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Barwon South-West Ag news
Thursday 4 July 2019
In this edition

Sunraysia is next - Young Farmers Business Bootcamp

Farming to grow profits at Elmore

Ambitious new technology trial now ope to Serpentine farmers

Soil Moisture Monitoring latest report

The Very Fast Break - June

Global Table exhibitor's participation call out

Water hyacinth found in urban lake

2019 Stonefruit Research Roadshow

Skilling the next generation of Victorian farmers

Farm drainage and reuse incentives for irrigation farmers

New feeding livestock website

Drought and dry seasons webinar series

Look Over the Farm Gate funding

What's On

Enter the Rural Press Club Awards now

Save the dates

Sunraysia is next - Young Farmers Business Bootcamp
Young Farmers Advisory Council member Jennifer Zappia on her table grape property at Merbein.

Agriculture Victoria is running a highly motivating, two-day Young Farmer Business Bootcamp at SuniTAFE’s Cardross SMART farm campus on Friday 23 August and Tuesday 27 August.

Agriculture Victoria Program Manager Kellyanne Harris said this bootcamp is focusing on upskilling young growers and those new to managing a horticulture business in the Sunraysia area.

“The practical workshops will ensure participants walk away with cash flow budgeting skills, a strong understanding of risk management and planning, plus fine-tuning their business goals,” Ms Harris said.

“These bootcamps are an important part of the support provided by Agriculture Victoria to young and future farm managers.

“We are delivering these events to support young farm owners and managers tackle the current conditions and think ahead to the longer-term goals of their business.”

Local member of Agriculture Victoria’s Young Farmers Advisory Council, and table-grape grower Jennifer Zappia (pictured above), played a major role in getting the bootcamp delivered in Sunraysia.

Ms Zappia said as a young farmer and current participant of Northern Mallee Leaders, I am thrilled that young farmers in Sunraysia will have the opportunity to attend a Young Farmer Business Bootcamp.

“It is fantastic that Agriculture Victoria is supporting the growth of agriculture in our region, by providing accessible support to young farmers, who are undoubtedly the future of Victorian agriculture,” Ms Zappia said.

The bootcamp will be delivered by Gavin Beever, Principal Consultant with Cumbre Consultants.

Please view Gavin’s Meet the Expert profile on the extensionAUS™ Young Farmer Business Network.

What: Two-day free Young Farmer Business Bootcamp, plus optional two-hour follow up session.

Where: SuniTAFE’s Cardross SMART farm campus, 161 Dairtnunk Avenue, Irymple.

When: Bootcamp delivered on Friday 24 August and Tuesday 27 August. Optional follow up session on Wednesday 28 August.

Create an account and register for this event at

If young farmers can’t make it to one of our bootcamps, we urge them to visit the Young Farmer Business Network website and join the Facebook group, where they will have access to a wide range of resources tailored for them.

The bootcamp is hosted by Agriculture Victoria with funding support from LaunchVic, and support from Mildura Regional Partnership, SuniTAFE and Northern Mallee Leaders.

For more information please contact Sarah Wallis, Young Farmer Project Coordinator at or on (03) 5761 1573.

Farming to grow profits at Elmore

A farm business forum at Elmore this month will add impetus to local grain growers’ efforts to build the profitability of their enterprises.

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) is hosting a Farm Business Update at Elmore Memorial Hall on Thursday, 18 July.

Topics up for discussion include the grain market outlook, investing in grain storage, buying and leasing additional farm land, and the seasonal forecast for 2019.

GRDC Grower Relations Manager – South, Darren Arney, says the Farm Business Update serves an important purpose in ensuring regional grain growers remain at the forefront of rapidly evolving business requirements and considerations.

“Opportunities exist for our growers to build farm profitability through decision-making around the non-agronomic aspects on their grain enterprises,” Mr Arney said.

“The Farm Business Update at Elmore is a platform for addressing business issues that have a direct influence on their profitability.”

How to make grain storage work and get more value out of the supply chain will be the focus of a presentation by Chris Warrick from Primary Business.

