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Thursday 12 March 2020
In this edition

Don't misdiagnose eye cancer

Seasonal climate risk information for Victoria

Soils community of practice update

Crop variety data released to inform 2020 sowing programs

2020 fox and wild dog bounty collection schedules

NLIS management workshops for livestock producers

Producer demonstration sites program opening soon

Young farmer business network

Join the Young Farmers Advisory Council

Working in Dairy communities small grants program – applications open

Managing dry conditions

Drought and dry seasons workshops

Upcoming farmer workshops

Dry seasons support

What's On

Don't misdiagnose eye cancer

Dr Jeff Cave, District Veterinary Officer

There are several eye conditions that cattle can suffer from and one of the most common seen in Hereford or Poll Hereford cattle or white-faced Friesians is eye cancer.

Eye cancer, a tumour on the eyelid or eyeball, is the most common form of cancer in cattle, and in the early stages, can be misidentified as pink-eye.

Eye cancers may cause losses for producers due to condemnation at the abattoir and loss of potential production of affected stock.

The tumour begins as a tiny growth and steadily increases in size and will cause suffering if left unchecked. It may invade surrounding tissues and spread to other parts of the body.

The severity of eye cancers can be reduced by the early identification of growths and prompt action by either seeking veterinary treatment or culling.

The incidence can be reduced by genetic selection by selecting animals with pigmentation in the sclera ‘white’ of the eye and the eyelid.

The course of action that should be followed depends largely upon the size and severity of the cancer.

Small eye cancers may be readily cured by prompt veterinary treatment.

However, if the owner elects to cull the affected animal, the following guidelines should be used:

  • If the cancer is smaller than a five-cent piece, clean, and not flyblown, the animal can be sold through a saleyard for slaughter only.
  • If the cancer is sized between a five and 20-cent piece, clean, and not flyblown, the animal can be sold directly to an abattoir only.
  • If the cancer is bleeding, infected, flyblown or larger than a 20-cent piece, the animal should be immediately disposed of on-farm or via a knackery.

Owners who fail to take reasonable action to prevent suffering in their animals may be considered for prosecution under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986.

A photographic guide regarding the course of action that should be followed for different sized eye cancers is available on our website at and search ‘eye cancer in cattle’.

For further information please contact your local veterinarian or an Agriculture Victoria veterinary or animal health officer.

Seasonal climate risk information for Victoria
The Fast Break banner.

Nothing major has changed for the month.

Oceans are still warmer to our north creating more evaporation, and a number of tropical disturbances, but higher pressure still exists over the north which is inhibiting cloud formation.

Moisture is around, as long as you can get a connection to it.

The ENSO, SAM and IOD climate drivers are benign.

Trade Winds are having a tussle either side of the Dateline but nothing seems to be eventuating from it.

Pressure is the one feature of note that is different. After what seems an eternity where the pressure ridge has been further north than normal, it has finally shifted over Melbourne.

While this was letting more fronts through and moderating conditions south of the Divide, this would also suggest more settled conditions to the south if it continues.

Pressure has been lower over Victoria, but the majority of the moisture feed has been in the east of the state.

Models predict the Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean to remain warmer for the next three months maintaining warmer water to our north.

The Pacific Ocean is then predicted to go slightly cool in winter, indicating that a number of models predict some stronger trade winds to win out.

History tells me at this time of the year the Pacific Ocean could go in any direction with the current set up.

The vast majority of models have a neutral forecast for rainfall indicating equal chances of drier, average or wetter.

There is a split in predicted temperatures between warmer conditions being likely, versus neutral i.e., cooler, average or warmer.

Click here for the full 'break' analysis.

Soils community of practice update
Soils Community of Practice Update

January + February 2020

In this edition:

  • Editorial
  • Feature article: It's not too late to learn soil health tricks
  • Local news
  • National news
  • International news

Click here to read the full edition.

Crop variety data released to inform 2020 sowing programs

Important new data has been released to inform southern region grain growers’ crop variety choices for the 2020 season.

Harvesting of the extensive winter crop variety trials conducted through the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s (GRDC) National Variety Trials (NVT) program is complete and data from those trials is now available to growers and advisers.

