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Gippsland Ag news
Thursday, 19 March 2020
In this edition
Latest news
Farming and Community Group Drought Funding grants program

Victorian farming communities impacted by drought and dry seasonal conditions will have more access to the information and expertise they need.

The $650,000 Farming and Community Group Drought Funding program, which is now open, provides grants of up to $25,000 for groups to engage technical experts or specialists to deliver training to farmers that is designed to help them prepare for, respond to and manage drought and dry seasonal conditions.

The program is open to community groups including Landcare and land management groups, industry groups, farming systems groups, farming discussion groups and other not-for-profit organisations.

Groups in the Millewa, East Gippsland and the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District are particularly encouraged to apply.

A similar program which ran last year was extremely successful, delivering 30 activities, engaging more than 900 farmers and 200 service providers.

Applications for the 2020 Farming and Community Group Drought Funding opened on March 16 and close on 1 April. Projects must be delivered between April and June 2020.

The program is part of the $81 million funding package that the Victorian Government has committed to support the state’s worst-hit farming businesses and families to recover from the impacts of drought.

For more information about the program and other assistance available to help farmers call 136186 or visit

Graziers warned to beware of phalaris toxicity

Sheep and cattle producers are being advised to keep an eye out for signs of phalaris toxicity which can lead to illness and sudden death in livestock.

With the flush of new growth across the region following recent rainfall after a prolonged dry period, there is currently an increased risk of livestock suffering from phalaris toxicity as a result of consuming young phalaris grass.

In its early stages of growth (usually the first six weeks) phalaris grass contains toxic alkaloids, which if grazed, can lead to animals developing phalaris staggers. In contrast, phalaris sudden death syndrome is caused by high levels of ammonia in the animal’s system.

Both sheep and cattle may suffer staggers or sudden death after grazing phalaris, although cattle are less susceptible than sheep.

Agriculture Victoria District Veterinary Officer Rachel Gibney said phalaris staggers can develop between 10 days and four months after grazing pasture and animals can even show signs months after being removed from phalaris.

“Sheep that start staggering may improve, but may be left with staggers for life,” she said.

Physical signs that an animal has phalaris staggers include staggering or stumbling, a bunny hop gait, head nodding, trouble standing or trouble eating and weight loss.

Dr Gibney said sudden death syndrome usually develops 12 to 36 hours after the animal has been on pasture.

“Signs include breathing difficulties and blue-coloured gums and the animal will usually die,” she said.

“If phalaris toxicity is suspected stock should be removed immediately, but slowly, from pasture.”

To avoid phalaris toxicity it is best to avoid grazing phalaris during the first six weeks of new growth or to limit the intake of phalaris during the first two days of grazing to just a few hours per day.

“Farmers should also manage stocking rates and feed hay before giving animals access to pasture to ensure they are not overly hungry and consume less,” Dr Gibney said.

“Cobalt supplementation may help prevent phalaris staggers, but not the sudden death syndrome.”

For further advice contact your local veterinarian or Agriculture Victoria veterinary or animal health officer.

Milking the Weather – autumn edition out now

The autumn edition of Milking the Weather is now available online, featuring:

  • Farmer case studies – three farmers talk about managing seasonal risk successfully
  • Victorian seasonal climate summary (summer 2019/2020) and the autumn outlook
  • Managing the autumn ahead
  • Seasonal soil moisture condition assessment update

Milking the Weather is available online here. To subscribe, contact Maria Rose at

Young farmers shaping the future of agriculture

Expressions of Interest are now open to join the Young Farmers Advisory Council.

The Victorian Government is seeking enthusiastic, skilled and dynamic young people, from all agricultural industries and regions, to join the Young Farmers Advisory Council.

Council members represent the interests of young farmers and provide advice to government on issues and program delivery affecting young people in agriculture.

For more information and to express your interest go to

Expressions of Interest close on 22 March 2020.

