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Barwon South-West Ag news
Thursday 12 December, 2019
In this edition:
On-farm biosecurity: lessons learned from abroad

Victorian farmers have learned valuable lessons about the importance of rigorous on-farm biosecurity thanks to the experiences of Agriculture Victoria District Veterinary Officer Dr Jeff Cave.

At a recent state-wide webinar Dr Cave shared his recollections of the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in the United Kingdom in 2001.

Dr Cave was deployed to Cumbria – the most severely affected part of the country – when the FMD outbreak was at its height. His role as an epidemiologist involved aging mouth lesions on sheep and cattle to help authorities trace the disease and stem its spread.

“The outbreak resulted in the destruction of roughly six per cent of the nation’s livestock,” he said.

Dr Cave said the experience drove home the importance of early identification of disease and stringent biosecurity protocols, including the cessation of stock movement if the event of a disease outbreak.

“Foot-and-mouth disease is one of the biggest threats to Australia’s agricultural economy,” he said.

“If an outbreak occurred, it would have drastic impacts on the livelihoods of many farmers, and the sustainability of our livestock industries.”

During the webinar farmers heard how Dr Cave’s take home messages about good on-farm biosecurity could be practically applied on their farms.

South Gippsland beef producer Rob Liley explained how he implements biosecurity practices on his farm with a rigorous induction process for new stock and good record keeping, ensuring lifetime traceability of stock.

“New animals are kept in their buying groups for several weeks after their arrival,” he said.

Mr Liley said strategic biosecurity is paramount to good management.

“Often our biosecurity practices have a dual purpose,” he said.

“For example, fencing off dams to keep stock out not only ensures the water is kept clean, but also removes the risk of parasite transmission through dams.”

Joe Toohey, who runs a cattle breeding and trading operation near Ballarat, said he restricts the entry of visitor vehicles onto his farm to help maintain the integrity of his on-farm biosecurity.

“I have visitors park their vehicle and only enter the farming platform using a farm vehicle,” he said.

“This not only minimises the risks of introducing foreign material, but also ensures stress free cattle handling techniques as the animals are adapted to the use of farm vehicles.”

While vendor-bred cattle are favoured, buying out of markets remains common practice for cattle traders.

Mr Toohey said new animals are kept in holding paddocks and after an induction period are moved to the paddock where they will reside for the remainder of their stay.

Cattle paddocks on the Toohey farm are also double fenced, even at the gateways, to stop nose-to-nose contact. These fence lines can also double as laneways.

Agriculture Victoria’s ‘Disease in Practice’ webinar was supported by the BetterBeef Network and is now available to watch online at:

For more information and tips on biosecurity go to:

Climate webinar series will keep you informed

Agriculture Victoria is running a lunchtime climate webinar series in 2020, where participants will hear from a broad range of expert speakers from Agriculture Victoria, Bureau of Meteorology (BoM), CSIRO and other agencies.

Agriculture Victoria Climate Specialist Graeme Anderson said these webinars are great for busy people who want to keep informed but can’t attend face-to-face seminars, with the flexibility to connect into the webinar from anywhere with a mobile or internet connection.

“Participants can hear from experts on a range of current topics as they enjoy their lunch or they can simply watch and listen to the recording at a time that best suits,” Mr Anderson said.

“This climate webinar series will tap into a range of expert speakers so we can hear the latest science, insights and innovations in this space.”

Some of the webinar speakers include BoM’s Luke Shelley who will discuss their new Local Climate Guides for the Victorian regions, and CSIRO’s John Clarke will share the new Victorian Climate Change Projections 2019.

Also from BoM, Climatologist Andrew Watkins will discuss the new BoM seasonal forecast products and new multi-week and seasonal outlooks.

“There will be several Agriculture Victoria presenters," he said.

"I will be talking about weather forecasts, seasonal outlooks and climate change projections and what they can and can’t do.

