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Environmental works reap financial rewards on the Brogo

December 2017/January 2018

As reported in The Land (Big win on the Brogo at Bega 30.11.17), work carried out by Chris Apps, ‘Corridgeree’, using grants provided by Local Land Services (from Catchment Action NSW and Australian Government Biodiversity Fund) and implemented as part of the Bega Cheese Environmental Management Systems project (BEMS) has given a significant boost to his operation.

By fencing off river frontage and numerous floodplain wetlands and getting his cows out of the water, Chris has seen a significant reduction in his Bulk Milk Cell Count (BMCC) (by 80,000) as a result of reduced exposure to environmental mastitis-causing bacteria in water and mud.

Reducing the BMCC count has improved the Apps’ bottom line by around $28,000 in a short period of time. The native vegetation planted and weeds controlled in the fenced off areas has improved habitat for birds and other wildlife and cutting off stock access to the river bank has reduced erosion and improved downstream water quality.

"I didn’t originally do the work for a financial gain, but it has been pleasing to see a reduction in the number of cows with mastitis, and this having a positive impact on the finances” Chris said.

“Having two of my kids working the farm with me, I also love the idea of passing the farm on to the next generation in a better condition”.

Being just upstream of a part of the river on the edge of town used increasingly by Bega residents for recreation has given Chris added motivation to clean the water up. It ties in with a massive urban river rehabilitation effort by Bega Valley Shire Council, Landcare and Local Land Services.

Project implementation has had a significant boost through the efforts of the Local Land Services Koori work crew, who have assisted with planting, weed management and maintenance. They have been a regular sight on many farms across the Far South Coast and have been highly appreciated by the land managers.

This is a great example of a project delivering a positive ‘triple bottom line’ (social, economic and environmental) outcome that the grants aim to deliver.

To find out more about grants programs in your local area, contact your nearest Local Land Services office.