Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Ministers invited to assess habitat destruction alongside Bass River


We have invited two Victorian Government Ministers to inspect the damage allowed by Bass Coast Shire on a block of land adjoining our farm, owned by Barro Group prior to the start of sand extraction.Planning Minister Sonya Killkenny and Environment Minister Ingrid Stitt have been invited after Bass Coast Shire President, Michael Whelan and his deputy, Rochelle Halstead, failed to keep appointments.We asked them to take whatever action they can to uphold the integrity of the planning permit process. Bass Coast Shire claims it has no power to enforce conditions on permit 92-28 issued to Barro Group on the land as the application for sand extraction was approved by VCAT. The Shire has further obfuscated the issue by claiming that vegetation removal on the property was for ‘fire control’ and was therefore exempt from permit restrictions. Extensive research in the region, including the Shapiro report on Westernport in the 1970’s, the Regional Sand Extraction Strategy Lang Lang to Grantville and Baseline Studies of Bass River for the Natural Heritage Trust in the 1990’s, demonstrates the natural values here. Bass Coast Shire supports the clearing and subsequent contamination of the Bass River and adjoining land. Its Planning Department claims “The Native vegetation removal by Barro Group was exempt from the need of a planning permit. It was undertaken for fire prevention purposes and an exemption under the Planning Scheme is afforded to them to have undertaken these works.” However, the Shire has failed to specify what the fire control measures were supposed to protect and why clearing on the river was not referred to Melbourne Water as required by legislation.The clearing contravened a specific permit condition that works must not affect the quality or quantity of water in a drainage line on the property which flowed through our adjoining land and on to the Bass River. The importance of the vegetation as a wildlife corridor was identified in the Regional Sand Extraction Strategy, Lang Lang to Grantille. This defined a clear biolink – all the Shire needed to do was implement (and enforce)the Sand Extraction Strategy from 1995.The work to identify the the vegetation and wildlife corridor was Led by consultants AGC Woodward Clyde and included Biosis Research, Andrew Paget of Ausbotany Marcus Marsden and Nicolas Day as well as countless hours put in by members of Friends of Bass Valley Bush Landcare Group. During the visit we may see displaced koalas and wombats as well as some of the bird species which call the bushland home.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Growing your own food. Point of lay chickens available in March


A few point of lay Isa Brown chickens will be available at the farm in March. Email us or phone to arrange pick up. They are 16 weeks old, fully vaccinated  ideal layers for home flocks .For those with bigger plans, our eBook on setting up a freerange farm is still available to guide you through the planning maze and government regulations. Details on our website. Families deciding they want a few hens to give themselves fresh eggs, need to decide which hens to buy. Some heritage breeds look terrific but they are often not prolific layers – or they might have cranky temperaments which make them unsuitable around children. Choosing the right hens for your backyard can be a simple process once you have sorted out a suitable roaming area, coop and laying boxes.Either pay via EFT when ordering - banking details on our website - or cash on pick up.

ISA Brown hens have exceptional feed conversion and lay up to 300 eggs a year. The ISA Browns are docile, adapt well to different climates and are ideal as free range layers or for backyards where they make great pets as well as providing nutritional food for the family.

Friday, January 06, 2023

Additional help for Red mite control


Mite infestations are usually only a problem on intensive facilities with thousands of hens in sheds.On genuine free range farms where chickens have plenty of room to move around and have complete access to open air and sunlight, there are seldom mite problems. If control measures are needed for red mite or other external parasites, we find that an effective treatment is an application of diatomaceous earth in nest boxes and on roosts. An additional tool now (if needed) is a pump spray called SprayWell, which uses natural oils from cinnamon and horseradish. When sprayed it is said to adhere to surfaces and release disinfecting oils to eradicate pests for up to 28 days.