“Agriculture Victoria Senior Irrigation Officer Rob O’Connor will discuss our irrigation products and services and how using BoM evapotranspiration (ET) data can assist determine plant irrigation requirements.

“Plus, our Seasonal Risk Agronomist, Dale Grey will present The Break seasonal forecast updates, including both autumn, winter and spring outlooks.”

More subject experts presenting through the 2020 webinar series include:

  • Cam Nicholson from Nicon Rural Services who will share valuable insights on farm decision making
  • Geoff Steendam, Senior Manager Hydrology and Climate Science, DELWP who will discuss the Victorian Water and Climate Initiative and findings
  • Agbyte’s Leighton Wilksch who will walk attendees through farm weather stations and examples of how they are being used to provide value for farmers.

For more information and to subscribe to stay up-to-date with these upcoming climate webinars visit: or contact Heather Field on 5336 6607 or

Pet pigs and small herds a focus for PICs

Agriculture Victoria is reminding pig owners that every property with livestock is legally required to have a Property Identification Code (PIC).

Live now, the campaign ‘Get your pig a PIC’ is aimed at people who might have a pet pig, or a small herd, through advertising on traditional and social media.

Victoria’s Acting Chief Veterinary Officer Cameron Bell said PICs were a key part of Victoria’s biosecurity system.

“It doesn’t matter whether you have one pig or hundreds of pigs, it’s important that everyone with livestock has a PIC,” Dr Bell said.

“PICs are used for locating properties to provide advice to livestock owners, to help manage animal welfare issues and to assist in the event of emergencies such as fire, flood or an exotic animal disease incursion.

“Victoria is free from many devastating diseases such as African swine fever and foot-and-mouth disease and we can keep it that way through a strong biosecurity system,” he said.

“Get a PIC, identify your pigs correctly, register with PigPass and record all pig movements on the PigPass database.

“Now that summer has arrived and with it the bushfire season, it’s yet another reason to apply for a PIC if you don’t have one already, or make sure your details are up to date.”

Dr Bell said PICs were free and easy to obtain through the Agriculture Victoria website.

“It is also crucial to keep pigs healthy by ensuring they are not fed swill.”

Swill includes meat, butcher’s shop waste, bakery food that contain meat and vegetables that have been served with meat, and imported dairy products.

“Swill feeding is illegal in Australia, to help protect our livestock from exotic animal diseases.

“Pigs should be fed commercial pig rations, grain, fruit and vegetables. If in doubt, do not feed leftover food to your pigs.”
Remember, get your pig a PIC. Visit or call 136 186.

Researchers confirm new dual fungicide resistance in barley disease

Australian researchers have confirmed a new form of dual fungicide resistance in the common barley disease, net form net blotch (NFNB).

They have identified a new genotype in NFNB that is – for the first time known – showing dual resistance to both a succinate dehydrogenase inhibitor (SDHI) fungicide as well as some DeMethylation Inhibitor (DMI) fungicides.

The discovery was outlined at the recent 2019 Crop Protection Forum at Moama in New South Wales and the national fungicide resistance workshop in Melbourne (Victoria).

Working together to test barley samples collected near Minlaton on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula, researchers from the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), the research division of Primary Industries and Regions SA, and the Centre for Crop and Disease Management (CCDM) found fungal strains showing reduced fungicide sensitivity to SDHI fungicide fluxapyroxad.

The samples were identified by SARDI plant pathologists Tara Garrard and Hugh Wallwork and confirmed as resistant via tests conducted by CCDM’s fungicide resistance team led by Fran Lopez-Ruiz.

“The samples, collected from two paddocks a short distance apart, clearly showed high NFNB disease levels when the SARDI team was first alerted to the problem by agronomist Sam Holmes,” said Dr Wallwork.

Additional testing by the CCDM team then confirmed the higher levels of resistance correlated with a genetic mutation in the Sdh complex which is the NFNB target of SDHI fungicides.

Following these initial tests more detailed studies were undertaken, reinforcing the discovery of resistance.

