Sustainable Land Management

Healthy Landscapes for Healthy Livestock

Healthy Landscapes for Healthy Livestock and Productive Farms in the Macedon Ranges

The Healthy Landscapes for Healthy Livestock and Productive Farms program is designed to raise awareness of sustainable grazing management practices that improve soil health, reduce exposure to climate risk, enhance biodiversity and increase productivity. A key goal of the program is to assist land managers to increase the health of agricultural grasslands. 

As part of the Biodiversity Strategy, we have been able with the support of a Commonwealth Government National Landcare Program grant, employ a Private Land Conservation Officer to work with private landholders.

The project officer provides services such as one on one farm advice, and information through education events such as workshops, seminars, courses, land manger discussion groups and resources.

As a result of being involved in the project, land managers in the shire and Upper Coliban Catchment will have enhanced their capacity to implement sustainable land management practices, including regenerative grazing techniques, which improve soil health, reduce exposure to climate risks and enhance biodiversity. Land managers will improve the wellbeing of their land, stock and themselves.

Farm Advisory Service

Our free one on one advisory service will help by establishing a clear plans for:

  • New land managers, by assisting the setting up your new property and refer you to the current best regenerative grazing practices.
  • Established land managers, by assisting in the adjustment of current practices to incorporate techniques that improve soil health, improve pasture productivity and reduce exposure to climate and other risks.
  • Livestock managers, by making changes on the property to improve the wellbeing of your stock and improve the pasture/grasslands on the property.

The advisory service offers an on farm visit focused on giving practical options that are tailored to your situation. The service supports farming decisions that:

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

To book an appointment, call Jason McAinch on 0455 210 436 or email jmcainch@mrsc.vic.gov.au

Events and Workshops

There are currently no workshops available.

If you have any suggestions for future events or workshops, email your ideas to Jason McAinch at jmcainch@mrsc.vic.gov.au.

Sign up to our Environment eNews to keep up to date with upcoming events and workshops.

Previous workshops

Farmer Journey - Sam White

Hear from Sam, a 6th generation grazier & manager of Sidonia Beef with a 800Ha farm with 100% pasture raised Black Angus cattle.

Farmer Journey - Patrick Francis

Hear from Patrick from Moffitss Farm, a 56Ha lamb farm using “Comfortable farming” management.

Farmer Journey - Breanne Francis and Gerard Noonan

Breanne has a 52Ha property with Stud Highland Cattle, commercial cattle and horses. Gerard has a 130Ha property with commercial cattle.

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 Roberston
  • Video 3: Soil carbon
  • Video 4: Organic matter - Part 1
  • Video 5: Organic matter - Part 2

Managing your 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

 

Part 2

 

Resources

Information sheets

The series of information sheets below, are designed to increase big and small landholders’ knowledge and skills about grazing livestock, resulting in an increase in perennial pasture species (including natives) and soil carbon. It will explain some fundamental technical details to help understand how pastures grow, soil biology and the interaction with livestock nutrition/productivity, including some practical tips to implement strategies to improve the environment.

By limiting sunlight hitting bare soil and increasing the time green pastures are growing, this increases the time plants’ are photosynthesising and converting the energy provided by the sun. Through proper grazing, this results in more energy/sugars/carbon entering the soil and the grazing animal. The consistent green pasture cover increases soil life resulting in additional nutrient cycling.

Land managers are rewarded by this increase in soil carbon and soil health as the soil is able to hold more moisture and drainage is improved. Healthy soils, healthy grasslands, healthy livestock = landowners achieving productive and resilient land.

The resources used to compile this series

Although these information sheets are not research papers, a range of scientific papers have been used in the production of the information.

Where diagrams have been used, an attempt to acknowledge their source has been made. Industry documents used include Evergraze Exchange (online) and Grazing Dairy Pastures. The scientific work referenced throughout was completed in Australia and New Zealand by Christine Jones, and teams with Danny Donaghy or John Roach.

Other international papers on grass growth, biodiversity and soil have also been used.

Other resources

Below is a list of resources that regenerative agriculture holistic practices may align with. Although some are not relevant to the Macedon Ranges, the themes may be worth considering.

Videos

  • Allan Savoury, 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 on YouTube. 
  • The Macedon Ranges Shire Council YouTube channel has recordings of our previous workshops.
  • 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 have a range of YouTube presentations, as well as more resources on their website UnderstandingAg.

Caring for Country resource

Caring For Country(PDF, 6MB) is a guide to sustainable land management 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.

Equine Course

Equiculture Course

The discount offer for this course is currently closed. We are hoping to reopen it again in the future, please contact Jason McAinch JMcAinch@mrsc.vic.gov.au to be placed on the waiting list.

Do you want to improve the health of your horse and your land? 

Macedon Ranges Shire Council and Melbourne Water are offering a $100 discount on an online equiculture course from renowned equine experts, Jane and Stuart Myers. The discount is available to land owners in the Macedon Ranges.

Equiculture – short for equine permaculture – is a holistic horse property management program that promotes sustainable farm and pasture management techniques designed with your horse’s welfare and natural behaviour in mind.

The program is delivered digitally, with participants able to learn at their own pace. Fifteen modules teach participants all about healthy soil and pasture, managing weeds, mud and erosion, property design and layouts as well as managing optimal equine health.

To get your discount code, you must send your expression of interest to JMcAinch@mrsc.vic.gov.au. The discount code is required at the point of registering for the equiculture course. Discount code will not be given out retrospectively.

Places are limited and are given out on a first in basis.

Completion of the Equiculture course can also be incorporated into the Pony Club Australia K or C* certificates. Visit the Equiculture webpage to find out more.

Property Management Plans

If you are constructing a dwelling on land that falls within a Farming Zone or Rural Conservation Zone, you may need to prepare a Property Management Plan(DOCX, 2MB) as part of your Planning Permit Application. 

For resources on development of a Property Management Plan, visit the Victorian Landcare Gateway

Contact us on (03) 5422 0333 for further information or for assistance with the preparation of your plan.