E-News Issue 208
Events  |   Funding  |  Biodiversity  |  Sustainable Agriculture  |  Aboriginal NRM  |  Sustainable Communities  |  Opportunities  |  Other News  |  Other Events  |  Donations 

Helping us Help the Wheatbelt Environment

Wheatbelt NRM has been successful in recent rounds of both the Green Army and 20 Million Trees applications.

Green Army

In Round Four of the Australian Government's Green Army programme, 397 new projects were approved to protect national and world heritage icons and key threatened species, bringing the total number of approved Green Army projects to 1,145 since it began in 2014.

Wheatbelt NRM has received a further 12 months of funding to undertake work improving habitat along the Avon River via pest species management with the help of Conservation Volunteers Australia.

The project seeks to protect and enhance the significant ecological and cultural values of the Avon River by removing weeds of national significance, revegetating and stabilising the area, recognising and respecting sites of Aboriginal cultural significance, and maintaining walking tracks.

20 Million Trees

20 Million Trees is part of the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme investing over $1 billion in four years to help manage natural resources and improve the environment.

Grants totalling over $5 million were approved in Round Two, with 64 projects being funded to plant 1.3 million native trees and plants to re-establish native vegetation, provide habitat for threatened species and improve the liveability of our cities.

Wheatbelt NRM will be planting 40,000 of these trees to revegetate parts of the Avon River Basin in Australia's South West Biodiversity Hotspot, to help protect it from further decline. The work will be accompanied by a comprehensive education and extension program to engage the community in this important environmental conservation work.

Avongro was also successful in receiving funding to provide a 25 km continuous, vegetated habitat link for vulnerable malleefowl species living in the Eastern Wheatbelt.

NRM Dashboard Spotlight – Soil Acidity

Percentage of topsoil less than pH 5.5

Soil acidity is one of 12 Thresholds of Potential Concern identifed by Wheatbelt NRM in the region. It is widespread in WA agricultural soils, where the net removal of agricultural products and use of nitrogen based fertilisers has contributed to soil acidification. Acid surface and subsurface soils can significantly reduce plant growth and leave soils vulnerable to degradation.

Currently, about 80% of the Wheatbelt region's topsoil is below pH 5.5, making it highly acidic.

View the Wheatbelt NRM Dashboard
Data source: Department of Agriculture and Food, WA

Wheatbelt Woodlands Community Consultation

Farmers, can you clear that vegetation? What’s changed?

Did you know that the Eucalypt Woodlands of the WA Wheatbelt are now listed as ‘critically endangered’ under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act)?

Join the Australian Government’s Department of the Environment for one of eight sessions throughout the Wheatbelt, covering:
  • what the new listing means for local farmers
  • community consultation on the EPBC Act
  • protected matters in the region.
When – Tuesday 9 February 2016, 5.30 - 6.30pm
Where – Bridgely Community Centre, 91 Wellington Street, NORTHAM
Cost – FREE, with light refreshments provided

RSVP:  Tyanna on (08) 9670 3100,

Healthy bushland is a valuable farm asset that can be managed to benefit both biodiversity and land productivity.

And to help you do this, we'll be running a series of FREE WORKSHOPS in February and March next year, covering:
  • major factors affecting bushland health and biodiversity in the Wheatbelt
  • how improving bushland health benefits both landholders and community
  • management options for boosting environmental biodiversity & your property’s sustainability
  • plus, information on applying for our Bushcare Grants.
Wongan Hills – 10 Feb 2016, Wongan CRC
Narembeen – 24 Feb 2016, Narembeen Rec Centre
Northam – 9 Mar 2016, Bridgeley Centre
Brookton – 12 Mar 2016, Brookton WB Eva Pavillion

Register your interest now!
Contact Terri Jones   |  (08) 9670 3122  |    |    FLYER

Carbon Farming for Profitability & Soil Health

WANTFA will be hosting nine workshops across WA's grain growing region this year on 'Carbon Farming for Profitability and Soil Health', with presentations on research results from a range of action-on-the-ground projects completed in 2015.

