Restoring community spirit with turf


The backbone of many small towns is often sport and agriculture and the glue that binds it together are the community volunteers.


When times get tough, communities come together to help families and organisations get back on their feet.

The Upper Murray region is no exception. The 2019/20 fires devastated many farms in the district, homes and many livestock were lost. Amongst the losses was the Cudgewa football ground and a part of the nearby Towong racecourse.


Matt Jarvis is born and bred Cudgewa Football Netball Club and remembers starting out as an 8 year old in the under 13’s and then progressing to his first senior game in 1999. He is now the junior Vice President and along with his brother Brad (President) they share the role as ground keeper.

The fires of 2019 were the driving force behind the restoration of the oval. With the aid of donations and sponsorship, and many volunteer hours from the community, the oval is now restored.


“The ground has had small renovations over the years,” said Matt. “But nothing to the extent we have now. More often than not, the ground would be maintained during the season and then over the summer months it would be left until the following year. We might cut the grass for hay in summer, but that would be it.


“Our biggest stumbling block was actually watering. We had a few fixed point sprinklers, but the results would be patchy at best as the sprinklers did not cover the whole ground. It was our Achilles Heel. The donations meant that we had some extra funds available to help purchase a travelling irrigator which meant that a full renovation could be possible.”


At the end of the 2021 season, Matt in consultation with Barenbrug and the local Agmart store, sprayed the ground to knock out the weeds and grass, with a follow up spray in November after the spring rain.




A local farmer then power harrowed the field, only disturbing the top two inches. It was left over summer to break down the trash and then sprayed and harrowed again in late January. Another farmer then came in with his land plane to level the surface in preparation for sowing. The plan was to sow couch to form a base, and then oversow with Barenbrug RPR ryegrass. A wet summer meant that sowing was not possible until February. Again, with the aid of farmers, both the couch and ryegrass were sown in a three pass formation with a tine drill followed by a broadcast oversow of both seeds for uniformity. A tonne of MAP fertiliser donated by a local business was also spread over the ground prior to sowing.


Matt readily admits February was probably a bit late to sow as it only gave 10 weeks before the football season kicked off to establish. The wet summer played into their favour, as it gave the germination and growth needed. The problem the club faced was that the turf grew too well, making mowing a challenge into Round 1. In the week before Round 1, the ground was mown five times, to get it down to around 10cm length – which is still long for a playing field. It was slow progress as all the grass clippings needed to be raked up by hand to avoid the grass underneath from being burnt.


“If we had to pay for someone to do all this, I hate to think what the cost would have been. The help we had from our farmers and their equipment, giving a day here and there has been invaluable.


“The ground now has a lovely green colour from the Barenbrug RPR ryegrass and the couch is slowly establishing the base. Our sponsors, community and players are impressed with the results. Recruits that have come from other leagues further down the river have commented that the ground is now one of the better ones in country footy.”


In recent years, the netball courts and facilities at Cudgewa have been upgraded. The final piece of the puzzle, the upgrade of the oval, has given the community a positive outlook for the district.


“The sense of renewal, of moving on and enthusiasm from the community, our sponsors and our club is definitely noticeable. It is a much more enjoyable experience for everyone and gives a new purpose and a lease on life for the district. It has been hard work, but completely worth it. We cannot thank our volunteers enough for their support, time and effort.”


For more information on transforming your sportsfield into a community asset or establishing a pasture, contact Barenbrug (formerly Heritage Seeds) on 1800 007 333 or your local Territory Manager.