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Barwon South-West Ag news
Thursday 4 July 2019
In this edition

2019 Stonefruit Research Roadshow

What are the risk factors of grass tetany?

Skilling the next generation of Victorian farmers

Rainbow radar rising

New 'fit to load' guide released

Farm drainage and reuse incentives for irrigation farmers

New feeding livestock website

Farming and Community Group Drought Funding Program

2019 Victorian Landcare Awards

Drought and dry seasons webinar series

Look Over the Farm Gate funding

Young farmers of Victoria, this is your network!

Know your NLIS requirements for lambing season

What's On

2019 Stonefruit Research Roadshow

Agriculture Victoria’s 2019 Stonefruit Research Roadshow will be held in the Riverland, Sunraysia and Goulburn-Murray regions across a series of events in August.

Agriculture Victoria Senior Research Scientist Dr Mark O'Connell said the roadshow is an opportunity to meet with growers and industry to discuss the latest results from

Agriculture Victoria’s Profitable Stonefruit Research Program undertaken at Tatura and at AgriBio, the Centre for AgriBioscience in Melbourne.

“These roadshows have been held annually since 2016 and previous participants have confirmed they want to know more about how to best manage their orchards for high-quality fruit that meets the preferences of consumers,” Dr O’Connell said.

“One of our key presenters, Christine Frisina, is completing her PhD on harvest maturity impacting fruit quality and will report her interesting findings.”

This year's roadshow presenters and topics include:

  • Industry updates - Trevor Ranford, Summerfruit Australia CEO
  • Harvest maturity impacting fruit quality - Christine Frisina, Agriculture Victoria
  • Irrigation management impacts on fruit quality - Dr Mark O'Connell, Agriculture Victoria
  • Observations from monitoring export fruit: sea freight and air freight - Glenn Hale, Agriculture Victoria
  • Stonefruit cultivar performance during export and predicting shelf life – Dr John Lopresti, Agriculture Victoria
  • New fruit quality monitoring technology - Dr Dario Stefanelli, Agriculture Victoria
  • Profitable Stonefruit e-newsletter, plus new website features - Mark Hincksman, Agriculture Victoria.
  • Visit the 2019 Stonefruit Research Roadshow at:
  • Renmark at 7pm, Tuesday 13 August, Renmark Hotel, Murray Avenue, Renmark, SA
  • Swan Hill at 7pm, Wednesday 14 August, Murray Downs Golf and Country Club, Murray Downs Drive, Murray Downs, NSW
  • Cobram at 7pm, Thursday 15 August, Grand Central Hotel, 36 Punt Road, Cobram, VIC

For more information please contact Mark Hincksman on 0437 254 913 or at

What are the risk factors of grass tetany?

Dr Jeff Cave, District Veterinary Officer

In any season, it is sensible to try and anticipate animal health problems that may occur.

At this time of year, grass tetany has the potential to be a significant problem in cattle in this part of Australia.

Since cattle with grass tetany often die suddenly, the first sign of grass tetany on your property may be a deceased cow.

To establish the likelihood of grass tetany occurring on your property, it is worth considering some of the risk factors involved, which can include:

  • grazing on immature, rapidly growing, grass dominant pastures;
  • soils high in potassium, or with the heavy use of nitrogen or potash fertilisers;
  • older, fatter cows soon after calving are most likely to be affected;
  • low blood magnesium levels in cows; and
  • cool and cloudy weather.

After considering the risk factors it is worth planning how you can prevent, and if necessary treat, an outbreak of grass tetany on your property.

Grass tetany occurs when blood magnesium levels are low. Hence the condition’s other name – hypomagnesaemia. Cattles’ bodies are unable to store magnesium.

To prevent grass tetany, magnesium supplementation needs to be given daily to cattle at greatest risk during periods of greatest risk.

Have you considered how you could supplement your herd?

Whether it is by giving Causmag treated hay, mineral licks, magnesium capsules, or by some other means?

When cattle are affected clinically with grass tetany they display initial excitement, bellowing, muscle spasms, tetany and finally convulsions before dying.

Since grass tetany leads to the rapid death of cattle, the treatment of clinical cases is an emergency and veterinary assistance should be sought immediately. A veterinarian will give a calcium and magnesium solution intravenously.