Mr Warrick, who also co-ordinates the GRDC’s Grain Storage Project, will outline the key planning and design features of effective on-farm storage and will explain how growers can develop marketing and operational practices that improve the bottom line.

Considerations around buying and leasing additional land or investing off-farm will be discussed by Tim Haines from Farmanco who will dissect the fundamentals for investment analysis and the current market conditions around securing finance.

Dale Grey (pictured right) from Agriculture Victoria will offer a seasonal forecast for the remainder of the year and will delve into data from the past and how it can influence future decisions.

Brad Knight from GeoCommodities will provide an update on grain markets and will examine key decision points pivotal in

Agriculture Victoria Seasonal Risk Agronomist Dale Grey holding rain gauge.

developing a grain marketing strategy that delivers the highest income opportunity for farm businesses.

To be attended by growers, advisers and agribusiness personnel, the GRDC Farm Business Update will be from 9am to 1pm, with catering provided (including lunch).

For a detailed program and to register for the Update, please visit or phone ORM on 03 5441 6176 or email

Ambitious new technology trial now open to Serpentine farmers
Agriculture Victoria IoT trial EOI Birchip. Mark Gould, Minister Symes, Georgina Warner and John Mitchell.

An innovative trial testing the potential of Internet of Things (IoT) technology on farms is now open to sheep farmers around Serpentine.

Over the next two years, Agriculture Victoria will partner with hundreds of farms in the trial across four regions: dairy in Maffra, grains in Birchip, sheep in Serpentine and horticulture in Tatura.

The trial will support Victorian farmers to investigate and capitalise on the opportunities of digital technology, putting themselves at the forefront of farming innovation.

In the first round, eligible farmers will have access to grants of up to $30,000 to cover up to two-thirds of the cost of acquiring IoT technology from a catalogue of products put together for the trial.

Embracing digital agriculture has the potential to boost the value of Australia’s agricultural production by $20.3 billion.

IoT technology – making appliances ‘smart’ by connecting them to each other via the internet – will be at the heart of this growth.

IoT technology will allow farmers to gather on-farm data from embedding sensors on devices such as soil moisture probes, weather stations and silo storage monitors.

Sheep farmers around Serpentine who want to take a low-risk approach to investing in new technology are encouraged to take part in the trial and test new devices that could boost their farm’s efficiency and productivity.

Expression of interest and further information can be found at

Expressions of interest close on 2 August. 

The On-Farm IoT Trial is part of the Victorian Government’s Connecting Victoria Program which aims to improve digital connectivity and usability for rural and regional Victoria.

Soil Moisture Monitoring latest report
Soil Moisture Monitoring cropping

The soil moisture monitoring project, with the use of capacitance probes, provides real time soil water content data.

Monitoring sites have been set up in cropping regions throughout the state by Agriculture Victoria.

The sites record soil water content at one source point from 30 centimetres down to one metre as a reference point for a paddock

Read the latest data here.

The Very Fast Break - June
Video clip from The Very Fast Break for July.

They say farmers are never happy! Well who could blame them? Even when it's positive, it's negative.

Our Seasonal Risk Agronomist Dale Grey (tries) to explain to a not-so-attentive class in this month's The Very Fast Break. **WATCH HERE**

If you have comments, questions or feedback address them to Dale Grey at

Global Table exhibitor’s participation call out
Global table poster. Feeding our Future.

The Victorian Government is seeking applications from export-ready Victorian food and beverage organisations to participate as official Victorian Exhibitors at Global Table 2019.

The world event is taking place in Melbourne from 3 to 6 September 2019.

Expression of Interest registration has been extended until 31 July 2019.

Global Table is a dynamic new business event that connects global industry leaders, innovators, corporates and governments who are committed to transforming the food industry towards a more sustainable future through trade, investment and innovation.

Emerging and export-ready Australian exhibitors in the categories of dairy, meat, grocery line, grains and baking, and non-alcoholic beverages are encouraged to take part in what will be Australia's biggest agribusiness event to showcase their innovation and expertise.

The Victorian Government will host a Victorian Trade Zone at the trade show to support eligible Victorian organisations to exhibit.