Drought and dry seasons support services and information
Grant applications now open – closing 1 April

The program is open to Landcare and land management groups, industry groups, farming systems groups, farming discussion groups and not-for-profit and community organisations in Victoria.  Groups in the Millewa, East Gippsland and the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District are particularly encouraged to apply.

Grants of up to $25,000 (excluding GST) are available to engage technical experts and/or specialists to provide relevant and appropriate technical advice, information and support to a group of farmers or landholders to help them prepare for, respond to and manage drought and dry seasonal conditions.  

This can include, but is not limited to the following technical themes:

  • Irrigation and water
  • Livestock management, including animal nutrition, health, feed and water budgeting
  • Crop, pasture and grazing establishment and management
  • Land and soil management
  • Stock containment area use and management
  • Whole farm and business planning
  • Climate adaptation
  • Other targeted themes will be considered on a case by case basis.

Applications will close on 1 April 2020 at 11.59 pm. 

A broad range of delivery options will be considered including activities delivered by teleconference, webinar, e-learning, podcast or other technology that can bring groups together.

Please review the program guidelines available here and submit an online application.

For more information please contact

Domestic and stock bore license fee waiver

The Victorian Government is waiving the $235 application fee for new domestic and stock bore construction licences (BCL) for landholders in eligible areas of Victoria.

This initiative will help landholders secure their domestic and stock water supply needs in areas experiencing drought and dry conditions.

Apply online at the Victorian Water Register

Household Financial Relief Program

The Household Financial Relief program is being delivered by The Country Women's Association of Victoria Inc. – CWA through its CWA Drought Relief Program.

The program can provide up to $3000 to eligible farming families, farm workers and farm dependent contractors to reimburse them for household expenses like school costs, utilities, food and medical bills.

For more information and to apply contact the CWA online at or email them at

For more about the program and other available drought support visit or call 136 186.

Gippsland farmers – use the drought resilience grant to restore your pastures!

Farmers in Wellington and East Gippsland shires are reminded that the $5000 On-Farm Drought Resilience Grant can be used to purchase seed and fertiliser to restore drought affected pastures.

With recent rainfall in the region, now is a good time to invest in on-farm infrastructure that will improve drought preparedness and better position your farm business into the future.

The infrastructure component of this grant must have been purchased or undertaken on or after 2 October 2019.

To access the guidelines and eligibility criteria, contact Rural Finance on 1800 260 425 or visit

For more information about other drought and dry seasonal conditions support from Agriculture Victoria go to or call 136 186.

Drought employment program

The East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority received funding for the Drought Employment Program from the Victorian Government last October.

The program provides off-farm employment training for farmers, farm workers and individuals affected by drought and dry seasonal conditions to expand or obtain transferable employment skills.

For further information:

Phone East Gippsland CMA on (03) 5152 0600 


Visit Gippsland drought employment 

On-farm emergency water infrastructure rebate scheme

Producers are encouraged to access the On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme for the purchase and installation of emergency water infrastructure for livestock.

In Gippsland, the scheme is available to eligible farm businesses in the Wellington and East Gippsland shires.

Farm businesses NOT in these local government areas can make an application if they can demonstrate a critical water need for livestock resulting from current seasonal conditions.
These applications will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

The scheme is available for water infrastructure purchased since 1 July 2018. Guidelines and application details can be obtained from Rural Finance.

What's on
Trade or breed – what are your restocking options?

Are you wondering about the right herd structure going forward? Want to make informed decisions for the future direction of your herd?

Event Details

Monday, 23 March
9.15 am – 2.30 pm

Bairnsdale area – location provided upon registration. Catering provided.



Paul Blackshaw is a farm business advisor with Meridian Agriculture. He is a specialist in farm business economics with experience in financial analysis, benchmarking, leadership, industry extension projects, rural financial counselling, strategic leadership and planning.


Using real financial data from an East Gippsland herd, Paul will explore the financial and risk implications of several different herd structures including breeding and selling weaners, breeding and finishing steers, breeding and trading to fill feed gaps and trading only. Participants will receive an Excel tool to calculate this for their herd using their own financial data.

