Managing a Small Property
As a new rural landholder there are many options to consider regarding what you could grow on your land and how you can mange your property to help the environment. Whether you are using your farmlet for your rural retreat, a home as part of your rural lifestyle, a weekender or as a piece of paradise to retire to there are important legal obligations and responsibilities to consider.
As a land manager you have to carefully manage lots of responsibilities. You need to look after your property in a way that protects the land and environment, takes care of the health and safety of your animals and manages the quality of your crops and pasture. Of course, you also need to look after your own health and safety and make sure that in managing your property you are meeting all expected legal obligations to do with farming.
If you have decided to investigate ways of diversifying your income on your small property, we can provide some guidance on some of the things you should think about regarding new ventures in farm diversification.
a) Care for Yourself and Legal Obligations
In Victoria, there are laws affecting property management that are important for new landholders to be aware of such as the need to control pest animals, manage the welfare of animals, chemical use and weed eradication. New landholders also have a responsibility to manage their property in a way that does not adversely affect commercial agricultural production on neighbouring farms. For instance, uncontrolled weeds or pest animals can quickly spread and affect pasture and animal production. Domestic dogs that are allowed to wander may kill or maim stock on adjacent properties. The following links provide more details on certain laws that could affect small property mangers.
- Chemical use
- National Livestock Identification System – Victorian requirements
- Water Quality
- Time management tips
- Rural Law Online
- Responsibilities of Victorian Landholder
b) Care for Your Animals
Many rural properties run some form of livestock. The range and number varies but a few fundamental issues need to be considered. You are responsible for the well being and care of your animals. That means that you need to take all reasonable actions to ensure their safety and the safety of people coming into contact with them. Issues you need to consider include purchasing, animal identification, transporting, animal fencing, handling facilities, as well as the need for clean fresh water, shelter, animal safety and of course - feeding (depending on whether you are you growing animals, just maintaining them or if you want to feed them for reproduction purposes). The following links may assist your decision-making
- Animals and Livestock general
- Animal Welfare
- Beef Information Notes
- Sheep Information Notes
- Speciality Animals Information Notes
c) Care for Your Land
Interested in learning more about how you can manage your property to enhance the environment? This may mean protecting the soil from erosion, improving the native vegetation for animal habitats, maintaining good grass cover to improve the sustainabilty of your land. Importantly, it also involves controlling or eradicating weeds and pest animals on your land for the care and safety of stock, plants and humans.
- Invasive Plants
- Land degradation and erosion
- Landcare - Australia
- Landcare - Victoria
- Vegetation management
- Environmental Management Systems in Victorian Agriculture
- What is a healthy soil?
- General Soil Information Notes
- Grazing management - horses
- Pastures for horses
d) Care for Plants
A typical ‘crop’ grown on new properties is pasture. There are many issues to consider when establishing, maintaining and harvesting pasture. New landholders may also be interested in managing pests in orchards or in other traditional crops such as grains, oilseeds or legumes. The links below may help your search for information
e) Farm Diversification
Farm Diversification – a Framework for Decision Making
The services and Information to New Landholders team have developed a series of Information Notes to assist small landholders with their thinking and decision making when considering a new idea or activity for generating income on their property.
- Farm Diversification Decision Making
f) Other Useful Information
- A Guide for Small Land Holders on the Identification of Cattle, Sheep, Goats and Pigs
- Organic Farming
- Catchment Management Authorities
- Recently, two CMAs have produced very useful resources specifically designed for new landholders who wish to know more about managing their rural property.
- Victorian Resources Online (VRO)
- Greening Australia Victoria Inc. (GAV)
- Trust for Nature (TFN)
- World Wildlife Fund (WWF), including Threatened Species Network (TSN)
- Rural councils
- Weather or climate
- Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) Fireweb
- Country Fire Authority