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Small Farm Expo Sorts Tree Change Challenges

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Are you one of the many people who, frustrated with city chaos, have opted for a life in the country that’s a little kinder to your body and your soul??

The population of the Bass Shire alone has increased by nearly 20% in the last decade, with lots of Melburnians escaping the bright lights and constant traffic torture, planning to relax, play a few rounds of golf, and enjoy the great outdoors that the region offers.

So you’ve bought a few acres, but to be honest, life is not quite how you imagined.   Don’t dismay, there’s thousands of people in your position because truth be told, rural life has its challenges.

Stuck trying to find solutions??  For answers, head to the inaugural Small Farm and Lifestyle Expo at the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit on Saturday and Sunday, November 22 and 23, from 9am – 5pm.  

The brainchild of circuit managing director, Fergus Cameron who is a farmer in his “spare time”, the expo has attracted more than 100 exhibitors and speakers to enlighten enquiring minds on the tricks to ensure your calmer country life is not spent slaving with a pick and hoe!

“We put this expo together to basically enlighten tree and sea changers on the 1000 ways to do things better in the country !” said Cameron who, with his wife Chris, runs 150 breeding cows with calves on their farm.

“For instance, you buy a few acres.  Summer is on its way and the grass is getting longer and drier.   That grass becomes a fire hazard if you don’t get it under control, and your city sized push mower designed to shear a postage stamp of grass, seizes on the spot when you hit your little field!”

Cameron says the answer to grass woes is to have the right equipment whether it be a ride-on mower, a whipper snipper or a rotary hoe.

“Or you might have some lovely yellow flowers growing in the paddock, and little do you know that it is the dreaded cape weed, set to choke your healthy grass to death if it goes unchecked.”

Cameron says that newbies to country life are faced with these dilemmas daily and are left grappling for answers.   Fire weed, boxthorn or falling timbers can all cause challenges, not only to you but also to your neighbours.

“And councils are constantly on the lookout for threats to good agricultural practice and if you don’t attend to the problem immediately, the local council inspector will give you a warning that if not heeded, could end in a hefty fine,” said Cameron.

Noxious weeds can also be a headache.  When the thistles are thriving, their seeds disperse everywhere including to the paddock of the friendly farmer next door, who won’t be happy when the seeds blow across the fence and choke his crop. 

Ever tried pulling out those thistles one by one?  It is back-breaking work and Cameron says there’s easy solutions like a little boom spray with 50 litre tank attached to a quad bike to treat your paddock, or a back pack with a hand held hose trigger.

The Small Farm Expo will also have guests from Landcare speaking on sustainable farming together with a variety of other experts.

In need of some inspiration on how to earn a buck from your plot?   Cameron says there’s lots of exhibitors in attendance who have established small businesses on their few acres including trees, berries, alpacas, olives and organic meat and are keen to share their knowledge.

The Small Farm Expo will be housed in the 2000 square metre pavilion usually used for motorsport expos with external sites featuring agricultural animal displays.    A dedicated rough terrain area will allow for quad bikes, gators, Ag bikes and 4WDrive vehicles to be put through their paces and a working farm area will showcase the latest farm machinery, tractors, slashers and ride-on mowers.

Keen to master rural life?  Take some advice from locals happy to share their experience at the Small Farm & Lifestyle Expo at the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit, Saturday and Sunday November 22 and 23 from 9am- 5pm.    Adults $10 entry at gate;  and children 17 and under,  and dogs - on a leash - admitted free.

For sites call Paul Coleman at the circuit on 03 5952 2710 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For further media information call Ingrid Roepers on mobile 04 111 989 44 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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