GRDC NVT Manager – South, Rob Wheeler, said single site results from successful trials in 2019 had been finalised and this data has been fed into multi-year, multi-environment trial (MET) variety performance analysis.

“These multi-year, rolling datasets for all crops and growing regions will provide growers with the most valuable information to support their decision making around what to sow this year,” Mr Wheeler said.

“Long-term MET results are the most accurate and reliable means of interpreting variety performance across sites and years, rather than results from a single year.”

Results and analysis from the 224 trials harvested in 2019 across South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania can be viewed at

Growers and advisers are encouraged to base their variety decisions on not just yield results but also market receival quality data.

“Simply focusing on yield does not provide growers with a reliable indication of which varieties may potentially offer the best returns – the quality of the grain harvested is also an important factor,” Mr Wheeler said.

To support growers and advisers, the GRDC has produced instructional videos on ‘how to interpret NVT data (long-term yield results) using the NVT website’ and ‘how to navigate NVT’s website’. The videos can be viewed via the GRDC’s YouTube channel at

Season 2019 was a somewhat variable one across the southern cropping region and these conditions were reflected in the NVT program.

“The trials program in 2019 was generally a successful one, with a small percentage of trials compromised by frost and shattering due to strong winds, particularly just ahead of harvest in November,” Mr Wheeler, who discusses the southern NVT program in a video at, said.

“Data from those compromised trials is presented in a ‘quarantined’ report on NVT Online.

"This report provides growers with a transparent account of the fate of unreleased but not abandoned NVT trials, however, the data is of no value for the purposes of head-to-head variety comparison and should not be used for any variety selection decisions.”

Meanwhile, planning for the NVT program for 2020 is well underway, with the number of trials across the nation expected to be around 650.

The largest co-ordinated field trial network of its kind in the world, NVT is a 100 per cent GRDC investment that is fully administered by the GRDC on behalf of Australian grain growers and the Australian Government.

A national program of comparative crop variety testing with standardised trial management, data generation, collection and dissemination, NVT seeks to assist growers to optimise the profitability of their farming systems through choosing the most appropriate varieties for their growing environments.

GRDC NVT Senior Manager, Sean Coffey, said NVT represents a huge logistical undertaking, evaluating varieties for the 10 major crop types – wheat, barley, canola, chickpea, faba bean, field pea, lentil, lupin, oat and sorghum – within trials across the country.

“NVT evaluates more than 550 near-release or released varieties each year, generating highly valuable comparisons for variety agronomic performance, grain yields, disease and pest resistance and physical grain quality traits,” Mr Coffey said.

“NVT accepts lines into the program for testing two years prior to their commercial release. This ensures sufficient data is available for growers on newly released varieties to make informed variety selection decisions.”

Data analysis for NVT is conducted by a team of statisticians through the GRDC’s Statistics for the Australian Grains Industry (SAGI) program.

Mr Coffey said several new initiatives and features are being rolled out to enhance the NVT program and its value to the nation’s growers.

“We will soon be launching NVT Harvest Reports to further support growers and advisers with variety decision making.

"The 16 regionalised reports, covering the entire NVT network of trials, will provide the very latest independent varietal information on yield, quality and disease ratings and they are designed to complement the GRDC-supported state-based Sowing Guides, which are published prior to harvest.

“We are also finalising our trial service providers for the next four years, have updated and improved the trial protocols to ensure we optimise the outcomes from our trials program, and our investment in the provision of plant pathology information has been contracted for another five years to underpin a standardised national disease resistance rating system.”

Mr Coffey, who features in a video about NVT at, also thanked the many trial co-operators (landholders) across the country who continue to support the NVT program by allowing trials to be conducted on their properties.


Water hyacinth is a highly invasive weed that is choking lakes, rivers and water ways around the world and Agriculture Victoria is encouraging Victorians to report it to prevent it from taking hold in Victoria. Water hyacinth may look pretty but has a well-deserved reputation for being the world’s worst water weed. If you see or have any water hyacinth, or any other State prohibited weed, report it to the Agriculture Victoria Customer Service Centre on 136 186 or email

2020 fox and wild dog bounty collection schedules
fox scalpes

The Victorian Government’s fox and wild dog bounty has resumed.