If a veterinarian is not available, the calcium and magnesium solution should at least be given under the skin.

Clinical cases of grass tetany and cattle lost to the condition are best prevented with some forward planning.

For further advice, please contact your local veterinarian or Agriculture Victoria Veterinary Officer or Animal Health Officer.

Skilling the next generation of Victorian farmers

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.

Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes opened the 2019 program during a visit to former scholarship recipient Kate Kirk’s Bass Coast Dairy Farm in Loch and encouraged young famers to apply.

A passionate advocate of animal welfare, Ms Kirk used her scholarship to do an advanced hoof care course and shared her learnings with her employees and other farmers.

She used the financial support to purchase a cattle crush, providing a safe environment to practice hoof husbandry.

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 $5000 to put their new skills into practice through professional development, business planning or to invest on-farm in equipment.

The Young Farmers Scholarship program has successfully supported 50 young farmers to develop their skills across a range of agriculture sectors since 2015.

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

Rainbow radar rising

More accurate real-time weather information will soon be available to people in Victoria’s north west with the construction of a new weather radar in the Wimmera now underway.

Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes was in Rainbow today to celebrate the construction of the new radar with a ceremonial ‘turning the sod’ at the radar site near Rainbow.

The new Doppler radar will provide the region with real-time access to critical information about approaching weather.

Its construction at Rainbow will address a gap in the radar network and particularly benefit farmers in the Wimmera Southern Mallee who will be able to make better, more time-critical farming decisions.

Other benefits of the radar include enhanced short-term rainfall forecasts and the provision of additional information to Bureau of Meteorology experts during severe weather events.

The $9.3 million Rainbow Radar project is being supported by the Victorian Government and the Federal Government through the Bureau of Meteorology.

State and Federal government representatives are working in partnership with the Wimmera Development Association and other key community partners to deliver the project.

The state-of-the-art radar, which was built by a specialist team in Germany, has been delivered and will be installed later this year.

Victorian-based Premier Building and Construction has been contracted to complete the construction at the Rainbow site.

The Rainbow Radar is scheduled to be operational by April 2020.

For more information about the Rainbow Radar visit

New ‘fit to load’ guide released

An updated guide to help producers, agents, buyers and transporters decide if an animal is fit to be loaded for transport by road or rail has been released by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA).

The 2019 edition of the national guide, Is the animal fit to load?, includes new content to ensure best practice animal welfare when preparing, loading and delivering cattle, sheep and goats.

MLA General Manager – Producer Consultation and Adoption, Michael Crowley, said with the industry continuing to deal with ongoing dry conditions across many livestock production regions, the release of the revised guide was timely.

“The Australian red meat industry is absolutely committed to animal welfare practices and ensuring livestock are cared for,” Mr Crowley said.

“The guide has been developed to help livestock operators meet the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for the Land Transport of Livestock, and decide whether an animal is fit to be loaded for transport and for the entire journey by road or rail, to any destination within Australia.

“It contains new information about loading densities for livestock, managing effluent, and the chain of responsibility for all involved.

“The roles and responsibilities of consignors and transporters are clearly defined in the guide, along with checklists to help assess whether an animal is fit to load.

“Knowing who the ‘person in charge’ of animals is at different stages of the journey and the scope of those responsibilities is important for many reasons.

“If the ‘person in charge’ prepares to transport or transports an animal that is unfit, that person commits an act of cruelty upon that animal and may be liable to prosecution under state or territory legislation.

"As such, it is also unacceptable for any party to coerce or intimidate the ‘person in charge’ into loading an animal that is not fit for the journey.

"The new guide has been endorsed by all red meat peak industry councils, Animal Health Australia, Dairy Australia, and other peak industry bodies throughout the value chain.

"This includes the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association, the Australian Livestock & Property Agents Association, and the Australian Livestock Markets’ Association.

To download the guide or to order a hard copy, visit the MLA website.

Farm drainage and reuse incentives for irrigation farmers

Agriculture Victoria invites Expressions of Interest (EOI) from farmers in the Loddon Valley and Torrumbarry Irrigation Areas looking for incentives to construct farm drains and reuse systems on irrigated farms.

