NSW DPI, Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute.
‘Increasing the proportion of female lambs by supplementary feeding oats high in omega-6 fatty acids at joining.’ Dr Edward Clayton, Livestock Research Officer, Ruminant Nutrition, NSW DPI, Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute.
‘Q&A, what’s the driving force behind our next generation of farmers? A 1 hour facilitated session to close the conference, with 4 to 6 <40 year old farmers discussing what is driving them in agriculture. What did they get out of the conference?’Facilitated by Phil Graham.

2012 Conference Flyer/Program

The Conference Brochure, Program and Registration Form is now available online here:

Click here to download (pdf file – 1MB)

Conference registrations close on Monday 16th July – there is a great programme planned so is well worth attending.

Earlybird price for full conference package for members is $220 – price goes up after 30th June so get those registrations in early.

See next post for conference program details.


2012 NSW Hay and Silage Awards

2012 NSW Hay and Silage Awards to recognise top quality

The NSW Grassland Society and NSW DPI are organising Hay and Silage Feed Quality Awards in 2012 to recognise producers who are making the best quality hay and silage in NSW.

While it has been a difficult season in some areas there have been reports of excellent quality silage and hay being made across NSW. These awards aim to focus attention on feed quality and encourage all producers to better understand the importance of quality when they make and feed hay or silage.

Entries will open in April when producers can start sending samples to the NSW Feed Quality Service in Wagga Wagga. The awards will be presented at the NSW Grassland Association annual conference which is to be held in Wagga Wagga 24 to 26 July 2012.

Organisers hope all producers will take advantage of the discounts being offered by the Feed Quality Service to analyse hay and silage samples submitted as part of the awards program. To add further interest major sponsors Integrated Packaging, New Holland and Pioneer will provide $5000 worth of prizes for winners to be announced at the Grassland conference.

Entry forms will be available from the beginning of April from NSW DPI and NSW Grassland Society websites and officers, sponsors and from the NSW Feed Quality Service Wagga Wagga or click the link below to download the form directly:

2012 Feed Quality Awards Entry Form

Entries close 6th July 2012.