For more information, including having the workshops visit YOUR TOWN, contact Jo Wheeler on (08) 96370 3121 or via

WANTFA Carbon Farming Webinar

Join WANTFA for a webinar on the long term effects of no-till farming on soil carbon with Dr Ken Flower from UWA. Tuesday 9 February 2016, from 12.30pm

Register online

  • Is there bushland in your area that needs looking after?
  • On your property, local community reserve or creekline?
  • Are ferals animals and weeds also posing a threat?
Wheatbelt NRM can help you and your community to protect important bushland in your area!

Individuals, community groups and groups of neighbours may be eligible for Bushcare Grants up to $15,000, to help cover costs for the materials required for:
  • feral animal control
  • bushland weed control
  • fencing
  • biodiverse revegetation
Wheatbelt NRM encourages groups of adjoining land managers to work together and apply jointly.

Apply now:  Contact Rachael Major  |  (08) 9670 3100  |              FLYER

Beat the rush! Get your applications in to us by 12 February 2016 to get started sooner.

Applications close: 1 April 2016

Community Capability Grants

These grants for organisations are for improving the capability of their volunteers to do on-ground work, for improving organisational governance, and for improving management performance of community-based organisations.

Large Projects

The State NRM Program office realises that some applicants for the Community Capability Grants – Large Projects may have been affected by the recent Waroona fires and that this may have impacted their ability to apply for the funding. If this is you, please contact the State NRM office by Friday 22 January 2016 to discuss your application.

Small Projects

Groups have until 30 May 2016 (subject to availability of funds) to apply for Community Capability Grants – Small Projects, for grants up to $10,000 with a timeframe up to 12 months.

All projects must be finalised by December 2018.


Wheatbelt Development Funding

A total of $20 million is available to small and large community projects across regional WA thanks to the latest round of Royalties for Regions funding.

WA’s nine Regional Development Commissions will oversee the successful projects, with $15 million available in the Regional Grants Scheme and $5 million in the Community Chest Fund for the 2016.

Wheatbelt Regional Grants Scheme

Aimed at bigger projects which help attract investment, increase job opportunities and improve the quality of life in the regions with grants ranging from $50,001 to $300,000.

Wheatbelt Community Chest Fund

Supports smaller, local projects, with one-off grants of up to $50,000.

Both applications close: 17 March 2016



Other Funding

Regional Events Scheme – Funding of $5000 to $50,000 to develop smaller, regional events in WA. Closes: 1 February 2016 HERE

The Horizon Scholarship –
Scholarship up to $5000 for Agriculture students and future leaders. Closes: 19 February 2016. HERE

Mortlock Connections

Wheatbelt NRM has funding to help landowners in the Mortlock Catchment to protect or connect remnant vegetation on or near their properties.
  • feral animal control
  • biodiverse revegetation
  • environmental weed control
  • fencing of remnant vegetation & revegetation areas.
Read more HERE and HERE

Contact:   Anika Dent  |  |  (08) 9670 3104
Sustainable Agriculture

Time for Fine and Local Lime?

Farmers in the eastern Wheatbelt are hoping trials investigating the application of ultra-fine lime on their acidic soils will provide them with a bigger bang for their buck.

Lime that has smaller particles size with the same neutralising value has a far greater effect on soil pH.

With the major cost component of liming being transport, farmers are looking for a greater impact from every load of lime they cart, particularly to outer areas in the eastern Wheatbelt.

The Merredin and Districts Farm Improvement Group will run a large-scale trial, funded to the tune of $20,000 by the National Landcare Programme and managed by Wheatbelt NRM, with one of the treatments being an ultra-fine lime.

The trial will also look at lime incorporation and evaluate local sources of secondary carbonate in an attempt to reduce grower costs when addressing soil acidity.


2016 - International Year of the Pulses

The United Nations has declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses, with the aim of promoting the nutritional benefits of pulses and demonstrating their place as part of sustainable food production.

Pulses in wheat crop rotations have a number of NRM and production benefits for managing weeds, disease, carbon farming and soil health. Recent economic analysis indicates they are also profitable in the Wheatbelt. Read MORE

Wheatbelt NRM are currently trialling summer-cropping lablab peas and cowpeas in a joint project with WANTFA. We are also running several trials on brown manuring with fieldpeas to help understand how pulses can improve soil and nutrient management.

