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Thursday 5 March 2020
In this edition

Segregating for grain quality on-farm using new technologies

AFL great to tackle farm business issues at Swan Hill and Bendigo

Victorian grains industry geared up for season 2020

2020 fox and wild dog bounty collection schedules

NLIS management workshops for livestock producers

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

Segregating for grain quality on-farm using new technologies

Agriculture Victoria researchers are developing new sensor technologies that will enable growers to segregate pulse grains on-farm.

This research, which is being carried out through Agriculture Victoria and the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s (GRDC) Victorian Grains Innovation Partnership, could help farmers to capture higher prices by segregating grain based on quality before it leaves the farm.

Agriculture Victoria Research Scientist Dr Cassandra Walker, who is leading the project, said new imaging technologies are currently under development which can rapidly measure grain quality and will ultimately deliver significant benefits to growers.

“We are aiming to transfer these developments from within the lab to grain processing systems that can be used during harvest, allowing growers the option to segregate grain prior to delivery.”

In recent years there have been significant advances in technology which can measure the quality of cereals at harvest, such as grain moisture and protein.

Dr Walker said the project aimed to expand this concept by developing new systems that could measure quality traits of lentil, chickpea and field pea to enable growers to capture the maximum value for their pulse crops.

“We are particularly keen to take new laboratory-based segregation tools and demonstrate their value on-farm,” she said.

“To achieve this our grain quality and field scientists are working closely with the precision ag industry and growers to demonstrate the potential value at farm scale.”

The research is being undertaken in Horsham, at Agriculture Victoria’s Grains Innovation Park where new high through-put spectral imaging systems are being used to develop grain quality algorithms.

“This is world-class research and is highly specialised,” Dr Walker said.

“The program will test the ability of this technology to segregate grain for quality defects due to frost, heat, disease, and contaminants such as snails or foreign seed - but the real value will be tested on-farm.”

“This will provide industry with the knowledge to limit loss of quality associated with the storage of pulses, maximising the value of the product at the time of sale,” he said.

GRDC Manager Pulses and Oilcrops, Dr Francis Ogbonnaya, said the findings of this research presents huge opportunities for growers.

“Growers will be able to add additional value to crops through objective segregation of high value grains to maximise their returns,” Dr Ogbonnaya said.

“Ultimately, if sensor-based technologies can be successfully employed on-farm, this will optimise the quality segregation process of grains and maximise grower returns.”

AFL great to tackle farm business issues at Swan Hill and Bendigo

Australian Football League (AFL) great Nathan Burke is lining up to tackle some of the issues holding back Victorian grain growers from achieving their business goals.

The former St Kilda champion, commentator and now coach of the Western Bulldogs AFL Women’s team will headline Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Farm Business Updates in Swan Hill and Bendigo next week.

Having gained great insight into how to extract performance from individuals and teams, Mr Burke will outline why performance isn’t always about the outcomes and provide strategies for enhanced efficiency, culture and results in the farm business.

GRDC Grower Relations Manager – South, Courtney Ramsey, says the Farm Business Updates will be important forums for discussing avenues for building farm profitability.

“These events, attended by growers and advisers, are designed to drive innovation and adoption of improved farm business management practices across the grains industry,” Ms Ramsey says.

“The program for the Swan Hill and Bendigo Farm Business Updates features a line-up of speakers and topics that analyse critical aspects of decisions to improve farm profitability.”

In addition to Mr Burke, the Farm Business Updates at Swan Hill on 11 March and Bendigo on 12 March will feature the following topics and speakers:

  • A sound succession strategy could be the best investment you make. Rob Brown, Peppin Planners
  • Seven management practices to develop your farm employees. Sally Murfet, Inspire AG
  • Managing a farm team – a grower’s perspective. Lauchie Cole, Cressy (Tasmania)
  • Precision ag – assessing opportunities to increase your bottom line. Royce Pitchford, Rural Directions Pty Ltd
  • Is the potential profit worth the risk? Assessing your enterprise mix. Cam Nicholson, Nicon Rural Services
  • What is your stubble worth? Dean Thomas, CSIRO and University of Western Australia
  • Integrating cropping and livestock – what works, what doesn’t? A grower’s perspective. Tim McClelland, Jil Jil (Victoria).