Landholders in areas with no direct access to off farm drainage or currently draining to a wetland or area of high conservation value may be eligible for funding.

For more information or to lodge an EOI please contact Kathy Long, Agriculture Victoria on (03) 5482 0429 or

Expressions of interest close on 30 July 2019.

New feeding livestock website

Agriculture Victoria's sheep and beef drought feeding books have gone virtual, alongside a range of online management tools to help farmers respond to drought and dry seasonal conditions.

The books have been a feature of the government’s meat and wool services since the 1980s, and the digital update allows quick access to practical tools for farmers as well as recommended resources to use in conjunction with the information, like EverGraze, Grazfeed and useful spreadsheets.

The website provides image libraries of pasture and grazing crops to help farmers estimate the value of what stock are eating, as well as supplement and ration choice information, hay bale weights and the energy and protein requirements of various cattle and sheep classes.

Climate information, water management and information about unusual feeds are also available, so farmers can calculate dam storage capacity and stock water requirements, as well as learning about the key climate factors that influence Victoria’s seasons.

While the information has been available in the past, the new digital update puts all these resources in one place, able to be updated as weather conditions change, and farming research and technology evolves.

Key features of the website, include;

- tools and calculators

- sheep resources

- beef resources

- climate information

- unusual feeds

- stock water information

Sheep feeding
2019 Victorian Landcare Awards

Nominations are now open for the 2019 Victorian Landcare Awards.

The awards recognise and celebrate the achievement of volunteers making significant contributions to protect, conserve and restore our environment.

There are nine National Landcare Award categories and six Victorian Award categories.

Nominations are encouraged from anyone involved in protecting and improving the environment and natural resource management, they include individuals, groups and organisations, for example:

• Landcare individuals, groups and networks

• Sustainable farmers and professional farming systems groups

• Indigenous landcare groups and individuals

• Urban landcare groups including ‘Friends of’ and bushcare groups

• Coastcare, Rivercare, Dunecare groups and individuals

• Environmental groups

• Natural resource management agencies

• Local government

• Research agencies

• Agricultural co-operatives, industry associations, suppliers or individual primary producers

• Junior Landcare (including day care centres, primary and secondary schools)

• Youth groups including Scouts and Girls Guides

If you’re aware of an individual, group or network that deserves to be recognised, you can find more information, including criteria and how to nominate on the Landcare Awards website.

Nominations close 7 July 2019.

Drought and dry seasons webinar series

The drought and dry seasons phone seminars/webinars which focussed on assisting livestock producers manage farms in drought and dry seasonal conditions were recorded and are now available online:

Establishing a stock containment area
Farm water supply
Livestock feeding and nutrition in dry times
Pasture recovery after rain

Look over the farm gate

Loddon Mallee farmers and communities facing drought and dry conditions can apply for funding under the Look Over the Farm Gate Program.

Look Over the Farm Gate events let  farmers take a break from the farm, reconnect, access professional support and participate in mental health training.

Look over the farm gate cartoon image showing farm dog, light plane, silos, windmill and gate leading to a paddock.

The program encourages community groups to think creatively about what single event or series of events would be most effective.

It could be anything from a barbeque and comedy night, regular fitness meet-ups in the park, or a family movie night.

Look Over the Farm Gate is a mental health and wellbeing initiative funded by the Victorian State Government.

It's managed by the VFF in partnership with the Royal Flying Doctor Service, the Country Women’s Association, the Country Fire Authority, and The National Centre for Farmer Health.

For more information about eligibility and how to apply, visit the website.

Young farmers of Victoria, this is your network!

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.

Young Farmer Network logo
Know your NLIS requirements for lambing season

As lambing season gets underway in Victoria, producers are reminded of National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) sheep and goat requirements that came into effect on 1 January 2017 and encouraged to order their electronic NLIS tags ahead of marking.

Since the introduction of electronic tagging requirements for all sheep and goats born after 1 January 2017, more than 20 million tags have been purchased by producers.

At saleyards, more than 2.8 million sheep have been scanned and uploaded at saleyards to the NLIS database since scanning was made mandatory in March 2018.

Agriculture Victoria’s Michael Bretherton said the new year had marked another important milestone for Victoria’s important transition to electronic identification for sheep and goats.