Effective fox and wild dog management requires an integrated approach using all available management practices including poison baiting, trapping, exclusion fencing, fumigation and appropriate animal husbandry.

Hunting can play an important role in supporting an integrated management approach.

Bendigo collections (fox only)

Address: Cnr Midland Hwy and Taylor St, Epsom
Collection type: Fox only
Time: 10.30 am – 12.30 pm


  • Monday, 16 March 2020
  • Monday, 14 April 2020
  • Monday, 11 May 2020
  • Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Ouyen collections (fox only)

Address: Gregory St Ouyen
Collection type: Fox only
Time: 2 – 4 pm


  • Tuesday, 17 March 2020
  • Tuesday, 15 April 2020
  • Tuesday, 12 May 2020
  • Wednesday, 10 June 2020

St Arnaud collections (fox only)

Address: 4 Montague St, St Arnaud
Collection type: Fox only
Time: 10.30 am to 12.30 pm


  • Thursday, 19 March 2020
  • Thursday, 17 April 2020
  • Thursday, 14 May 2020
  • Friday, 12 June 2020

Swan Hill collections (fox only)

Address: 7 Quin Drv, Swan Hill
Collection type: Fox only
Time: 8.30 to 10.30 am


  • Tuesday, 17 March 2020
  • Tuesday, 15 April 2020
  • Tuesday, 12 May 2020
  • Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Please note:

  • No entire fox scalps or entire wild dog skin pieces will be accepted at any public counter or state government office.
  • Collection of entire wild dog skin pieces at Rainbow for the North West Wild Dog Control Area is by appointment only. Wild Dog Control Areas can be found in the bounty Terms and Conditions, Figure 1. Appointments can be made by calling the Customer Service Centre on 136 186.
  • The sites indicated on the schedule will only accept bounty applications during designated collection times.

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.

NLIS management workshops for livestock producers

Agriculture Victoria is holding practical, hands-on workshops this month and next for sheep, goat and cattle producers on how to use the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) database.

The workshops will walk producers through their NLIS requirements and navigation, completion of movement transactions and reporting functions on the NLIS database.

Participants will also learn how to update their Property Identification Code (PIC) details.

All sheep, goats and cattle tagged with an electronic NLIS tag must be transferred on the NLIS database when they are moved between two different Victorian Property Identification Codes (PIC).

Dates and locations (all sessions run from 10 am to 3pm, with lunch provided).

  • Seymour – Friday 13 March at DELWP, 15 Hume and Hovell Road, Seymour
  • Echuca – Wednesday 25 March at Agriculture Victoria, Corner Ogilivie Ave/Annesley Street, Echuca
  • Horsham – Tuesday 31 March at Agriculture Victoria, 110 Natimuk Road, Horsham

For further information on NLIS requirements and PICS is available at

Numbers are limited so please register early at

For more information on the workshops, or to register over the phone, please contact Kirstie Anderson at Agriculture Victoria on (03) 5761 1647.

Producer demonstration sites program opening soon

Livestock producer groups interested in running local projects to validate the on-farm benefits of research and development findings are reminded that funding applications open on 1 April.

Meat & Livestock Australia’s (MLA) Producer Demonstration Sites (PDS) program for 2020-21 is open to beef and sheep meat producer groups throughout Australia.

The PDS program includes Levy and Co-Contributor funding options for projects ranging from two years to a maximum of six years.

Preliminary applications for both funding options will be open for six weeks, from 1 April to 12 May 2020. 

The open call compliments seven PDS’s already underway in Victorian through a partnership between MLA and Agriculture Victoria, supporting producer groups to test research or innovations on-farm, under local conditions.

They cover topics such as: increasing lamb survival, using drones for sheep welfare, filling feed gaps with fodder beet, dung beetles for lamb enterprises, weaning lambs in the Wimmera, using soil probes to predict spring pasture growth and annual grass control strategies - more details at this link.

MLA Program Manager – Adoption, David Packer, said the PDS program aims to increase the rate of adoption of key management practices and technologies that improve business profitability, productivity and sustainability.

“Adoption of research outcomes is absolutely critical to driving practice change on-farm and building resilience and prosperity in the Australian red meat industry,” Mr Packer said.