The Farm Business Updates will also feature extended question and answer panel sessions.

The GRDC Farm Business Updates will be at the Swan Hill Town Hall and the All Seasons Hotel Bendigo, from 9.30 am - 3.15 pm on 11 and 12 March.

For a detailed program and to register for the Updates, please visit the GRDC website or phone ORM on (03) 5441 6176 or email

Victorian grains industry geared up for season 2020

The Victorian grains industry is well equipped with the latest research findings, new knowledge and critical advice to guide growers through the 2020 cropping season and into the future.

Important information and recommendations to support growers has been delivered at recent Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Grains Research Updates.

The Bendigo Update, attended by 280 people, has played an especially important role in informing advisers and growers for the coming season, according to GRDC Grower Relations Manager – South, Courtney Ramsey.

“New outcomes and findings from GRDC investments in research, development and extension will inform Victorian growers’ decision-making – not only over the coming production year but well beyond,” Ms Ramsey said.

“The GRDC Grains Research Update in Bendigo – attended by a mix of forward-thinking advisers, growers and key industry representatives – also provided a crucial opportunity for networking, sharing and debating ideas, access to researchers and the chance to provide feedback to inform future grains research investment.

“The Update featured leading United Kingdom agricultural consultant Keith Norman who spoke about the realities of producing grain in a highly regulated environment, as well as expert speakers from across the nation who discussed future industry challenges and opportunities, along with more immediate, regional agronomic and tactical approaches – underpinned by outcomes from rigorous scientific research.”

Key messages delivered to growers and advisers attending the event included:

  • Plant breeding and genetics have a vital part to play in the sustainability of crop production;
  • A clear opportunity exists for grains, particularly whole cereal grains and legumes, to be featured in plant-based meat substitutes;
  • A ‘whole of industry’ approach is required to defend and maintain Australia’s barley markets;
  • In coming decades, it is likely that yield gains will need to double to enable growers to maintain profit levels;
  • The increasing interest in harvest weed seed control systems (HWSC) continues to drive the development of new and improved HWSC systems;
  • New pre-emergent herbicides are becoming available, however, it is vital that these are used appropriately to get the best results;
  • Higher crop seeding rates appear to consistently improve the suppression of annual ryegrass and brome grass, especially in later sown crops;
  • A pasture phase can deliver substantial and lasting nutritional benefits well into a subsequent cropping phase, as well as providing the opportunity to drive weed seed banks to very low levels;
  • In many cases, soil sampling intensity should be increased to sample multiple zones in a paddock as soil phosphorous and nitrogen status are highly variable across and within paddocks;
  • Strategic one-off incorporation of lime is the fastest way to ameliorate highly acidic soil layers, especially at depth;
  • A thorough testing program is recommended to diagnose soil constraints to depth before undertaking any amelioration practices;
  • A number of simple farm practice changes can be made to maximise establishment of canola and lentil crops;
  • Prior to sowing, use the BlacklegCM canola disease management decision support tool to identify high risk paddocks and explore management strategies to reduce yield loss;
  • A new national pulse disease rating system has been implemented to ensure a consistent and independent disease rating system for pulses;
  • Recent reports of fungicide resistance in cereal pathogens highlight the importance of avoiding fungicide use that increases the likelihood of resistance development;
  • Insecticide resistance management needs to have a foundation in long-term planning rather than short-term decision making to achieve sustainability benefits;
  • To minimise snail bait degradation, avoid baiting in significant rainfall or high temperatures and store bait in cool conditions;
  • Multiple earwig species have been detected in grain crops, most of which are not associated with crop damage – it is therefore important to correctly identify which species is present in a paddock before taking any action.

More information is contained in papers delivered at this year’s Grains Research Updates, and these can be found at

A gallery of photos taken at the Bendigo Update can be found at


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
collected fox scalps

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
  • Ararat – Wednesday 25 March at Agriculture Victoria, Shire Hall Barkly Street, Ararat
  • Horsham – Tuesday 31 March at Agriculture Victoria, 110 Natimuk Road, Horsham
  • Webinar – Monday 16 and 23 March

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.

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.