Victorian Exhibitors will have the opportunity to showcase their products at the Global Table Trade Zone and connect to new opportunities with international buyers and visitors attending the Expo.

The Victorian Government is offering a subsidy of up to $2200 for approved and qualified Victorian exhibitors. Places for the subsidy are limited though and will be distributed as a first-come, first-served basis.

Dates: Tuesday 3 September to Friday 6 September 2019

Location: Melbourne Showgrounds - Epsom Road, Ascot Vale

Cost for Victorian exhibitors: $2420 for a Standard Trade Booth - upfront payment is required.

Register your interest before 31 July.

Water hyacinth found in urban lake
Garden pot full of water hyacinth, a state prohibited weed that is highly destructive and an aggressive spreader.

One of the world’s worst weeds, water hyacinth, has been found and treated in the ‘Waterways’ estate in Melbourne’s south east.

Agriculture Victoria Biosecurity Officers removed 14 plants from Sunset Lagoon, one of the constructed lakes on the estate.

A Weed Spotter volunteer reported the infestation to Agriculture Victoria, enabling officers to treat the infestation before it had begun to spread.

High Risk Invasive Plants Biosecurity Manager, Angela Constantine, said Agriculture Victoria would continue to monitor the site for many years to ensure it stays free of the aquatic weed.

“Water hyacinth is a highly invasive aquatic weed. The plant grows rapidly, forming a dense, impenetrable mat on the water’s surface that can reduce water quality, devastate wetlands and displace native aquatic species,” she said.

“In just one season, a single water hyacinth plant can produce more than 3000 seeds that can survive for up to 20 years.

“Therefore, it is very important to prevent water hyacinth from entering or establishing infestations in our waterways.

“Water hyacinth can be identified by its distinctive mauve flower and bulbous spongy stems. Often kept for its very attractive flower, owners may be unaware of the profound threat it poses.”

Anyone who may have seen water hyacinth plants, or may potentially have it in their possession, is urged to contact Agriculture Victoria on 136 186 and not attempt to remove the plants themselves.

Agriculture Victoria will remove any water hyancinth plants found at no cost to the land owner.

For more information about water hyacinth and invasive plant management visit the Agriculture Victoria website at or call the Customer Service Centre on 136 186.

2019 Stonefruit Research Roadshow

Agriculture Victoria’s 2019 Stonefruit Research Roadshow will be held in the Riverland, Sunraysia and Goulburn-Murray regions across a series of events in August.

Agriculture Victoria Senior Research Scientist Dr Mark O'Connell said the roadshow is an opportunity to meet with growers and industry to discuss the latest results from Agriculture Victoria’s Profitable Stonefruit Research Program undertaken at Tatura and at AgriBio, the Centre for AgriBioscience in Melbourne.

“These roadshows have been held annually since 2016 and previous participants have confirmed they want to know more about how to best manage their orchards for high-quality fruit that meets the preferences of consumers,” Dr O’Connell said.

“One of our key presenters, Christine Frisina, is completing her PhD on harvest maturity impacting fruit quality and will report her interesting findings.”

This year's roadshow presenters and topics include:

  • Industry updates - Trevor Ranford, Summerfruit Australia CEO
  • Harvest maturity impacting fruit quality - Christine Frisina, Agriculture Victoria
  • Irrigation management impacts on fruit quality - Dr Mark O'Connell, Agriculture Victoria
  • Observations from monitoring export fruit: sea freight and air freight - Glenn Hale, Agriculture Victoria
  • Stonefruit cultivar performance during export and predicting shelf life – Dr John Lopresti, Agriculture Victoria
  • New fruit quality monitoring technology - Dr Dario Stefanelli, Agriculture Victoria
  • Profitable Stonefruit e-newsletter, plus new website features - Mark Hincksman, Agriculture Victoria.
  • Visit the 2019 Stonefruit Research Roadshow at:
  • Renmark at 7pm, Tuesday 13 August, Renmark Hotel, Murray Avenue, Renmark, SA
  • Swan Hill at 7pm, Wednesday 14 August, Murray Downs Golf and Country Club, Murray Downs Drive, Murray Downs, NSW
  • Cobram at 7pm, Thursday 15 August, Grand Central Hotel, 36 Punt Road, Cobram, VIC

For more information please contact Mark Hincksman on 0437 254 913 or at

Skilling the next generation of Victorian farmers
infograph reads Now Open! Young Farmers Scholarship Program.