“The PDS program enables producers to see first-hand the commercial relevance of research outcomes through long-term, hands-on experiential and peer-to-peer learning.

“The program continues to successfully result in evidenced-based practice change that has increased productivity and profitability for the adopting production systems.”

Producer groups wishing to engage in a levy PDS project can apply for up to $25,000 per year, for the length of the project, and producer groups wishing to engage in a co-contributor PDS project can apply for up to $50,000 per year, for the length of the project.

“Co-contributor projects require producer investment in the project, which is matched by MLA Donor Company (MDC),” Mr Packer said.

A Levy funded PDS comprises:

  • Funding of up to $25,000 per year for the project term (two to six years)
  • A minimum of three sites and ten core producers, though flexibility offered for extensive regions
  • Alignment with the Research Advisory Council PDS priorities, as defined in the Terms of Reference.

A Co-Contributor funded PDS comprises: 

  • Funding of up to $50,000 per year for the project term (two to six years)
  • Funded by 50 per cent levy, 25 per cent producer cash contribution, and 25 per cent MDC
  • Eight per cent access fee (of total project value)
  • A minimum of three sites and ten core producers, though flexibility offered for extensive regions
  • Alignment with industry targets and priorities as per the Meat Industry Strategic Plan, Beef Industry Strategic Plan, Sheep Industry Strategic Plan and MLA Strategic Plan

Groups will require a facilitator, experienced in group coordination and extension, monitoring and evaluation of on-farm practice change and communication and reporting, to oversee the demonstration.

The 2020 - 21 Terms of Reference and levy PDS priorities will be available on the MLA website on 27 March 2020.

For full details, application guidelines and forms, visit

Young farmer business network
Young Farmers Business Network group on Facebook

Young Farmers of Victoria - this is your network to talk about farm business management with other like-minded young farmers through social media, articles, online and face to face forums.

Click here to join and learn more about the Young Farmer Business Network Facebook group.

Join the Young Farmers Advisory Council

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.

Working in Dairy communities small grants program – applications open
FRRR gardiner foundation working in dairy communities small grants program

Applications are now open for the ‘Working in Dairy Communities’ – Small Grants Program offered by the Gardiner Foundation in partnership with the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal.

The grants provide up to $5000 in funding for grass-roots community projects that strengthen dairy communities.

Applications close on Monday 16 March.

Application guidelines, eligibility criteria and an application toolkit are available online at the Gardiner Foundation website

Managing dry conditions
Drought and dry seasons workshops

Agriculture Victoria is working with a range of partners to provide workshops for farmers to help them make the most of seasonal conditions.

These can be part of an ongoing program or arranged specifically if the need arises.

To seek more general information about events and to discuss if it is possible to hold a session in your area, please either call your local office or departmental contact, or 136 186.

If you would like more information about activities and events that have occurred in your region, please email

Upcoming farmer workshops

One-on-one consultations

Agriculture Victoria staff are offering one-on-one consultations with farmers in the Millewa and Carwarp districts.

These sessions can cover feed budgeting, stock containment areas, feed testing, livestock requirements, biosecurity and soil management. 

Our staff can also discuss other available support including grants. 

If you are interested call us on 1800 318 115 to make an appointment. 

Meetings can be held at a location to suit.

These will be available on an 'as needs' basis up until 30 June.

Dry seasons support

Farmers in the Millewa and GMID are reminded that the $5000 On-Farm Drought Resilience Grant can be used to purchase seed and fertiliser to restore dry 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.

For more information and to access the grant call 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.

Farmers in Victoria's Millewa region can now apply for a farm machinery grant to help them maintain on-farm machinery and equipment and prepare for future seasons.

Applications are open for the Farm Machinery Improvement Grants Program as part of the government's $31.6 million drought assistance package, announced in October las year.

The program will be delivered by the Victorian Farmers Federation and will provide grants of up to $10,000 to eligible dryland farm businesses in the Millewa and surrounding areas.

Farm owners, operators, share farmers or leaseholders can apply for a grant to undertake essential maintenance and repair of machinery including tractors, harvesters, seeders and hay baling equipment – including maintenance and repairs to meet safety standards and repairs to fix or replace broken parts.

