Working in partnership to assess seasonal conditions
02 February 2016
Once a month, every month, Central Tablelands Local Land Services biosecurity staff liaise with a dedicated troupe of 40 farmers from across the region to compile a detailed assessment of seasonal conditions.
Senior Biosecurity Officer, Alistair Gordon-Smith, says the monthly on ground seasonal condition reports focus on the key areas of water availability, pasture quality and quantity, and livestock condition.
Alistair pulls together the detailed information sourced from landholders across the Bathurst, Orange, Molong, Oberon, Lithgow, Blayney, Cowra, Cabonne & Mudgee districts of the Central Tablelands Local Land Services region.
“We then forward that information to our State wide unit which publishes a monthly report on seasonal conditions across NSW,” said Alistair.
“We’ve strategically selected partners from across the region to ensure we get a really accurate picture of what’s happening out in the paddocks over the entire Central Tablelands area.”
“There are 40 farmers and landholders who all diligently report back to us each month, and we greatly appreciate their help in putting together a thorough assessment of what’s happening with regard to rainfall, water storages, crops, livestock, and other critical agricultural issues.”
“Localised problems such as bushfire, locusts and other pest animals, or competition from kangaroos can have a significant impact on local conditions that may not show up in rainfall statistics or other data, so getting reliable information about what’s happening on the ground is essential.”
“The landholders, who work in partnership with Local Land Services to prepare these reports, make an enormous contribution to our understanding of the seasonal and agronomic issues that our farmers are facing.”
“They help us to ‘ground truth’ or validate the information generated by computer modelling and other statistics and the reports are used to assess how the season is progressing.”
“This information not only helps Local Land Services plan and provide appropriate assistances to the agricultural sector and other landholders, but the reports are also a very useful tool that farmers can use to assist in making informed business decisions.”
John Heffernan, from the Sodwalls district between Lithgow and Bathurst, supplies Local Land Services with information about seasonal conditions on the Galasso family property, Invergowrie.
“I speak with Alistair once a month about what’s happening with pastures, and rainfall and how the dams are looking,” said John.
“It gives the LLS boys a better picture of what’s going on in different districts. That’s important because you can get a lot of variation in the season over small distances.”
“Even on this property, we go from 900 m to 1200 metres, so we quite often have two different seasonal effects, with the grass hanging on longer on the top country, or responding more quickly to rain lower down where it’s warmer,” said John.
According to Alistair Gordon Smith seasonal conditions on the Central tablelands have improved following widespread January rainfall.
“We’ve had some good rain across much of the region. Totals have been above average for all areas in January and livestock are looking good. At the end of 2015, there were concerns about a lack of run off that meant many farm dams were getting precariously low, but recent rain will hopefully have had a positive effect on water storages.”
The Local Land Services monthly on ground seasonal conditions report complements State and regional Monthly Seasonal Conditions reports developed by the NSW Department of Primary Industries which draw information from the Bureau of Meteorology, the CSIRO and other agencies.
On ground seasonal conditions reports, including detailed assessments of each of the 11 Local Land Services region in NSW, can be viewed on our Seasonal Conditions page.
Media enquiries: Kylie Krause | 0439 608 3700439 608 370