Livestock discussion groups

Farmers from the Millewa-Carwarp district and surrounds are invited to come along to FREE livestock discussion groups with Vin Madden of Madden Livestock Services.

Date: 12 March
Time: 9.30 am -12 midday
Location: Cullulleraine Community Complex

Date: 12 March
Time: 1.30 - 4 pm
Location: Meringur Community Centre

Date: 13 March
Time: 9.30 am-12 midday
Location: Carwarp Hall

These are free events with morning or afternoon tea provided.

Please note: Agriculture Victoria will cancel this workshop if a Code Red fire day is declared for the Mallee.


  • Nutritional requirements for pregnant and lactating ewes
  • Managing ewes/lambs in stock containment areas
  • Importance of having a feed budget and using feed test results

Please also bring along any other sheep related questions as there will be time for general discussion.

If you are interested in coming along, please contact: Rachel Coombes: 0436 001 258 or

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

Coming up

Autumn Start-up - Murray Dairy (with Agriculture Victoria) - dates to be announced.

WaterTech: using technology to improve water productivity - February - March 2020 - dates to be announced - contact Brett Davidson (03) 5833 5206 to find out more.

Occasional Counsellor workshops - March - June 2020 - dates to be announced. Contact Sarah Clack 0417 316 345 to find out more.

Agricultural technology: pushing your water further - Agriculture Victoria, 255 Ferguson Rd, Tatura - 5 - 6 March. Contact Richard Smith on Ph: (03) 5833 5214 to find out more.

Water in Focus - April 2020 - dates to be announced - Murray Dairy (with Agriculture Victoria).

Seasonal Outlook session - Western GMID, Central GMID, Eastern GMID - April 2020 dates to confirmed.

April 2020

Murray Dairy (with Agriculture Victoria)

Seasonal Outlook session

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
Best Practice Predator Management Webinar tonight

Best Practice Predator Management Webinar will be held tonight from 7.30 to 9 pm.

Topics covered:

  • Overview of fox and wild dog ecology
  • Impact of predators on lambing percentages and farm business
  • Applying best practice fox and wild dog baiting techniques on farm
  • Using Canid Pest Ejectors – the ‘new control tools on the block’
  • Working dog safety and baiting
  • Using PestSmart and Feral Scan applications for the management of vertebrate pests

To register click here or for more information about managing a livestock enterprise, call Agriculture Victoria on 136 186 or visit the Agriculture Victoria website at

Upcoming webinar - Weather Forecasts, Seasonal Outlooks and Climate Change Projections - What they can and can't do

Date: Wednesday 11 March
Time: 12 pm
Duration: 1 hour
Cost: Free

The next presentation in the climate webinar series for 2020 we will hear important background on weather forecasts, seasonal outlooks and climate change projections - and what they can and can't do.

Graeme Anderson will share insights and tips for understanding the different types of forecast products, and where and when to have more confidence in what they are telling us.

Presenter: Graeme Anderson leads Agriculture Victoria's seasonal risk team who deliver products such as The Break, Soil Moisture Monitoring, Climatedogs and regularly presents at agriculture events across Victoria.

CLICK HERE FOR Climate webinars online.

GRDC Farm Business Update (Swan Hill)

The GRDC Farm Business Update events drive innovation and adoption of improved farm business management practices across the grains industry.

Wednesday 11 March

Town Hall Performing Arts Centre

57 McCallum Street, Swan Hill

9.30 am to 3.15 pm (doors open at 9 am)

Speakers and Topics coming soon

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

Traceability and NLIS Database Management – Producer webinar

Please note: This is a two-part webinar, delivered 8 - 9 pm Monday 16 March and 8 - 9 pm Monday 23 March. You must attend both parts to participate.

Agriculture Victoria is conducting this interactive two-part webinar to assist Victorian livestock producers to use the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) database to complete transactions, including Property-to-Property (P2P) transfers.

This two-part webinar is relevant to cattle, sheep and goat producers.

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

This interactive two-part webinar will walk producers through setting up and using the NLIS database.


  • Setting up, navigating and using the NLIS database
  • Management of livestock movements onto your property
  • Property to Property (P2P) transfers on the NLIS database.

Numbers are limited to allow for an interactive session, so register early.

If you have any problems with registering online please call (03) 5761 1647.

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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