The $31.6 million drought package takes the government's total support for drought-affected farmers since September 2018 to over $81 million.

For more information about the program and to apply for support, visit or call 136 186.

new drought grants

Victorian farmers impacted by drought and dry seasonal conditions are encouraged to apply for two grant programs offering both on-farm assistance and direct financial household relief.

The CWA of Victoria’s Drought Relief Program has been provided a funding boost by the Victorian Government for the provision of household financial relief.

A grant payment of up to $3000 per individual applicant and/or household is available for farming families, farm workers and contractors that are drought-affected and reliant on farming as their primary source of income.

This program is being funded through the Victorian Government’s Farmers’ Drought Fund - Household Financial Relief program.

To access an application form or to find out more go to or email

The On-Farm Drought Resilience Grant Program is now available to assist eligible farm businesses to invest in on-farm drought preparedness or to seek business advice with a grant of up to $5000.

To access the On-Farm Drought Resilience Grant farmers should contact Rural Finance direct to discuss their eligibility on 1800 260 425 or go to

Both programs target farm businesses and farming families in the Wellington and East Gippsland shires, dryland farming in the Millewa region and irrigation farming in the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District (GMID). 

For further information on other available support and assistance contact Agriculture Victoria on 136 186, visit the website or drop into the closest Agriculture Victoria office in your area.

On-farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate

The On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme is now available for the purchase and installation of emergency water infrastructure for livestock.

The scheme is available to eligible farm businesses in a number of local government areas, including Campaspe, Gannawarra, Greater Bendigo, Greater Shepparton, Loddon, Strathbogie, Swan Hill, Mildura and Buloke.

Farm businesses outside of the above 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, call 1800 260 425 or visit

Feeding livestock website

Did you know that the Agriculture Victoria’s Beef and Sheep Drought Feeding and Management online books have a new home?

They are housed and updated on the Feeding Livestock website and can be downloaded or viewed in whole or as individual chapters on any device.

Other key features of the website, include:

What's On
Precision ag one-on-ones

If you’re already working with Precision Agriculture, but looking for expert advice to solve key challenges or take the next step, Birchip Cropping Group will be holding a series of hour long, one-on-one consultations from 16 March.

This will provide growers with an opportunity to get tailor made advice specific for their farm and farming context, or expert help with key PA challenges.

The one-on-one consultations will be held in:

  • Birchip (16 March)
  • Horsham (17 March)
  • St Arnaud (18 March)

Registrations for these appointment-only sessions are essential.

Please contact Phillip Guthrie on 0422 570071 or to register your interest and reserve a time.

Stock water management workshop
  • Tylden, 23 March, Tylden Community Hall

Registrations from 9.15 am for a prompt 9.30 am start.
Workshop ends 2.30 pm, FREE lunch included

“Being Prepared – Being Resilient”

These workshops will assist landholders to:

  • Understand farm water requirements – how much water might be needed for your property
  • Understand the process involved in locating main storage tanks, troughs and pipelines
  • Understand basic reticulation principles including head pressure and pipe friction
  • Understand the process and next steps in developing a detailed reticulation design
  • Consider the benefits of decommissioning farm dams

These workshops are for people who are planning a reticulation system to bolster their farm water supplies and ensure the correct flow rate arrives where it is needed.

GMWater representatives will also be present to discuss the Mitiamo Pipeline Project providing a project update and explaining connection processes.

For more information or to register your interest, contact Martin Hamilton on telephone (03) 5430 4802 or mobile 0429 946 149 or email

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.

Digital opportunities roadshow
digital opportunities roadshow

Small Business Victoria in partnership with the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, are hosting free workshops across regional Victoria to help businesses make the most of the digital economy and reduce their cybersecurity risks. 

Topics include Developing an online presence, Understanding and using digital tools and Managing your cybersecurity and safety plan. Bookings are essential.

Workshops taking place in the Loddon Mallee include;

25 March - Nhill

26 March - Swan Hill

29 April - Mildura

6 May - Kyabram

6 May - Maryborough

Digital Opportunities Roadshow is delivered in partnership with VCCI.

For more information contact VCCI customer service on (03) 8662 5333 or email

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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