Protecting soil and environment on ‘Combo’, North Star

North West NSW family-farming business ‘Bonyi Grazing’ have set their sights on improving their property’s rare vegetation communities and overall groundcover through initiating a major soil conservation and fencing project.

The project has seen the landholder, John Cranney, work closely with North West Local Land Services and the Soil Conservation Service to build the infrastructure needed to protect a threatened brigalow woodland and reduce erosion on their mixed farming and grazing property, ‘Combo’ near North Star in northern NSW.

John successfully applied for funding from North West Local Land Services in 2019 to protect the threatened ecological community on his property.

The funding will enable Bonyi Grazing to fence and strategically manage grazing around their brigalow woodland stands. John also secured funding from North West Local Land Services to protect and improve groundcover on other parts of his property.

Brigalow is listed as a threatened ecological community under the Australian government, as it has been extensively cleared across its previous extent.

John is also working to improve groundcover and soil health with funding from Catchment Action NSW; again working with the Soil Conservation Service to achieve this.

The opportunity to work with Local Land Services has paid dividends for his family and their property.

“As part of the long term work on the land, we want to improve the soil health and ecosystems here,” Mr Cranney said.

“We want to improve the brigalow side on the property whilst also improving groundcover and soil health across the property; it was great to work with Local Land Services and the Soil Conservation Service on this.”

The funding has also meant that he can mitigate soil erosion in and around the brigalow vegetation through earthworks constructed by the NSW Soil Conservation Service. The Soil Conservation Service’s Northern Works Coordinator David Johnson worked closely with John to develop the soil erosion control plan.

“Our approach was to work with John to design a body of soil construction work that took advantage of existing property assets like dams and contour banks,” Mr Johnson said.

“These earthworks will divert water flow from the brigalow stand, reduce the impact of gully erosion and lead to a huge improvement in the overall condition of the vegetation.”

John’s work will see big improvements in his property’s groundcover and erosion, said Senior Land Services Officer, Pippa Jones

“John first approached Local Land Services with major erosion issues; his land is quite steep in sections and prone to erosion,” Ms Jones said.

“By working with John and the Soil Conservation Service, we have been able to limit erosion, which was impacting groundcover in the brigalow stand.

“Fencing around the brigalow woodland has meant he can now control grazing and improve its health and condition.

“This project has been a fantastic partnership between landholders and government departments, and I look forward to seeing the results.”

The project is supported by North West Local Land Services, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and Catchment Action NSW.