Other pulses currently being grown in the Wheatbelt include: chickpeas, lentils, fieldpeas, cowpeas, lablab peas and lupins. Stay tuned for more pulse updates in 2016!

Read more about the International Year of Pulses – HERE, HERE and HERE

Trials & Demonstrations

Summer Scout Crop Project

With increased spring and summer rainfall, the concept of summer cropping is becoming more feasible and allowing for investigation into the benefits and economic option of having crops growing nine months of the year, instead of five or six.

Including good break crops in the rotation is essential for keeping cereal crops productive, for maintaining groundcover and for improving soil health. Poor establishment of popular break crops (e.g. canola) on sandy non-wetting soils can be due to low groundcover and erosion.

This is the case at the joint trial site being run by Wheatbelt NRM and WANTFA, where investigation is being done into soil scouting crops for improved canola establishment and boosted yields on non-wetting sands.

The trial hosted by Trevor Syme, will explore whether sowing legume and grass 'scouting' crops in spring (early October) into a cereal rye brown manure can improve the subsequent canola crop establishment and production and help restore the paddock's overall productivity.

Combining accurate GPS sowing and zero tillage (for minimal soil disturbance) with summer scouting crops, the trial aims to utilise the additional root pathways to help get water into soil after rain and provide easy-to-follow root pathways for the subsequent canola crop.

More information will be posted on the AgTrialsSite website soon.

New Leaf for Sandalwood Industry

Extensive consultation on WA’s sandalwood industry has been completed by the State Government ahead of key contracts for the sale, processing and marketing of the products coming to an end on 30 June 2016.

A ‘request for proposal’ process begins in January 2016, inviting detailed proposals for the purchase of wild sandalwood for oil extraction; a sales and marketing agent; and processing and storage.

Stakeholders are encouraged to register with Tenders WA to ensure they receive all relevant information.  Early tender advice is available on the website now.

Read more HERE
Aboriginal NRM

Keeping the Campfires Burning â€“ 2016 Calendar

This year’s calendar celebrates the resilient spirit and culture of Noongar people across the Wheatbelt. Each month explores the traditional Noongar seasons with recollections of living life on the land – in the bush, eating traditional bush tucker, using and respecting fire, cherishing community, and connecting to Country. The stories are accompanied by rare, historic photographs that have been generously loaned for reproduction in this calendar.

Enormous thanks to the Noongar community members who have been involved in this project for kindly agreeing to have their stories, photos and memories published in this calendar. Thanks also to the Wheatbelt NRM Aboriginal Elders Advisory Group who provided valuable guidance and advice in making this calendar a reality.

A Black Boy is Fire

“We always used to call it black boy. A black boy is fire. You know where you cut it and make your fire. The rushes are good for your camp. You can make a good camp out of black boy rushes. And if you’re out in the bush and you’re lost and you want a feed, you go down in the middle of the black boy with the rushes and you get the real little tender new shoots, and you can break it and you can eat it. So that’s something that you can do if you want a feed. But the black boy itself you can cut it and make a fire, there’s a lot of gas in there, it’s very, very good.” – Janet Collard

[Excerpt from ‘Keeping the Campfires Burning’ 2016 Calendar, April/Djeran]
Sustainable Communities

Summer 2015 Newsletter

The Wheatbelt NRM Summer 2015 quarterly newsletter is now available.

This latest issue features Wheatbelt NRM's Monitoring Dashboard, Toodyay Bioblitz, Carbon Farming, Paddock Trees, and more.

Plus, there's a cute Barking Gecko on the front cover!

Check it out HERE

2015 Toodyay Bioblitz results

A total of 384 plant and animal species were recorded during last year’s Toodyay Bioblitz, across four private properties and areas adjacent to the Julimar State Forest. These includes six mammals, 10 reptiles, 44 birds, 115 invertebrates, 205 plants, and four lichen or fungi species.

Highlights included the nocturnal sighting of critically endangered* Woylies (Bettongia penicillata ogilbyi) during the evening spotlighting walk, and sighting a South Western Rock Skink (Liopholis pulchra pulchra) despite the cool, overcast weather.