The Victorian Government’s Upskill and Invest Young Farmers Scholarships are now open to young farmers looking to access study and training, and then invest on-farm or in further professional development.

Applications for this year’s round of scholarships are open to farmers aged 35 or under who have been working in farm businesses at least three days a week for the past three months, with at least two years total experience on-farm.

To find out more about the program and to apply for a scholarship visit

Farm drainage and reuse incentives for irrigation farmers

Agriculture Victoria invites Expressions of Interest (EOI) from farmers in the Loddon Valley and Torrumbarry Irrigation Areas looking for incentives to construct farm drains and reuse systems on irrigated farms.

Landholders in areas with no direct access to off farm drainage or currently draining to a wetland or area of high conservation value may be eligible for funding.

For more information or to lodge an EOI please contact Kathy Long, Agriculture Victoria on (03) 5482 0429 or

Expressions of Interest close on 30 July 2019.

New feeding livestock website

Agriculture Victoria's sheep and beef drought feeding books have gone virtual, alongside a range of online management tools to help farmers respond to drought and dry seasonal conditions.

Key features of the website, include;

- tools and calculators

- sheep resources

- beef resources

- climate information

- unusual feeds

- stock water information

a picture of sheep at the livestock yards near Bendigo
Drought and dry seasons webinar series

The drought and dry seasons phone seminars/webinars which focussed on assisting livestock producers manage farms in drought and dry seasonal conditions were recorded and are now available online:

Establishing a stock containment area
Farm water supply
Livestock feeding and nutrition in dry times
Pasture recovery after rain

Look over the farm gate

Loddon Mallee farmers and communities facing drought and dry conditions can apply for funding under the Look Over the Farm Gate Program.

Look Over the Farm Gate events let  farmers take a break from the farm, reconnect, access professional support and participate in mental health training.

Look over the farm gate cartoon image showing farm dog, light plane, silos, windmill and gate leading to a paddock.

The program encourages community groups to think creatively about what single event or series of events would be most effective.

It could be anything from a barbeque and comedy night, regular fitness meet-ups in the park, or a family movie night.

Look Over the Farm Gate is a mental health and wellbeing initiative funded by the Victorian State Government.

It's managed by the VFF in partnership with the Royal Flying Doctor Service, the Country Women’s Association, the Country Fire Authority, and The National Centre for Farmer Health.

For more information about eligibility and how to apply, visit the website.

What's On
Seasonal Climate Update Webinars for Winter

These lunchtime webinars, with seasonal risk agronomist Dale Grey, will focus on the seasonal climate outlook, based on model projections for the climate drivers as well as the oceanic, atmospheric and soil moisture conditions of particular relevance to the grains industry in the three GRDC Southern Region states

These webinars are simply on-line presentations which allow you to ask questions. They will be recorded, so if you miss the live presentation you can watch it later at a time that suits you.


Victorian winter climate update
Monday 15 July 2019 at 12 pm AEST
Event number: 575 589 208
Event password: vicfastbreak
Click here to attend the Victorian winter climate update webinar.

South Australian winter climate update
Tuesday 16 July 2019 at 12 pm AEST
Event number: 578 936 361
Event password: SAFastBreak
Click here to attend the Victorian winter climate update webinar.

Tasmanian winter climate update
Wednesday 17 July 2019 at 12 pm AEST
Event number: 570 291 680
Event password: tasfastbreak
Click here to attend the Victorian winter climate update webinar.

Australian Sheep and Wool Show – 19 to 21 July, Bendigo

The 142nd Australian Sheep and Wool Show will be held over three days at the Prince of Wales Showground, 42-72 Holmes Rd, Bendigo, Victoria.

