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Gippsland Ag news
Thursday, 18 July 2019
In this edition
  • On-Farm Internet of Things trial – Expressions of Interest now open
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies with long-term feeding-out
  • Be aware when purchasing fodder and livestock feed
  • Avoiding the impact of Brucellosis and how to get accredited
  • Bee biosecurity checklist for almond pollination
  • Young farmers of Victoria – this is your network!
  • Drought and dry seasons support services and information
  • What's on
  • Save-the-date
Latest news
On-Farm Internet of Things trial – Expressions of Interest now open
IoT tile

The On-Farm Internet of Things (IoT) Trial is now underway to support the uptake of IoT on Victorian farms and test the benefits of IoT technologies across horticulture, sheep, dairy and broadacre cropping.

The On-Farm IoT Trial will support on-farm adoption of the IoT by addressing barriers to uptake, including:

  • Lack of connectivity – The trial is delivering IoT network connectivity to each of the four trial regions.
  • Digital literacy – Industry Technology Coordinators with expertise in farm management and digital technology will support farmers participating in the On-farm IoT Trial, including selecting IoT solutions to test that are suitable for their on-farm needs.
  • Capital to invest in on-farm IoT technologies – Agriculture Victoria will contribute to the cost of purchasing IoT apps and devices for farmers taking part in the trial.

Agriculture Victoria will partner with participating farmers to test the benefits of IoT for their farm business. The impact of IoT on farm performance will be assessed with the aim to provide the agriculture sector with a clear rationale for investment in IoT.

Expressions of Interest for round one of the trial will close on 2 August 2019.

Eligibility and application guidelines are available at

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies with long-term feeding-out

Dr Jeff Cave, District Veterinary Officer

It is important to remember, even if the current dry seasonal conditions wane, many farmers will still be feeding-out to livestock due to the lack of nutritious pastures.

It is essential to provide stock with the minimum nutritional requirements to prevent deficiencies, sub-optimal production, disease and death.

As feeding-out to livestock continues, deficiencies in fat-soluble vitamins, particularly vitamins A and E are possible, although it is worth remembering that vitamin A and E deficiency only occurs if green feed has been absent for many months.

Treatment for both vitamin A and E deficiencies are by supplementation via injection or drench but should only be considered if lambs and cattle have been lacking green feed for three to four months, or if adult sheep have been lacking green feed for more than nine months.

Calcium, phosphorous and sodium deficiency are three mineral deficiencies that may also be seen during longer periods of feeding-out.

Calcium deficiency most commonly occurs in diets containing a high proportion of cereal grain. The addition of agricultural limestone mixed with the ration can be an effective form of prevention.

Phosphorus deficiencies occur when diets consist mainly of low-quality roughage for an extended period. The main signs of phosphorus deficiency are shifting lameness, an arched back and difficulty walking.

With extended deficiencies, stock may chew sticks, stones or bones from carcasses in paddocks to gain their phosphorus requirements. This then leads to a significant risk of botulism from the ingestion of bacterial spores in the decomposing tissues attached to bones.

Sodium is a major component of salt. Salt is important for the regulation of many processes in the animal’s body.

Most grains are deficient in sodium, so an addition of salt to diets containing a large proportion of grain, where stock drinking water has a low salt content, is recommended to prevent deficiencies.

The addition of salt to grain diets fed to wethers and rams may also assist in the prevention of bladder stones and urinary blockages by increasing water intake.

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

feeding out
Be aware when purchasing fodder and livestock feed

Movement of fodder and grain as stockfeed can potentially introduce new weeds into Victoria and poses a serious risk to both our plant and animal industries.

Victorian farmers sourcing fodder or livestock feed from new or different places to help them manage through winter are reminded to observe good biosecurity practices.

To minimise risk, farmers and land managers can implement some simple actions which could save money, improve environmental values and avoid future stress.

For stockfeed and fodder on-farm, consider the following:

  • Check the origin of your hay or grain stockfeed, has it come from a known weed-infested area?
  • Ask the supplier for written certification on any potential weed content
  • Where possible source locally grown feed to reduce the chance of introducing new weeds that are not already present and known in your locality
  • Keep records of purchased hay or grain stock feed: content, location sourced, producer, date purchased, transporter and feed-out area
  • Feed-out in a confined area away from drainage lines (stock containment areas) to reduce the likelihood of weeds being spread throughout your property
  • Monitor feed-out areas regularly and be suspicious of unfamiliar plants that germinate
  • Contact Agriculture Victoria staff for assistance with identification of suspect plants.
  • Ensure vehicles are thoroughly cleaned inside and out in designated areas to avoid the spread of weeds onto road reserves and adjacent land after deliveries.

For more information, please contact your local Agriculture Victoria Plant Standards Officer, call 136 186 or go to

Avoiding the impact of Brucellosis and how to get accredited

Unlike brucellosis in cattle, of which Australia is now officially free, Ovine Brucellosis (OB) is not thought to be a human health concern but it can cause infertility in rams.

At certain times of year, risk of OB is high for many flocks purchasing and introducing rams, as the new rams may carry the bacterial disease.