Endangered* Carnaby’s Black Cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus latirostris) were seen feeding in the area several times, and there was evidence of Echidnas (Tachyglossus aculeatus), Brushtail Possums (Trichosurus vulpecula), Chuditches (Dasyurus geoffroii) and Western Brush Wallabes (Macropus irma).

Three threatened* plants were found during the survey – Grevillea corrugata (T) Yellow China Orchid, Cyanicula ixiodes subsp ixiodes (P4), and Synaphea panheys (P1) (DPaW 2015).

Unfortunately, signs of feral foxes cats and rabbits were also observed.

The official 2015 Toodyay Bioblitz report will be out shortly.
*Read more about Conservation Codes HERE

[Image by Lyn Phillips]

Engaging Landcare's Next Generation

The search is on for the next generation of young people committed to protecting Australia’s crucial land and water assets into the future.

In a bid to make it easier for Landcare groups to attract young people, Landcare Australia has released a new ‘how-to’ kit designed to provide practical advice on encouraging young people to become active in their local Landcare group.
It includes ‘how to’ kits for Youth Engagement in Landcare, for Youth Engagement Case Studies, and a Project Design template.


Cultural Connections Trainee

South West Catchments Council are seeking a Cultural Connections Trainee to join their team.
Key responsibilities include:
  • Build partnerships with Aboriginal stakeholders in the region, to improve engagement and to incorporate traditional knowledge into Natural Resource Management (NRM).
  • Engage and assist local community groups in their engagement with Aboriginal people.
  • Develop and maintain a database of appropriate Noongar contacts across the region.
  • Support team members in engaging with Aboriginal people.
  • Support the delivery of Biodiversity, Coastal, Sustainable Agriculture and Community Engagement Programs, and
  • Undertake and complete a Certificate III in Conservation & Land Management.
Applications close: Friday 29 January 2016

Contact: Karyn Beeson at Skill Hire Bunbury on (08) 9722 4222 or 0424 558 853.

Full position description available HERE

Integrated Diploma Program in Agriculture

Muresk Institute and the University of Queensland are proud to offer their two year full-time Integrated Diploma Program in Agriculture for students wishing to kickstart a career in Agriculture.
They are also seeking farmers and landowners in WA who can offer work experience placements to these students.

Contact:  Call Muresk Institute on 1300 994 031, or Hannah Twells on 0408 923 586.
Other News

Forage Shrub Survey

Farmers, take part in our survey on the impact of forage shrubs in Wheatbelt farming systems to help us improve their integration Wheatbelt farms. MORE  | Do the Survey

Call for NRM ideas

Send us your ideas for natural resource management projects in the Wheatbelt. Send us an email or submit a new project idea via our website

WA Young Achiever Awards

The Scott Print Environment & Sustainability Award recognises young individuals that have demonstrated environmental leadership or made a significant contribution to sustainability in Western Australia. MORE

Mental Health in a Changing Climate

A new study revealed that the mental health of Wheatbelt farmers has suffered due to the effects of climate change on their lands and communities. MORE
Other Events
2016 GRDC Grains Research Updates, 29 Jan – 1 Feb 2016, Perth. HERE

DAFWA Extension & Outreach Carbon Farming Webinar, ‘
The Paris Agreement – Articles Affecting Agriculture’, 3 February 2016, online. HERE

, 5 February 2016, Swan View. Contact Pam McGregor on 0417 942 326

NACC ‘Productive Farming Future - Agriculture in a changing climate’ Forum,
10 February 2016, Coorow. HERE

2016 GRDC Farm Business Update,
10 February 2016, Narrogin. HERE Dalwallinu, 11 February 2016. HERE

Liebe Group: Trials Review Day, 16 February 2016, Dalwallinu. HERE

GGA Regional Meeting,
16 February 2016 – Merredin  |  23 February 2016 – Lake King HERE

WAFarmers Annual Conference, 18-19 February 2016, Perth. HERE

GRDC Grains Research Updates, 29 February – 1 January 2016, Perth. HERE

National Seed Science Forum 2016
  |  14-16 March 2016, Mt Annan, NSW. HERE

International Mammalogical Congress, 9 – 14 July 2017, Perth. HERE
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