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Barwon South-West Ag news
Thursday 18 July 2019
In this edition

Bee biosecurity checklist for almond pollination
Avoiding the impact of Brucellosis and how to get accredited
Be aware when purchasing fodder and livestock feed
Fox bounty collection continues
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies with long-term feeding-out
Grain storage webinars: convenient delivery of expert advice
Skilling the next generation of Victorian farmers
What's On

Latest News
Bee biosecurity checklist for almond pollination
Bee pollinating flower

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

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.

Agriculture Victoria’s South West District Veterinarian Dr Elle Moyle said OB is typically introduced into a flock by an infected ram.

"The disease subsequently spreads ram to ram or via ewes during joining,” she 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," Dr Moyle said.

"This is achieved with veterinary assistance by palpating and blood testing rams and culling any that are found to be infected.”

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," Dr Moyle said.

"In addition, boundary fencing should be secure to prevent straying from neighbouring properties.”

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

Be aware when purchasing fodder and livestock feed
Moving hay bales

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

Fox bounty collection continues
Fox in wild

The Victorian Government’s fox bounty has been running since 2011.

Agriculture Victoria is again collecting until the end of October, which is consistent with previous years.

Eligible participants can submit entire fox scalps for a $10 reward. Upcoming fox bounty collections for the Barwon South West region are for foxes only.

Scheduled collections:
Colac – 19–21 Rossmoyne Road, Colac, Tuesday 27 August, 1.30 – 3.30 pm.

Geelong – 16 Cadman Terrace, North Geelong, Tuesday 27 August, 9.30 –11.30 am.

Hamilton – Depot Hamilton Centre, Napier Rd, Hamilton, Wednesday 28 August, 1.30 – 3.30 pm.

Warrnambool – 703–711 Raglan Parade, Wednesday 28 August, 8.30 – 10.30 am.

For full details on bounty collection times and locations, terms and conditions, and frequently asked questions, visit the Agriculture Victoria website or phone 136 186.

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies with long-term feeding-out
feeding out cows

By Jeff Cave, Agriculture Victoria District Veterinary Officer

When feeding-out to livestock it is essential to provide stock with the minimum nutritional requirements to prevent deficiencies, sub-optimal production, disease and death.

When feeding-out over an extended period, deficiencies in fat-soluble vitamins, particularly vitamins A and E are possible. This generally 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.

Grain storage webinars: convenient delivery of expert advice
GRDC webinar series tile

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) has come to the aid of growers interested in learning more about grain storage but lacking the time or ability to get to a workshop.

A series of grain storage webinars is about to be launched, providing growers with convenient, timely and relevant information and advice about all aspects of storing grain on-farm.

One webinar will be held every month for the remainder of 2019 – each being 30 minutes duration and focused on different topics.

The free-of-charge webinars, facilitated by Birchip Cropping Group, will be led by members of the GRDC’s Grain Storage Extension Project team who are keen to ensure growers are extracting the most from their grain storage investments.

Chris Warrick, who co-ordinates the GRDC’s Grain Storage Extension Project, says the webinars are designed to be an easy-to-access source of valuable information to support growers with their storage practices and considerations.

“The webinars are a convenient way of accessing the latest advice without having to leave the farm or office and offer an opportunity to ask questions of the experts – they will be extremely interactive,” said Mr Warrick, who is also a consultant with Primary Business.

“It is so important to get grain storage right – because if you don’t the consequences can be costly.”

The first webinar will held on Tuesday, 16 July at 10 am focussed on planning for storage.

Other webinars will be on:
August 13 – storage hygiene and structural treatments
September 10 – upgrades to existing storage
October 8 – grain bags and bunkers
November 12 – grain protectants
December 10 – aeration cooling.

For more information and to register for the GRDC webinars, go to or contact Amy Harwood via or 0456 979 561.

Skilling the next generation of Victorian farmers
Young farmers scholarship

The Victorian Government’s Upskill and Invest Young Farmers Scholarships are now open to young farmers looking to access study and training, and then invest on-farm or in further professional development.

Up to $10,000 is available per scholarship – with each recipient eligible for up to $5,000 to support their training and study in areas such as business and risk management, genetics and pasture management development.

Once recipients complete their studies, they will receive further support of up to $5,000 to put their new skills into practice through professional development, business planning or to invest on-farm in equipment.

The Government works to support Victoria’s next generation of food and fibre leaders through a range of programs including the Young Farmer Business Bootcamps, Young Farmers Business Network and the Young Farmers Advisory Council.

Applications for this year’s round of scholarships are open to farmers aged 35 or under who have been working in farm businesses at least three days a week for the past three months, with at least two years total experience on-farm.

To find out more about the program and to apply for a scholarship, visit

What's on
Australian Sheep and Wool Show - 19 to 21 July, Bendigo

The 142nd Australian Sheep and Wool Show will be held over three days, starting tomorrow.

Head along to the Prince of Wales Showground, 42-72 Holmes Rd, Bendigo, Victoria for the largest event of its type in the world.

As the 'best of best' sheep breeders compete and some of the country's most passionate food, fashion and fibre lovers gather to celebrate the mighty Australian sheep.

For full event details please visit

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 8pm 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 here.