All sheep and non-exempt goats introduced from interstate born on or after 1 January 2019 must be tagged with an electronic pink post breeder tag before being dispatched from a Victorian property.

“Introduced lambs born after 1 January 2019 require an electronic pink NLIS post-breeder tag before they leave a Victorian property unless they already have an electronic ear tag,” Mr Bretherton said.

“With millions of sheep and lambs expected to be sold at saleyards this year, Victorian producers need to ensure all sheep born after 1 January 2017, regardless of where they were born, are tagged correctly in alignment with the electronic NLIS requirements and the manufacturer’s instructions.”

Interstate producers will need to continue to meet their individual state requirements for tagging and identification of sheep and goats.

2019 electronic NLIS sheep tags are available at subsidised prices from $0.55 per tag.

Producers can purchase up to 110 per cent of electronic tags purchased in 2018 or can order more if there is a genuine business need supported by suitable evidence.

For more information visit or call 1800 678 779 during business hours.

What's On
Balancing the needs of pasture and livestock

When: 9 July
9 am - 3 pm

Where: Cudgewa Football Clubrooms, Tintaldra Road Cudgewa, VIC 3705

Registration: Register online here.


Agriculture Victoria invites farming families to a grazing strategy workshop conducted by Lisa Warn from Lisa Warn Ag Consulting.

Guest presenter: Lisa is an agricultural consultant and researcher with a long history of working in the grazing industries.

She provides a whole farm consultancy service to sheep and beef producers, is a coordinator of BestWool/BestLamb and BetterBeef groups and delivers Grazing Management and Lifetime Ewe Management courses.

She is well known for her research in evaluating grazing systems and pasture persistence, as well as identifying soil constraints to pasture growth.


  • Assessing current state of pastures – do I over sow, re sow or manage the pasture through grazing
  • The principles of grazing management and balancing the needs of pasture and livestock
  • Fertiliser considerations
  • Options if the dry season continues

Please bring: A sample of good and bad pasture from your property for discussion

Catering: Will be provided - please advise of any dietry requirements

If you have any problems registering online, or unable to attend after registering - please contact Livestock Extension Officer, Erica Schelfhorst of Agriculture Victoria on 0429 807 689 or email at

Fox bounty collection continues

Bendigo – Corner Midland Hwy and Taylor Street, Epsom
Monday 8 July & Monday 5 August, 10.30 am – 12.30 pm

Ouyen – Gregory Street, Ouyen
Tuesday 9 July & Tuesday 6 August, 2 – 4 pm

St Arnaud – 4 Montague Street, St Arnaud
Thursday 11 July & Thursday 8 August, 10.30 am – 12.30 pm

Swan Hill – 7 Quin Drive, Swan Hill
Tuesday 9 July & Tuesday 6 August, 8.30 – 10.30 am


The Victorian Government’s fox bounty resumed in March and 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.

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

Australian Ag Immersive Technology Conference

When:  Wednesday 10 and Thursday 11 July

Where:  Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre


The potential of augmented and virtual reality to transform agricultural supply chains will be explored at a new event hosted by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) in collaboration with other Australian Rural Research and Development Corporations (RDCs).

The two-day conference, trade show and think tank, is for all agriculture sectors and along the entire length of each supply chain.

The conference will include more than 40 presentations demonstrating end‐use applications of various mixed reality deployments from both agriculture and non‐agriculture sectors under the following six theme streams:

Tile for Immersive Technology Conference

Theme 1 – Marketing and Consumer messaging
Theme 2 – Engaging with consumers at retail (making choices easier)
Theme 3 – Education and Training
Theme 4 – Manufacturing Operations (and auditing)
Theme 5 – Engineering, Maintenance and Safety
Theme 6 – On‐farm (operations)

The conference is being presented by MLA, with support from other RDCs including, AgriFutures Australia, Australian Eggs, Australian Pork, Australian Wool Innovation, Cotton Research & Development Corporation, Dairy Australia, Forest & Wood Products Australia, Grains Research & Development Corporation, Hort Innovation, Sugar Research Australia and Wine Australia.

Tickets to the conference are $100 and registration is essential. Find out more.

