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Thursday 19 March 2020
In this edition

Farming and community group drought funding grants program now open

Seasonal forecasting - grain growers using tools to their advantage

Increase pulse inoculant in dry conditions this seeding

Farmer pleads guilty to animal cruelty charges

2020 fox and wild dog bounty collection schedules

NLIS management workshops for livestock producers

Young farmer business network

Join the Young Farmers Advisory Council

Managing dry conditions

Drought and dry seasons workshops

Upcoming farmer workshops

Dry seasons support

What's On

Farming and community group drought funding grants program now open
farming and community group drought funding grants now open

The Program is open to Landcare and land management groups, industry groups, farming systems groups, farming discussion groups and not for profit and community organisations in Victoria. 

Groups in the Millewa, East Gippsland and the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District are particularly encouraged to apply.

Grants of up to $25,000 (excluding GST) are available to engage technical experts and/or specialists to provide relevant and appropriate technical advice, information and support to a group of farmers or landholders to help them prepare for, respond to and manage drought and dry seasonal conditions.

This can include, but is not limited to the following technical themes:

  • Irrigation and water
  • Livestock management, including animal nutrition, health, feed and water budgeting
  • Crop, pasture and grazing establishment and management
  • Land and soil management
  • Stock containment area use and management
  • Whole farm and business planning
  • Climate adaptation
  • Other targeted themes will be considered on a case by case basis

Applications will close on April 1, 2020 at 11.59 pm. 

A broad range of delivery options will be considered including activities delivered by teleconference, webinar, e-learning, podcast or other technology that can bring groups together.

You can view the attached program guidelines and submit an online application.

For more information please contact

Seasonal forecasting - grain growers using tools to their advantage
a guide for farmers in using seasonal forecasts in South Eastern Australia

Year to year climate variability is a major source of risk to the profitability of our grain growers.

Yet, effective use of seasonal climate forecasts can assist growers in potentially reducing the financial impact of that risk, especially in years that sit outside the ‘average’.

To support growers in their efforts to better understand and utilise the seasonal forecast information available, the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) in conjunction with Agriculture Victoria has published - 'A guide for farmers in using seasonal forecasts in south eastern Australia'.

“Many growers and their advisers are aware of seasonal climate forecasts but are unsure how to best use the information in decision making,” GRDC Grower Relations Manager – South, Randall Wilksch, said.

“We want to address this challenge by encouraging the most effective use and uptake of the latest climate information to improve profit and risk management for our grain growers,” he said.

The guide, available at, provides examples of where and when seasonal forecasts can be particularly useful to growers and includes case studies of growers who detail their experiences and the tactics they have employed to reduce the impact of climate variability.

Among the growers featured in the guide are the Keam family at Lah in Victoria’s Wimmera region; Wayne and Therese Thomas at Youanmite in northern Victoria; the Baldock family at Kimba on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula; and Tony and Michele Andrews at Nalyappa on South Australia's Yorke Peninsula.

Other case studies involved the Hunt and Fenton families at Normanville in Victoria’s Mallee; the Carn family at Quorn and Umberatana Station in SA’s Far North; the Modra family at Port Lincoln on Eyre Peninsula; and Barry and Kristina Mudge at Port Germein in the Far North of SA.

The information presented in the guide draws on the knowledge and experiences of not only grain growers, but also advisers and researchers around how and when seasonal forecasts can aid in farm enterprise decision making.

The guide has been generated out of the GRDC’s ‘Using seasonal forecast information and tools to manage risk and increase profitability in the south region’ investment.

This project is being led by Graeme Anderson and Dale Grey from Agriculture Victoria who also lead the extension of the successful ‘The Break’ suite of communication products across the southern region.

More guidance on interpreting weather forecasts can be found in a GRDC Paddock Practices at

Increase pulse inoculant in dry conditions this seeding

Growers planning to dry sow pulses on soils responsive to inoculation this season are encouraged to double the rate of peat inoculant or use a granular inoculant which delivers a high number of rhizobia at sowing to increase the likelihood of successful nodulation and nitrogen fixation.

This approach can allow growers in drier climates more flexibility when sowing pulses in suboptimal conditions.

Liz Farquharson, senior research officer with Primary Industries and Regions South Australia’s research division, the SA Research and Development Institute (SARDI), said pulse grain prices and nitrogen fixation benefits make pulses an attractive crop option.

