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Gippsland Ag news
Thursday, 12 March 2020
In this edition
Latest news
Backing red meat producers with targeted business support

Red meat producers hit by the bushfires can now access free one-on-one support from a local farm management consultant thanks to a partnership between the Victorian Government and Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA).

The ‘Back to Business’ initiative, which is being co-ordinated by Agriculture Victoria with financial support from MLA, will provide fire-affected red meat producers with the expert advice that they need to develop a strategic recovery plan.

Producers will have access to an experienced consultant who has an in-depth understanding of livestock farming systems from an integrated technical and financial perspective.

During the sessions, producers will be given tailored support to assess their current situation, work through the key issues and opportunities, and prioritise what actions to take.

All red meat producers, including sheep, cattle and goat, who have been affected by the recent bushfires are eligible to apply.

This program is one of several activities the Victorian Government is delivering to support farmers to recover from the fires. Visit to find out more.

For more information on the ‘Back to Business’ program or to register your interest, please contact the Victorian state co-ordinator Lyndon Kubeil at Agriculture Victoria on (03) 5761 1649 or

Pasture recovery farm walks this autumn

Organised by Agriculture Victoria, the farm walks are being presented by agronomist and farm management consultant Lisa Warn, who has extensive experience working in Gippsland.

Agriculture Victoria Team Leader Caroline Love said the farm walks will provide practical strategies for assessing the current state of pastures and managing livestock coming into autumn.

left: Lisa Warn, farm management consultant and agronomist, will be presenting the pasture recovery walks next week

Farming families impacted by drought conditions are encouraged to attend pasture recovery farm walks at Giffard West and Briagolong this month.

“Recent rainfall across the region in January and February has proved encouraging for drought-affected farmers, who are now planning pasture recovery measures.

“However, some farmers are understandably hesitant about taking action too early, with concern about potential hotter conditions later in March,” Ms Love said.

A coordinator of the local BestWool/BestLamb group, Lisa is well-known for her research in evaluating grazing systems and pasture persistence, as well as identifying soil constraints to pasture growth.

The farm walks will be held in the following areas:

  • Giffard West: Monday 16 March, 12.30 pm – 4 pm Meet at the Giffard West Hall, 3877 South Gippsland Highway, Giffard West.
  • Briagolong: Wednesday 18 March, 9.30 am – 12 midday. Meet at the shearing shed, 846 Boundary Road, Briagolong.

Lunch will be provided at both events. Bookings are not essential.

For more information about the farm walks or to register your interest please contact Caroline Love, Agriculture Victoria Bairnsdale on 0427 515 668.

For more information about upcoming drought workshops and support available to farmers visit

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.

Managing serrated tussock after wildfire

A consequence of fire that often goes unnoticed is weed invasion. The introduction and spread of weeds during emergency response and recovery activities is a real possibility as weeds can be inadvertently spread by vehicles, machinery and livestock, and possibly within donated stockfeed.

Serrated tussock (Nassella trichotoma) is a weed to watch for, particularly if stockfeed of unknown origins has entered your property.

It grows through the autumn and winter months, with seed development occurring in late spring. Serrated tussock can be easily mistaken for native tussock and a lone serrated tussock plant may easily go unnoticed. Once established, sizable infestations can be difficult to eliminate and costly to control.

Serrated tussock is well adapted to spread after fire, with the established plants recovering after a burn. This can lead to a total dominance of serrated tussock due to the lack of other pasture grasses and competition.

Regular inspections, and treatment or removal of new plants is recommended. Post-fire can be a good opportunity to spot serrated tussock plants, with their characteristic greenness in summer and the lack of other grasses.

Successful treatments can be conducted during this period, which can set landowners up for a better spring and pasture recovery.

Further information can be found on the VSTWP website

Young farmers shaping the future of agriculture

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

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

Drought and dry seasons support services and information
Domestic and stock bore license fee waiver

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

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

Apply online at the Victorian Water Register

Household Financial Relief Program

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Drought employment program

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

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

For further information:

Phone East Gippsland CMA on (03) 5152 0600 


Visit Gippsland drought employment 

On-farm emergency water infrastructure rebate scheme

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

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

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

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

What's on
Drought drop-in session
Event Details


Tuesday, 17 March
9.30 am – 2 pm

East Gippsland Livestock Exchange
11 Saleyards Road


Bairnsdale and district farmers are invited to drop-in for a chat with the Agriculture Victoria team at the East Gippsland Livestock Exchange.

Come along to find out about current drought assistance grants, animal feed requirements, early weaning, managing stock water and, establishing and using stock containment areas. We will also have information available for fire-affected farmers.

For more information, contact: Caroline Love, Agriculture Victoria Bairnsdale on 0427 515 668. Bookings not required.

Autumn pasture recovery – farm walks with Lisa Warn
Event Details


Monday, 16 March
12.30 – 4.00 pm

Giffard West Hall
3877 South Gippsland Highway

*starting with a light lunch prior to farm visit

Wednesday, 18 March
9.30 am – 12 midday 

Briagolong – meeting at the shearing shed
846 Boundary Road, Briagolong

*followed by a BBQ lunch


Farming families are invited to join local Agriculture Victoria staff on a farm walk presented by Lisa Warn from Lisa Warn Ag Consulting.

Topics on the day will include:

Pasture recovery, animal health questions, rebuilding herd numbers plus the provision of other available support.

Presenter Lisa Warn is an agricultural consultant and researcher with a long history of working in the grazing industries. She is a coordinator of the local BestWool/BestLamb group and is well known for her research in evaluating grazing systems and pasture persistence, as well as identifying soil constraints to pasture growth.

For more information contact Caroline Love, Agriculture Victoria Bairnsdale on 0427 515 668. Bookings not required.

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

Fox and wild dog bounty collection schedule for Gippsland

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

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


Monday, 23 March
2 – 4 pm

1301 Hazeldean Road


Tuesday, 24 March
12 – 2.30pm

35 Bairnsdale–Dargo Road

MAFFRA depot

Wednesday, 25 March
9 am – 11 am

1 Stratford Road


YARRAM (fox only)

Wednesday, 25 March
2 – 4 pm

Rodgers Street

WOORI YALLOCK depot (fox only)

Thursday, 26 March
12 – 2 pm

Symes Road
Woori Yallock

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

Tools for better irrigation scheduling
Event Details


Wednesday, 25 March

12 – 1 pm


Register here


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

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

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

Register here

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Contacting Agriculture Victoria

Call 136 186 from anywhere in Australia for the cost of a local call (except for mobiles and public telephones).

If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment
contact the National Relay Service on 133 677 or

A full list of our contact points can be found at:

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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