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.
Darren Hickey - e: or ph: 03 5152 0496
Tess McDougall - e: or ph: 03 5355 0530

Mallee Machinery Field Days – July 31 and August 1

Agriculture Victoria will again be at this year’s Mallee Machinery Field Days.

A wide range of timely information for grain and livestock farmers will be a cornerstone of the Agriculture Victoria site at next month’s Mallee Machinery Field Days near Speed.

Optional health checks will also be available this year, with a team of agri-health professionals from the National Centre for Farmer Health offering field day goers an opportunity to check on their number one asset - their health. 

More details coming soon, so watch this space.

Visit us at Sheepvention
Sheepvention tile

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 and 77, 87 - 90.

For full event details please visit

East Gippsland Beef Conference

The East Gippsland Beef Conference connects local producers with leading producers, innovative farming practices, market analysis and forecasts, and industry research.

Better Beef logo

When and where:
Tuesday 13 August,
Bairnsdale Sporting and Recreation Centre

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 Dinner, St Mary’s Hall, Pyke St, Bairnsdale

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

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

‘Jump into Spring’ with the Dairy Ladies’ Luncheon
Georgi Coghlan headsot

WestVic Dairy will host the annual South West Dairy Ladies’ Luncheon at the Brother Fox Café, Deakin University, Warrnambool on 14 August.

Headlining this popular event in 2019 will be TV presenter Gorgi Coghlan

The Ladies’ Luncheon has been running successfully for 11 years and aims to inspire women in the dairy industry, as well as providing an opportunity to get off-farm and enjoy some great entertainment, food and laughter.

WestVic Dairy’s Chair, Simone Renyard said, our vision is to give the ladies of the dairy industry a chance to have a day away from their farms and businesses, forget about all the issues in the world and have a day of fun, socialising and networking.

Purchase your ticket to this year’s Ladies’ Luncheon, $35pp including a drink on arrival, grazing table and two course meal,

For more information, or if unable to book online call WestVic Dairy on (03) 5557 1000.

GRDC Grains Research Update - Derrinallum
Update Details

Thursday 22 August
9:00am – 1:00pm

Derrinallum Community Hall
74 Main Street, Derrinallum

Cost: $30 per person and $20 for additional attendees


The GRDC Grains Research Update events provide agronomists, consultants, researchers and growers with a forum to showcase innovative thinking and the latest research outcomes relevant to modern farming systems.

For more information on the Derrinallum Update contact Brett Symes;, phone (03) 5441 6176

Visit the website for full details and to register.

Expressions of interest for small scale pig and poultry producer workshops
Pig stalls
Chickens in paddock
two pigs
farmer with chickens

Agriculture Victoria will host a series of free workshops to help new and existing small-scale pig and poultry producers prepare a land use planning permit application.

Please note: Only attending participants will be eligible for the supporting grants program of up to $3,000 for expenses related to on-farm works, consultancy, or training that supports the preparation of a land use planning permit application.

Workshops will run from 9am to 3pm at locations determined by expressions of interest.

To register your interest in attending a workshop go to Eventbrite.

For more information please contact  Ann McDowell on 0436 934 343 or

Rural Press Club awards night
Event Details

Date: Friday, 23 August at 7.00 pm

Location: Showtime Events Centre, South Wharf Promenade, South Wharf

Members: $110 (plus GST)
Non-members: $140 (plus GST)

Dress code: Lounge suit/cocktail dress

Queries: Please contact Laura Poole at or on 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.

Enjoy canapes, three courses and drinks at one of Melbourne's most exciting venues for the special member price of $110 (plus GST). Non-members are very welcome at $140 (plus GST).

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

Make a booking at - individual or tables of 10.

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

From the Ground Up, Regenerative Agriculture conference

All Landcare members are invited to take advantage of a special early bird rate available for From the Ground Up, a three day conference on Regenerative Agriculture.

Presented by Otway Coast Regenerative Farmers and hosted by biodynamic farmer, grazier and 2018 Bob Hawke Landcare Award Winner Charlie Arnott, this three day conference introduces you to the fundamental principles of regenerative agriculture.

The program includes presentations, panel discussions and field visits with a host of experts including Dr Christine Jones, Dianne and Ian Haggerty, Kym Kruse, Colin Seis, Grant Simms and Tammi Jonas.

From the ground up conference tile

Wednesday, 18 September 2019 8:30am - 4:30pm
Thursday, 19 September 2019 8:30am - 4:30pm
Friday, 20 September 2019 9:00am - 4:30pm

Colac Otway Performing Arts & Cultural Centre (COPACC), 95-97 Gellibrand Street, Colac 3250 

Find out more and book here.

From the Ground Up: Growing Regenerative Agriculture in Corangamite is presented by Otway Coast Regenerative Farmers and supported by The Australian Government National Landcare Program, Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, Southern Otway Landcare Network and the Colac Otway Shire Council.

Young farmers of Victoria, this is your network!
Young Farmers Business Network Facebook tile

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 here.

Free sheep faecal egg count tests

Sheep producers are being urged to submit worm samples for an Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) research trial to validate a more sensitive worm test.

They are asked to collect dung samples from a mob of wormy sheep on the day of drenching, then again 14 days after the drench.

Producers who submit worm samples will receive the results from the traditional faecal egg count (FEC) test for free, saving them hundreds of dollars.

For more information contact or call (02) 4655 6464.

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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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