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Barwon South-West Ag news
Thursday 12 March, 2020
In this edition
Young farmers shaping the future of agriculture
Young Farmers Advisory Council

Young farmers are again being invited to help shape the future of Victoria’s vibrant agriculture sector, with applications now open to join the Young Farmers Advisory Council.

Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes encouraged young people from all agricultural industries to apply.

The council is seeking six members with a balance of representation by gender, industry and region to sign up for a three-year term.

Applicants will have a broad range of skills and like experience in farm management, agribusiness, finance, education, international markets and regional development.

The council provides a direct voice to government on a wide range of issues that impact young people working in agriculture. This has ranged from market access and barriers, skills and workforce issues, animal welfare, and mental health and wellbeing.

Council members also act as young ambassadors to attract new entrants to the agricultural sector.

The current council members have provided important advice to government on key issues such as workplace and farm safety, mental health, pathways for young people in agriculture and more recently climate change.

Expressions of Interest to join the council are now open and close on 22 March. To find out more visit

Great South West Dairy Awards – gala evening

The South West dairy industry will gather in Warrnambool later this month to celebrate the industry and acknowledge the individuals that are excelling in it.

Now in its 14th year, the Great South West Dairy Awards will take place at the Wannon Function Centre on Thursday 25 March.

The awards are designed to recognise and reward the skill, dedication, leadership, ingenuity and environmental responsibility of our farmers and service providers.

The judging process is well underway, with the finalists in each category now known. They are:

Dairy Farm Business Management – sponsored by ANZ
Matt and Alli Reid, Carlisle River
Wes and Belinda Lenehan, Weerite
Josh and Lilli Philp, Garvoc

Employee – sponsored by UDC
Marc Johnston, Larpent
Isaac Hose, Garvoc
Nikita McKinnon, Naringal East

Natural Resource and Sustainability Management – sponsored by Glenelg Hopkins CMA
Graham and Melissa Clay, Camperdown
Russell and Catherine Ford, Bungador
Sam and Belinda Doolan, Brucknell
Colin McKenna, Woolsthorpe

Young Dairy Leader – sponsored by Gardiner Dairy Foundation
Jason Smith, Cooriemungle
Lucy Powell, Cobden
Matt Grant, Cowleys Creek

Service Provider – sponsored by Moyne Shire
Lionel Clayton, ACM
Marni Teal, Bulla
Nadine Markham, Reid Stockfeeds
Bruce Officer, Zoetis

ANZ are proud supporters of the event and are sponsoring the Dairy Farm Business Management Award, which combines the three previous categories of Farm Business Management, Employer and Share Farmer.

This year has seen the highest number of applications in the history of the Awards.

WestVic Dairy Regional Manager, Lindsay Ferguson explains we have had a fantastic response to this year’s event, from both our sponsors and the dairy community.

“The calibre of the applications has been very high; the finalists can feel proud to have made it to this stage.

“We look forward to hosting the gala evening where the winners will be announced,” Mr Ferguson said.

Tickets to the awards ceremony are available now at a cost of $60pp, which includes a three-course meal and a drink on arrival.

To purchase a ticket go to and search ’Dairy Awards’. If you require any assistance, call WestVic Dairy on 5557 1000.

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.

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 have been finalised and this data had 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

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 said.

left: GRDC’s NVT Regional Manager – South, Rob Wheeler Photo: GRDC

“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, saud 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.

right: NVT Senior Manager, Sean Coffey Photo: GRDC


“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, 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.

Source: GRDC

Water hyacinth – don't buy, sell or give it away

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

What's on?
Climate webinars
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

Dung beetles field day at Cashmore
Dung beetles

The South West Prime Lamb Group (SWPLG) is hosting demonstration sites to learn about dung beetles and their benefits to sheep farms in south west Victoria.

Come along to their field day to learn more about dung beetles and what the group are finding locally.

Topics include:

  • Benefits of dung beetles for grazing systems and how to encourage them
  • How do we know if we have dung beetles and what type they are?
  • What species are we finding locally?
  • Local dung beetle projects including a dung beetle breeding program and demonstration
  • Opportunity to bring along dung beetles for identification.

Guest speakers include:

  • Dr. Bernard Doube – Dung Beetle Solutions
  • Dr. Russ Barrow – Dung Beetle Ecosystem Engineers project (DBEE), Charles Sturt University

DATE: Thursday, 26 March

TIME: 9.30 am to 2.30 pm, lunch provided

Where: Cashmore (register for directions)

RSVP: Please register online (for catering purposes) by Wednesday, 23 March or contact Bindi Hunter, Agriculture Victoria, on 0428 589 016 or or Kate Joseph, SWPLG, on 0428 541 158 or

Fox and wild dog bounty collection schedule for South West Victoria

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.

Please note, bounty collections at Colac have been relocated to 23A Hugh Murray Drive, Colac East 3250.

Further information about the fox bounty is available here.

BALLARAT (fox only)

Monday, 6 April
1 – 3 pm

25 Vickers Street

GEELONG (fox only)

Tuesday, 7 April
9.30 – 11.30 am

16 Cadman Terrace
North Geelong

COLAC (fox only)

Tuesday, 7 April
1.30 – 3.30 pm

23a Hugh Murray Drive
Colac East


WARRNAMBOOL (fox only)

Wednesday, 8 April
8.30 – 10.30 am

703–711 Raglan Parade

HAMILTON (fox only)

Wednesday, 8 April
1.30 – 3.30 pm

Depot, Hamilton Centre
Research Station Road, Hamilton


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 across Barwon South West, include;

11 May – Colac

11 May – Lorne

28 May – Camperdown

28 May – Portland

Digital Opportunities Roadshow is delivered in partnership with VCCI. For more information contact VCCI customer service on (03) 8662 5333 or email

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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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