“OB is typically introduced into a flock by an infected ram. The disease subsequently spreads ram to ram or via ewes during joining,” Agriculture Victoria District Veterinarian (South-West) Dr Elle Moyle said.

“The effects of OB can cause reduced lamb marking percentages, an extended lambing period, ill thrift in newborn lambs, and increased culling of rams due to infertility.”

“In some cases, OB in a flock may be deceptive and go unrecognised due to other causes of a poor lamb marking percentage. However, if a number of rams are infected, OB can lead to a substantial loss in production,” Dr Moyle said.

OB causes inflammation of the epididymis, the tube which transports semen from the testis. This inflammation leads to a complete or partial blockage leaving the ram sterile or subfertile.

One way of diagnosing OB is to check the testis of a ram for swellings. OB can also be diagnosed by a blood test.

“To avoid the adverse effects of OB, the only solution is to eradicate the disease. This is achieved with veterinary assistance by palpating and blood testing rams and culling any that are found to be infected,” Dr Moyle said.

As always prevention is better than cure.

“To assist in identifying low risk flocks a voluntary accreditation scheme is in place. Properties can become OB accredited in consultation with private veterinary practitioners by completing two negative tests of all l rams over six months of age and demonstrating secure boundary fencing.”

“When purchasing replacement rams, OB accredited flocks provide the safest option. In addition, boundary fencing should be secure to prevent straying from neighbouring properties,” Dr Moyle said.

For further information please contact your local veterinarian or Agriculture Victoria animal health staff on 136 186.

Bee biosecurity checklist for almond pollination
Bee on blossom

Agriculture Victoria is preparing for the annual almond pollination season with an estimated 150,000 hives set to arrive in North-West Victoria in coming weeks.

Agriculture Victoria Senior Apiary Officer Joe Riordan said such a large movement of bee hives increases biosecurity risks associated with hive to hive transmission of bee pests and diseases, most notably American Foulbrood disease.

“American Foulbrood can spread from an infected hive whether it be weakened or already dead, known as ‘dead outs’, by robber bees who take the infected honey back to their healthy hive,” he said.

Mr Riordan said he wanted to remind beekeepers who are planning to attend pollination that they should complete a four-point checklist before leaving their premises.

“It doesn’t matter if they come from Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales or Queensland, all beekeepers need to ask themselves, have they:

  • undertaken an annual honey culture test?
  • completed the Biosecurity Online Training (BOLT) course?
  • inspected their brood for exotic diseases and pests such as Varroa mite?
  • acquired the necessary health certificate to enter Victoria if coming from inter-state?

“Undertaking the activities on the checklist will support Agriculture Victoria efforts to ensure best practice management of hives as required by the Australian Bee Biosecurity Code of Practice.”

More honey bee information can be found on the Agriculture Victoria website here

Young farmers of Victoria – this is your network!
Young Farmers network

The Young Farmer Business Network will connect you with accessible business management–related information, events of interest and information on Victorian young farmer groups.

It also signposts opportunities to apply for awards, grants and scholarships and/or to participate in other forms of learning.

The Young Farmer Business Bootcamps are in development across Victoria once again and details can be found on the Network.

Access the Young Farmer Business Network at

Drought and dry seasons support services and information
One-on-one assistance

Have you dropped into our offices at Bairnsdale, Maffra or Swifts Creek lately?

Did you know you can make an appointment to talk to a staff member about a pasture recovery grant, drought assistance and technical workshops in the region?

You can also make a time to have a one-on-one consultation.

You will find us at:

  • 574 Main Street, Bairnsdale (same place as the DELWP office)
  • 1 Stratford Road, Maffra
  • 13 McMillan Avenue, Swifts Creek (same place as the DELWP office)

As always you can also get more information, tools and advice online at or call us on 136 186.

Drought and dry seasons webinar series
webinar tile

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

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.

Look over the farm gate
Look over the farm gate logo

Look Over the Farm Gate grants are still open for farmers and communities facing drought and dry conditions across central and eastern Gippsland and northern Victoria.

Community groups in drought affected communities can apply online for grants of $1,500 to run events that address mental health and wellbeing.

Look Over the Farm Gate is a mental health and wellbeing initiative funded by the Victorian Government (drought support funding committed in September 2018).

It is managed by the Victorian Farmers Federation in partnership with the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Country Women’s Association, Country Fire Authority, and National Centre for Farmer Health.

Applications are being accepted for events until March 2019 and are assessed on a first in best dressed basis.

For more information and how to apply visit or to contact the coordinator at

What's on
Irrigator Drought Forum #2 – Water planning and budgeting for the coming season
Macalister Irrigation District pic
When and where:

Wednesday 24 July
10.45am – 12.30pm

Followed by free BBQ lunch.

Newry Hall
139 Main Street,


Agriculture Victoria, SRW and the WGCMA are hosting an informative facilitated discussion looking at irrigation management planning and budgets.

The forum will draw out the different perspectives and experiences of four Irrigators (Dairy farmers Benn Thexton, Peter Neaves and Jon Ryan, along with horticultural farmer Michael Evans) by going through their different water budgeting methods.