“While the type of SDHI resistance and the mutations found in the Yorke Peninsula isolates have been recorded previously in Europe, this is the first confirmation of this genotype in Australia,” said Dr Lopez-Ruiz.

Dr Wallwork said the samples were from the barley variety Spartacus CL, grown in a barley-on-barley rotation with fluxapyroxad used in both years. In terms of fungicide application, soil moisture in the area was considered to be adequate to allow for good uptake and further testing on residual seed clearly showed that the efficacy was greatly reduced. 

Additional samples collected at the site also showed resistance to the Group 3 DMI fungicide tebuconazole, and although the resistance mechanism is still being investigated, Dr Lopez-Ruiz said it was known to be different to the DMI resistance mechanisms already reported in barley net blotches in Western Australia.

Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) diseases manager, Friday Obanor, said the discovery of these new genotypes reflected the importance of research and development in the Australian grains industry and investment in research conducted by both the CCDM (co-supported by Curtin University and the GRDC) and SARDI.

“Australia has some of the best crop disease experts in the world working here and their efforts are critical for identifying and quantifying new risks to agriculture in a rapid and highly co-ordinated way,” said Dr Obanor.

“The faster we can alert growers, the quicker we can get management strategies into the paddock.”

The Yorke Peninsula results are a reminder for growers to consider using different modes of action when applying fungicides, as continuous use of the same fungicides will increase selection pressure further, increasing the risk of even more rises in resistance levels.

This also applies to the closely related spot form net blotch disease which has already developed high levels of resistance to some DMIs in WA.

Dr Lopez-Ruiz said the results also reinforced the need for growers and advisers to implement a fungicide resistance management strategy that encompasses an integrated approach, involving:

  • Avoid growing barley on barley – look for suitable alternative break crops
  • Choose fungicide mixtures with different modes of action (if available)
  • Do not use Group 7 fungicides for net blotch control in the areas where resistance to this group of fungicides has been reported
  • Group 7 fungicides (seed dressing and foliar) should not be used more than once per season in any crop rotation – alternate them instead with other fungicides with different modes of action
  • Do not apply the same Group 3 fungicides twice in a row – look at alternate sprays
  • Avoid using tebuconazole, propiconazole and epoxiconazole as a stand-alone product in barley for any disease as a way of avoiding indirect fungicide resistance selection
  • Use fungicides as early as possible after symptoms develop if conditions are highly conducive for disease development
  • Do not spray below label rates to avoid fungicide underperformance.
Boost your business: food innovation voucher stream

The Food Innovation Voucher Stream is a new initiative of the Victorian Government that helps companies access the know-how needed to innovate, diversify, improve productivity and take new and innovative products to market.

The vouchers and associated Food Innovation Network will deliver on the Victorian Food and Fibre Sector strategy.

Round 4 of Boost Your Business closes Sunday 22 December 2019.


At a glance

  • Potential assistance
  • Up to $10,000 for early stage feasibility and testing
  • Up to $50,000 for process innovation, product development and research and development


Applicant businesses must be a small to medium enterprise with an operating presence in Victoria and be registered as members of the Food Innovation Network.

Young farmer business network

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.

Honey bee health survey

A short survey has been developed to find out how healthy Australian honey bees are, and what pests and diseases might be causing problems for beekeepers.

The results from the survey will be used to decide what help beekeepers might need to keep their honey bees healthy. It will also provide statistics for use by the industry.

The Australian Honey Bee Industry Council, Plant Health Australia, and AgriFutures Australia, encourage all Australian beekeepers to take part in this survey, which will only take 10 to 12 minutes to complete.

The survey closes on 31 December 2019.


Finding Australia's next generation of lamb leaders

Are you, or do you know someone, aged 18 –35 years who is passionate about the Australian sheep and lamb industry?

Well, we'd like to let them know that the LambEx 2020 Young Guns competition is open!