Opportunity for profit workshop
Event Details

When: Tuesday, 16 July
12 – 2.30 pm

Where: Avoca

Registration: To register or for more information, phone (08) 8841 4500, email or visit.


The half day workshops will delve into the results from the GRDC three-year national project investment entitled ‘the integration of profit drivers and technical information for more informed decisions’.

The project was led by Rural Directions Pty Ltd in the southern region, in association with Meridian Agriculture and Macquarie Franklin.

James Hillcoat, of Rural Directions, says the research has benchmarked more than 300 grain businesses nationally to identify what drives profit in each agro-ecological zone and how the provision of technical information links with these profit drivers.

Kate Burke of Think Agri will co-deliver at each location.

GRDC Farm Business Update (Elmore)

18 July
9 am - 1 pm (Doors open at 8:30 am)

Elmore Memorial Hall
63 Hervey Street, Elmore


The GRDC Farm Business Update Events Drive Innovation And Adoption Of Improved Farm Business Management Practices Across The Grains Industry.

Click Here For Speakers & Topics
Click Here To Register

Contact name Jane Foster
Contact email
Contact phone (03) 5441 6176
Contact website.
Cost: $30 per person and $20 for additional attendees

GRDC herbicide behaviour workshops, Victoria

Bendigo - 22 and 23 July
All Seasons Hotel, 171-183 McIvor Hwy, Bendigo VIC 3550

Swan Hill - 17 & 18 September
Swan Hill Club, 5-17 McCallum St, Swan Hill VIC 3585

Mildura - 19 & 20 September
Mildura Golf Resort, 287 Twelfth St, Mildura VIC 3500


When confronted with a range of weed problems and environmental conditions, the challenge is to optimise the results in the field.

Knowing what weeds can be controlled from a herbicide application is the easy bit - it’s on the label.

More challenging questions include;

  • Why do herbicides perform or fail in some situations?
  • Critical comments on the label. Why do they exist and how were they developed?
  • How do adjuvants and water conditioning agents work? What should be used, when and why?
  • How does resistance affect different herbicides?
  • What strategies can be used as resistance emerges?
  • How do residual herbicides work and what influences their breakdown?

These small group workshops will run for 1.5-days. Participant numbers are limited to ensure active participation and discussion. Many previous workshops have ‘sold-out’, so registration is essential to secure your place. While the workshop content is targeted to experienced agronomists, interested growers are welcome to register online here.

Cost is $165 ($150 + GST) per workshop.

VFF Livestock Group annual meeting

24 July
Annual Meeting | 1.30pm - 4.45pm
40th Dinner | 6.30pm - 10.30pm

Silks Function Centre - Bendigo Racecourse


Keynote Speaker: Kevin Sheedy - AFL Legend

Guest Speaker: Jaclyn Symes, Minister for Agriculture
Guest speaker: Jacqueline Baptista – MLA CommunityEngagement Manager

For further details visit: or contact
VFF Member Services on 1300 882 833
RSVP by 17 July 2019

Innovation Generation 2019

22 - 24 July

501 Bourke St
Melbourne, Victoria


Celebrating its 13th year, Innovation Generation has been hosted in six states and territories across Australia and attracted more than 1800 young agricultural enthusiasts.

If you are 18-40 and working in the agriculture industry, Innovation Generation is the one conference you can't afford to miss.

Bringing together award-winning speakers, innovators and industry professionals from across the sector, you will be inspired, challenged and will strengthen your network.

To register, click here.

Breaking New Ground

24 July - 8.30am -1.30pm

Barham, NSW - Western Murray Land Improvement Group


Save the date for a half-day forum exploring the latest information on business management tools and agricultural technology and innovation.

GRDC Grains Research Update

25 July

Moama, NSW
501 Bourke St
Melbourne, Victoria


See and discuss the latest research in the grains sector with presentations regarding how to apply new and relevant information to your farming systems. More information coming...
To register, click here.

15, 16 and 17 October - 3rd Australian Pulse Conference

Please join us on what will be an exciting journey into pulse research and development – linking cutting edge technological research to improved profitability for growers and providing healthy options for human consumption – Taste and Technology.

Call for abstracts are now open, closing 27 June.

Early bird registration closes 8 August.

To register or view the program

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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