There will also be the opportunity for irrigators to bring their own water statements and details for developing a water budget.

For registations and further information, contact the Agriculture Victoria Irrigation Team at Maffra on (03) 5147 0800.

142nd Australian Sheep and Wool Show
When and where:

19 to 21 July

42–72 Holmes Rd, 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

careers stand promo

Investing now, protecting tomorrow

Visit us on our stands in the Careers and Technology Hub and the Regional Exhibition Centre at this year's Australian Sheep and Wool Show. 

Find out how Electronic identification helps the industry by protecting and enhancing market access, and how you can use it on-farm.

Ground cover and feed crops in dry times – Bairnsdale and Omeo field tours and information days
Where and when:



Wednesday 24 July
10.00 am – 3.30 pm

574 Main Street, Bairnsdale (DELWP office)


Thursday 25 July
9.45 am – 3.45 pm

Location details for the Omeo event will be provided on registration.

Lunch will be provided at both events.


‘Ground cover and feed crops in dry times’ is the topic of field tours and information days at Bairnsdale (24 July) and Omeo (25 July) later this month.

At Bairnsdale, the day will start at the DELWP building and feature a panel discussion from agronomists, seed specialists and research trial results. It will be followed by paddock walks in the Bengworden area discussing looking at wheat varieties, barley varieties, brassica, oats and rye grass, both dry land and irrigation.

At Omeo, the day will start with paddock walks across four properties in the Omeo region, looking at crops and discussing what has worked and what hasn’t. There will then be a panel discussion with agronomists, seed specialists and researchers at the Omeo Recreational Reserve, which will be followed by another paddock walk.

RSVP for both events to Natalie Jenkins on (03) 5152 0612 or

Delivered by Southern Farming Systems, supported by Agriculture Victoria and the Farming and Community Drought Funding Program.

Webinar: Prevention, diagnosis and treatment of calf scours

Get a handle on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of calf scours by joining a free phone seminar/webinar at 8 pm on Thursday 25 July.

Calf scours is a common problem across the industry, costing the average producer approximately $37/cow.

Highly regarded farm consultant Graham Lean will lead the one-hour webinar which will include advice on diagnosing scours, effective and timely treatment and simple preventative management steps.

You can join the webinar by registering at:

To listen to the audio through your phone, please dial 1800 896 323 and enter the passcode 57130136#

If you experience any issues registering, please contact either Darren Hickey or Tess McDougall at or on (03) 5152 0496, and at or on (03) 5355 0530.

East Gippsland Beef Conference
East Gippsland Beef Conference tile

The East Gippsland Beef Conference will connect local producers with researchers and service providers in the beef industry and feature presentations on innovative farming practices, market analysis and forecasts, and industry research. The day will finish with a conference dinner.

Full program details are available on Agriculture Victoria’s website at or by contacting Event Manager Craig Bush on 0427 943 155.

Farmers: $60 for the first person; $40 for additional people from the same business
$120 for non-farmers – e.g. agribusiness, government
$30 Students
$60 Conference Dinner, St Mary’s Hall, Pyke St, Bairnsdale

Bookings can be made online at Eventbrite.

If you are unable to register online, please phone BetterBeef Project Leader, Darren Hickey on 0457 609 140.

Gala dinner – Excellence in Agribusiness Awards
Agribusiness banner
When and where:

Friday 16 August
6.30 pm

Cobb & Co. Stables
199 Raymond Street


Attracting over 70 entries in its first year, the inaugural Excellence in Agribusiness Gala Dinner will celebrate outstanding achievements in Gippsland’s Food & Fibre sector, with the presentation of the winners. Held in the historic Cobb & Co Stables in Sale, it promises to be a night of celebration, collaboration, innovation and engagement. Tickets include welcome drinks followed by a three-course meal featuring Gippsland local produce.

Click here to book your tickets online. 


Sheepvention, one of the largest farming events held in Victoria, will commence on Sunday, 4 until Tuesday, 6 August at the Hamilton Showgrounds.

Sheepvention brings together farming, competition, entertainment and fashion, with a bit of local produce thrown into the mix.

Visit the Agriculture Victoria at sites 76 & 77, 87–90.

For full event details please visit

sheepvention logo
Rural Press Club Awards
Event details:

Friday 23 August
12.00pm – 2.30pm

Showtime Events Centre
South Wharf Promenade
South Wharf

Cost: Members $110, non-members $140
Dress code: Lounge suit/cocktail dress
Queries: Laura Pool at or 0402 046 742


It's showtime! Book your tickets now for the 2019 Rural Press Club of Victoria Journalism and Photography Awards Night on Friday, 23 August.

The awards night celebrates the best journalism and photography from regional and rural Victoria in 2018/9 culminating in the announcement of the prestigious Journalist of the Year, Ray Frawley Young Journalist of the Year, Photographer of the Year and Media Outlet of the Year.

Journalists and photographers have until July 19 to enter the awards.

Visit the Rural Press Club of Victoria website for more details.

To subscribe to Gippsland Ag News

Click here

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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