Annual General Meeting
4 December 2011
The 2011 AGM was held at Andrew and Ros Bradey’s cattle and sheep grazing property at Ullswater near Edenhope in the west Wimmera. The meeting was well attended and judging by the feedback was enjoyed by all those attending. Prior to a luncheon meeting under a shady tree the Group were shown over the property by Andrew.
Highlights included inspections of several wetlands that have been managed to improve biodiversity values. The wetlands are fenced for stock management (mostly exclusion) and one has been revegetated along the edge.
Like many wetlands these ones have benefited from flooding rains in early 2011 and reasonable follow up rains through 2011. Birdlife was plentiful, although not easy to see as the wetlands were well covered with a range of wetland plants including reeds, tall rushes and cane grass with an edge of native grasses, especially Wallaby Grass. Ros has been monitoring bird activity and species for the Wimmera Catchment Management Authority as part of a catchment wide program.
Whilst looking at one wetland we were entertained by the sight of two brolgas coming in to land a short distance from where we were stationed. From the wetland we
walked through a grassy paddock until we were near a dead red gum. A stick poking out the side of the tree was in fact a Red-tailed Black Cockatoo that is nesting in a hollow. When anyone enters the paddock the bird monitors movement by poking its head out of the hollow. Andrew thinks it is bored as the nesting period is quite long! We were all privileged to see the fairly rare bird and have the importance of paddock (live and dead) trees reinforced.
Another highlight of the farm tour was an inspection of well managed and extensive hedges of tree lucernes on sandy ridges. These trees provide valuable high quality summer feed for cattle and sheep. The trees are pruned with machines to encourage new growth and provide feed of equivalent quality as traditional perennial pasture lucerne. Additional benefits of tree lucerne include stock shelter, water table management and fire suppression.
The property has numerous direct seeded native vegetation wind breaks that connect through the property and with the wetlands to improve biodiversity, provide stock shelter and slow any grass fires that may occur. A flock of nesting White-winged Choughs and several Kookaburra around the house is good evidence of farm biodiversity.
Andrews stock water systems include dams, windmills and stock troughs. Well managed tree lucerne paddocks on the scale undertaken on the Bradey property entail constant monitoring of stock water systems and considerable plumbing maintenance skills.
The AGM followed the inspection. President Andrew Bradey outlined the five years of establishment and building of foundations of EFN. Sound policies are now in place and with a web site that enables easy access for members and the general public to interact, it has been decided that a bolder approach is needed to give EFN a higher profile in the media.
As part of the AGM, Kate Auty, Victorian Commissioner for Sustainability gave a presentation to attendees. She reports on this at her blog
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