For more information:

Contact Caroline Love, Agriculture Victoria Bairnsdale on 0427 515 668. Registration is essential as space is limited.

For more information about assistance available to help farmers manage during drought conditions call 136 186 or visit

East Gippsland autumn pasture recovery – Gippsland Agriculture Group

Are you considering options for renovating your pastures this autumn?  Want to know more about the Gippsland Agriculture Group (GAgG)?

Event Details

Friday, 27 March
8.30 am for breakfast

9.30 –11.30 am

Gippsland Agriculture Group
345a Bengworden Road


Topics:  Pasture recovery, rebuilding herd numbers and available drought grants.  A Rural Financial Counsellor will also be attending to answer your questions. 

Presenters:  Janice Dowe and Caroline Love from Agriculture Victoria in East Gippsland have been working in the broadacre crop, pasture, irrigation and livestock sectors for many years.

Venue: The Gippsland Agricultural Group Inc. is a volunteer, not-for-profit organisation based in Gippsland, members conduct research trials and demonstrations and share their findings to benefit farmers in the region. This workshop will be held at the GAgG trial site in Bairnsdale.

For more information:

Contact Caroline Love, Agriculture Victoria Bairnsdale on 0427 515 668. Bookings not required.

For more information about assistance available to help farmers manage during drought conditions call 136 186 or visit

Agriculture Recovery Information Sessions – Gelantipy and Sarsfield

Landholders are invited to attend farm recovery information sessions at Gelantipy and Sarsfield.

Event Details


Wednesday, 1 April
1 – 4 pm


Thursday, 2 April
1 – 4 pm

Please contact Keren Walker for property location details on 0477 706 384 or 5159 5118. 



Pasture recovery and management

  • Fire-affected pastures: what will recover?
  • Grazing management of fire-affected pastures
  • Pasture and cropping options for winter feed and replenishing fodder reserves
  • Preparation and sowing
  • Weeds and weed control
  • Soil fertility.

Animal health and feeding

Drought and fire recovery assistance

A Rural Financial Counsellor will be in attendance to answer questions regarding support and financial assistance packages.

Seed company representatives will also be in attendance to provide information on the latest pasture and crop varieties.

For further information, please contact East Gippsland Agriculture Recovery Manager Keren Walker on 0477 706 384 or 5159 5118.

Fox and wild dog bounty collection schedule for Gippsland

Acceptable entire fox scalps and entire wild dog skin pieces will be collected from eligible members of the public at specific dates and times, and from sites scheduled as collection centres.

Please note that no entire-fox scalps or entire wild dog skin pieces will be accepted at any public counter or state government office. Collections will only be accepted at scheduled collection centres.


Monday, 23 March
Monday, 18 May

2 – 4 pm

1301 Hazeldean Road


Tuesday, 24 March
Tuesday, 19 May

12 – 2 pm

35 Bairnsdale–Dargo Road

MAFFRA depot

Wednesday, 25 March
Wednesday, 20 May

9 – 11 am

1 Stratford Road


YARRAM (fox only)

Wednesday, 25 March
Wednesday, 20 May

2 – 4 pm

Rodgers Street

WOORI YALLOCK depot (fox only)

Thursday, 26 March
Thursday, 21 May

12 – 2 pm

Symes Road
Woori Yallock

For full details on bounty collection times and locations, terms and conditions, and frequently asked questions, visit or call the Customer Service Centre on 136 186.

Tools for better irrigation scheduling
Event Details


Wednesday, 25 March

12 – 1 pm


Register here


This presentation is on irrigation scheduling tools that can achieve top yields and water use efficiency.

Rob O'Connor is a Senior Irrigation Extension Officer with Agriculture Victoria. His presentation will provide information on Evapotranspiration (ET) tools and services available to irrigators and will share results and learnings from using soil moisture monitoring equipment for more informed irrigation decision making.

Presenter: Rob O’Connor has a long history working with farmers on irrigation-related issues. For the past five years, Rob has specialised in the area of irrigation scheduling.

Register here

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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:

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