Six finalists will be selected from round one of the LambEx 2020 Young Guns competition to attend the conference in Melbourne, receive travel assistance up to $800, and will be provided with professional development opportunities during the event.

Entering the competition is easy! LambEx wants to hear your vision on how to connect the Australian sheep and lamb industry with city consumers.

Simply capture your vision in three minutes or less using any digital medium(s) including (but not limited to) video, photography with voice overlay, digital storytelling, graphics, animation, GoPro etc.

Unleash your creativity over the coming months to prepare and submit your entry by 31 January 2020.

For information go to:

What's on
Slug and snail management workshops - February 4 and 5
Event details

Goroke – Tuesday 4 February, 4.30 to 7.30 pm

Noradjuha – Wednesday 5 February, 8.30 am to
12.30 pm

Lubeck – Wednesday 5 February, 1.30 to 4 pm

COST: Free


Growers and advisers are invited to an interactive presentation by snail and slug management expert, Michael Nash.

Dr Nash will provide the latest information on managing snails and slugs to apply to your paddock for cost-effective control.


  • Hands-on identification of slug and snail species
  • Lifecycles of the most concerning species
  • Market access
  • Integrated control strategies including best bets for baiting
  • Q and A session

To attend the events please register online at: or phone Heather on 0427 868 705.

ABC of herbicide resistance - February 17 and 18
Event details

Warracknabeal - Monday 17 February, 4.30 to 7 pm

Nhill - Tuesday 18 February, 9 to 11 am

Kaniva - Tuesday 18 February, 1.30 to 3.30 pm 

Cost: Free


Growers and advisers are invited to join with Dr Peter Boutsalis and learn the ‘ABC’ of herbicide resistance during a series of coordinated workshops across the Wimmera.

Dr Peter Boutsalis has been involved in herbicide
resistance research for 30 years, both internationally and in Australia.

He is currently employed as a research scientist with the University of Adelaide, working predominantly on a GRDC project monitoring herbicide resistance in South Australia and Victoria.

Dr Boutsalis also operates Plant Science Consulting, an Adelaide-based company specialising in commercial herbicide resistance testing and trialling new mode of action herbicides.


  • Alphabet resistance in the Wimmera
  • Wimmera resistance survey results
  • Testing for resistance
  • Avoiding and addressing herbicide resistance

Registration is essential at: https://abcofherbicideresistanceinthewimmera.eventbrite.

Enquires to Heather Drendel, Agriculture Victoria, or phone 0427 868 705.

Stock Containment Area workshop - 18 February
Event details

DATE: Tuesday, 18 February

TIME: 9.30 am to 1 pm, lunch provided

VENUE: ‘The Ranch’, R & F Mitchell, 4686 Glenelg Highway, Glenthompson

RSVP: 17 Februray 


Come along to share information on establishing and managing a stock containment area for sheep.


  • Siting and design of stock containment areas
  • Feeding and nutrition of sheep in containment
  • Producer’s first-hand experience - design and use of stock containment areas
  • Benefits and uses of stock containment areas (including autumn saving of pastures, drought feeding, weaning, biosecurity and quarantine).


  • Clem Sturmfels – Land Management Extension Officer, Agriculture Victoria
  • Nerida Evans - District Veterinary Officer, Agriculture Victoria
  • Russell and Fiona Mitchell – farm owners, ‘The Ranch’

Register online by Monday 17 February at:

For more information phone Neil James Agriculture Victoria 0417353929 or if you have any trouble registering contact Nerissa Lovric on 0475 986 314 or email

GRDC Grains Research Update - 26 February

The GRDC Grains Research Update events are for agronomists, consultants, researchers and growers to see and discuss the latest in research and to network with their peers about how to apply new and relevant information to the latest farming systems.

When: Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 February 2020

Where: Ulumbarra Theatre, 10 Gaol Road, Bendigo

Contact: Matt McCarthy,, 03 5441 6176.

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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

All contact points can be found at:

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