For full event details please visit

Opportunity for profit workshop
Event Details

When: Tuesday, 16 July
12 – 2.30 pm

Where: Avoca

Registration: To register or for more information, phone (08) 8841 4500, email or visit.


The half day workshops will delve into the results from the GRDC three-year national project investment entitled ‘the integration of profit drivers and technical information for more informed decisions’.

The project was led by Rural Directions Pty Ltd in the southern region, in association with Meridian Agriculture and Macquarie Franklin.

James Hillcoat, of Rural Directions, says the research has benchmarked more than 300 grain businesses nationally to identify what drives profit in each agro-ecological zone and how the provision of technical information links with these profit drivers.

Kate Burke of Think Agri will co-deliver at each location.

GRDC Farm Business Update (Elmore)

When: Thursday, 18 July
9 am - 1 pm (Doors open at 8:30 am)

Where: Elmore Memorial Hall
63 Hervey Street, Elmore


The GRDC Farm Business Update Events Drive Innovation And Adoption Of Improved Farm Business Management Practices Across The Grains Industry.

Click Here For Speakers & Topics
Click Here To Register

Contact name Jane Foster
Contact email
Contact phone (03) 5441 6176
Cost: $30 per person and $20 for additional attendees

GRDC herbicide behaviour workshops, Victoria

Bendigo - 22 and 23 July
All Seasons Hotel, 171-183 McIvor Hwy, Bendigo VIC 3550

Swan Hill - 17 and 18 September
Swan Hill Club, 5-17 McCallum St, Swan Hill VIC 3585

Mildura - 19 and 20 September
Mildura Golf Resort, 287 Twelfth St, Mildura VIC 3500


When confronted with a range of weed problems and environmental conditions, the challenge is to optimise the results in the field.

Knowing what weeds can be controlled from a herbicide application is the easy bit - it’s on the label.

More challenging questions include;

  • Why do herbicides perform or fail in some situations?
  • Critical comments on the label. Why do they exist and how were they developed?
  • How do adjuvants and water conditioning agents work? What should be used, when and why?
  • How does resistance affect different herbicides?
  • What strategies can be used as resistance emerges?
  • How do residual herbicides work and what influences their breakdown?

These small group workshops will run for 1.5-days.

Participant numbers are limited to ensure active participation and discussion.

Many previous workshops have ‘sold-out’, so registration is essential to secure your place.

While the workshop content is targeted to experienced agronomists, interested growers are welcome to register online here.

Cost is $165 ($150 + GST) per workshop.

VFF Livestock Group annual meeting

When: Wednesday, 24 July

Annual Meeting | 1.30 - 4.45 pm

40th Dinner | 6.30 - 10.30 pm

Where: Silks Function Centre - Bendigo Racecourse


Keynote Speaker: Kevin Sheedy - AFL Legend
Guest Speaker: Jaclyn Symes, Minister for Agriculture
Guest speaker: Jacqueline Baptista – MLA CommunityEngagement Manager

For further details visit: or contact
VFF Member Services on 1300 882 833
RSVP by 17 July 2019

Innovation Generation 2019

When: Monday - Wednesday, 22 - 24 July

Where: Ballarat, Mercure Ballarat Hotel & Convention Centre, 613 Main Road, Golden Point, Victoria

Registrations close tomorrow (12 July).


Celebrating its 13th year, Innovation Generation has been hosted in six states and territories across Australia and attracted more than 1800 young agricultural enthusiasts.

If you are 18-40 and working in the agriculture industry, Innovation Generation is the one conference you can't afford to miss.

Bringing together award-winning speakers, innovators and industry professionals from across the sector, you will be inspired, challenged and will strengthen your network.

To register, click here.

A poster promoting Innovation Generation features two young farmers female and male.
Breaking New Ground

When: Wednesday, 24 July, 8.30 am -1.30 pm

Where: Barham, NSW, Western Murray Land Improvement Group


Save the date for a half-day forum exploring the latest information on business management tools and agricultural technology and innovation.