However, dry sowing can hinder the survival of the applied rhizobia bacteria as they are sensitive to desiccation. 

The longer the ‘dry period’ between sowing and germinating rains, the higher the risk of an inoculation failure.

“Dry sowing is less of a concern where a legume nodulated by the same rhizobia group has been grown recently in the paddock and the soil is favourable to rhizobia survival,” Dr Farquharson said.

“In these conditions, the risk of nodulation failure is much lower.”

Research to optimise legume inoculation for dry sowing was recently funded by the SA Grain Industry Trust (SAGIT) and is currently included in the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) investment, ‘Increasing nitrogen fixation in pulse crops through the development of improved rhizobial strains, inoculation and crop management practices’, led by SARDI senior scientist Ross Ballard.

Inoculants that carry the ‘Green Tick’ logo (approved by the Australian Inoculants Research Group) meet minimum quality standards (purity and number of rhizobia per gram of product).

This rating will soon be available for granules.

Dry sowing is discouraged on hostile soils, especially acid soils (pHca<6.0) for bean, lentil and pea.

Dr Farquharson also advises growers to take particular care if they intend to inoculate seed which has been treated with pesticides.

“Where pesticide application is necessary, the rhizobia are best applied to seed as close to sowing as is possible and sown into moist soil, or granular inoculant may provide a better option as this reduces direct exposure of the rhizobia to the pesticide,” she said.

The project will also develop enhanced inoculation and crop management practices to maximise nitrogen fixation in suboptimal conditions and avoid any impact of crop protection chemicals and fertiliser on nodulation.

This includes the development and release of improved rhizobia for bean and lentil on acid soils.

It is hoped the new rhizobia strain will have a substantial impact in the southern cropping region where pulse production is expanding into high rainfall areas with characteristically low pH soils.

Farmer pleads guilty to animal cruelty charges

A sheep farmer from Corack near Donald, recently pleaded guilty to animal cruelty in the St Arnaud Magistrates Court for failing to appropriately care for his sheep.

The farmer pleaded guilty to two charges of failing to provide sufficient feed, three charges of aggravated cruelty, and a charge for failure to comply with notices under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986.

The farmer was convicted and fined $5,000 and a Conditional Control Order imposed which would allow an authorised Agriculture Victoria inspector to monitor compliance with the Act.

Agriculture Victoria Compliance Manager Daniel Bode said the farmer had received a warning letter from Agriculture Victoria with respect to basic husbandry requirements for his sheep only a few months prior to the offending occurring in this matter.

The magistrate accepted the fact the farmer had taken his eye off the ball due to a difficult period, however, the consequences caused cruelty to animals.

The magistrate remarked these are living creatures and they had suffered.

Mr Bode said all farmers have a responsibility to maintain Victoria’s reputation in farming practices and the livestock industry.

“Throughout the period of offending, these sheep continued to suffer and were not provided with appropriate food or treatment, leaving no alternative for Agriculture Victoria officers but to euthanize several sheep that were severely unwell,” he said.

“The case serves as a strong reminder that it is an offence for livestock owners to fail to provide for their welfare.”

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

Swan Hill collections (fox only)

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


  • 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).

  • 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.

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.


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

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.

Drought drop-in at Echuca saleyard

6 April
10.30 am - 2 pm

Echuca Saleyards
520 McKenzie Road


Farmers in the GMID, do you want to know more about drought support? Confused about what you might be eligible to apply for? Come along to find out more about drought grants, animal feed requirements, managing stock water and use of stock containment areas to help you manage and make decisions for autumn.

For more information contact Richard Smith on 0436 803 765 (bookings not required).

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
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

BestWool/BestLamb meeting - Avoca
Event Details

24 March
5 – 6.30 pm

Avoca Community Centre
122 High Street


The next meeting of the Pyrenees BestWool/BestLamb group will discuss farm theft, and what we can do about it. Also, the latest in Broad leaf weed control in pasture.

Simon Grant, Farm Crime Liaison Officer (Wimmera) from Victoria Police will explain their role and what farmers can do to deter theft on their properties.

Alex Turnbull Nufarm will explain their new chemical release for broadleaf weeds in pastures.


  • Regional roundup (Around the farms)
  • Farm theft
  • Nufarms new release

Neil James, Agriculture Victoria, Ballarat
Phone: 0417 353 929 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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