GRDC Grains Research Update

When: Thursday, 25 July

Where: Moama Bowling Club
6 Shaw Street, Moama NSW


See and discuss the latest research in the grains sector with presentations regarding how to apply new and relevant information to your farming systems. More information coming...
To register, click here.

Fox bounty collection continues

Bendigo – Corner Midland Hwy and Taylor Street, Epsom
Monday 5 August, 10.30 am – 12.30 pm

Ouyen – Gregory Street, Ouyen
Tuesday 6 August, 2 – 4 pm

St Arnaud – 4 Montague Street, St Arnaud
Thursday 8 August, 10.30 am – 12.30 pm

Swan Hill – 7 Quin Drive, Swan Hill
Tuesday 6 August, 8.30 – 10.30 am


The Victorian Government’s fox bounty resumed in March and has been running since 2011.

Agriculture Victoria is again collecting until the end of October, which is consistent with previous years.

Eligible participants can submit entire fox scalps for a $10 reward.

Upcoming fox bounty collections for the Barwon South West region are for foxes only.

For full details on bounty collection times and locations, terms and conditions, and frequently asked questions, visit or phone 136 186.

Enter the Rural Press Club Awards now
Rural Press Club Awards photo from last year's dinner presentation.

The Rural Press Club of Victoria 2019 Rural and Regional Journalism and Photography Awards showcase and recognise the best journalism and photography across the State and highlight media outlets that have inspired change in their communities.

Journalists and photographers enter their best work and also compete for the prestigious Journalist and Photographer of the Year titles.

Each newspaper, radio station and TV station also compete for the Media Outlet of the Year award, which is hotly contested.

This year’s gala awards night will be held on Friday, 23 August to recognise the best work published from 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019.

The awards are open to all journalists, photographers and media outlets in Victoria and Tasmania. Journalists and photographers can enter the awards from 24 June 24 - 19 July.

To enter the awards, you need to be a member of the Rural Press Club of Victoria.

Find out more here.


From the Ground Up, 18 - 20 September

As the cost of inputs rise and the challenges of farming in a changing climate become more pressing, we need to find new approaches to managing our farm businesses.

Regenerative agriculture can help you reduce costs by more efficiently using the resources you already have available.

Through working with natural inputs and learning to work more effectively with natural processes, regenerative agriculture can help improve your soil, pastures and livestock health while also improving your bottom line.

Hosted by biodynamic farmer, grazier and 2018 Bob Hawke Landcare Award Winner Charlie Arnott, this three-day conference introduces you to the fundamental principles of regenerative agriculture. 

The program includes presentations, panel discussions and field visits.

From the ground up event poster.

The program

18 September: Why do we need Regenerative Agriculture?  What is the history of our landscape and what does this tell us about the future? What do we need to understand about our changing climate and how are communities coming together to respond to challenges?

19 September: How do we do Regenerative Agriculture? Foundational technical learning in building and maintaining healthy soils, ground cover and pasture management.

20 September: What would my business look like? Hear about examples of successful regenerative agriculture businesses at all scales. Understand the challenges and opportunities that you might face.


Wednesday, 18 September 2019 | 8.30 am – 4.30 pm

Thursday, 19 September 2019 | 8.30 am – 4.30 pm

Friday, 20 September 2019 | 9 am - 4:30 pm

3rd Australian Pulse Conference,16 and 17 October

Please join us on what will be an exciting journey into pulse research and development – linking cutting edge technological research to improved profitability for growers and providing healthy options for human consumption – Taste and Technology.

Call for abstracts are now open, closing 27 June.

Early bird registration closes 8 August.

To register or view the program.

Subscribe here to the 'Loddon Mallee Ag News' e-newsletter and share this link with your colleagues.

Contacting Agriculture Victoria

Call 136 186 from anywhere in Australia for the cost of a local call (except for mobiles and public telephones).

If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment
contact the National Relay Service on 133 677 or

A full list of our contact points can be found at:

Don't forget to check out Agriculture Victoria's social media sites for up-to-date information and news.


'Like' our Agriculture Victoria Facebook page.


Follow us on Twitter @VicGovAg


Subscribe to the Agriculture Victoria YouTube channel. 


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