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Gippsland Ag news
Thursday 27 February, 2020
In this edition
Latest news
Assessing the water needs of rainfed dairy farms

Dairy farmers will now be able to fully assess their on-farm water requirements with the assistance of a new booklet available from Agriculture Victoria.

‘Securing water for a rainfed dairy farm’ takes producers through the critical steps of farm water planning and encourages them to assess how much on-farm water they have and how long it will last over a prolonged dry period.

Agriculture Victoria Dairy Extension Officer Benita Kelsall said the booklet provides producers with the tools they need to inspect their water storages and encourages them to plan ahead for peak demands from livestock.

“Knowing your stock drinking water requirements and potential sources of water are important for planning both annual and daily supply needs.

“When dam levels are quite low, water quality can be quite poor, which in turn can affect livestock health,” Ms Kelsall said.

Other strategies examined in the booklet include the many licensing considerations that need to be taken into account when identifying alternative water supplies.

“Conserving water will also help to delay potential water shortages if dam water is used. 

“However, if producers are considering alternative water sources they should take into account that it takes time to obtain relevant permissions.   

“Other strategies such as fixing leaking troughs and pipes, recycling water in the dairy for yard cleaning, reducing flow rates on platform sprays in rotary sheds, providing shade for stock and consolidating water in deeper dams can all help.

“Planning ahead allows producers to map out their water needs for six to twelve months or longer, particularly if there is little or no runoff expected,” she said.

'Securing Water for a rainfed dairy farm’ has been produced by Agriculture Victoria in partnership with GippsDairy. 

Ms Kelsall said that as well as providing strategies for longer-term planning options, the booklet provides a process that can be worked through when faced with an immediate water crisis such as running out of water in the short-term.

The booklet also identifies where a license may be needed, and which agency should be consulted. It has a focus on rainfed dairy systems outside irrigation districts.

For a copy contact Benita Kelsall at Agriculture Victoria on (03) 5624 2218 or download a copy from the Agriculture Victoria website at

Farmers with stock water supplies affected by fires can contact Agriculture Victoria for advice on 136 186. Information is also available on the Agriculture Victoria website at

For more information about managing farms through drought and dry seasonal conditions contact Agriculture Victoria on 136 186 or visit

Apply dairy effluent before winter

Sarah Clack, Dairy Extension Officer

As winter approaches, now is the time to ensure the farm’s effluent ponds are emptied before the possible wet winter months. Utilising the nutrients contained in the dairy effluent can provide a boost to autumn pasture growth.

All dairy farmers are required by legislation to keep dairy effluent on-farm and out of waterways.

Ensuring your ponds are empty before winter will assist you to manage your effluent system with more ease over the wet months.

Effluent systems are generally designed to have the storage ponds empty going into the wetter months of the year. These are the months when rainfall exceeds evaporation making conditions unsuitable for effluent application due to increased risk of nutrient run off and waterlogging.

In West and South Gippsland this is generally eight to nine months starting in March and finishing October or November, depending on your location. For drier areas of Gippsland it will be for five to seven months starting in May and finishing in October or November.

Effluent is a valuable source of nutrients containing large amounts of nitrogen and potassium along with smaller concentrations of a number of other nutrients. Ideally effluent should be tested to understand the amount of nutrient being applied.

Average figures are available, however, there is significant variation in nutrient concentration between farms and seasons.

This is due to a number of factors including herd size, milk production, amount of time spent on yards, water use in the dairy, catchment area contributing rainfall to the system and the length of time which has passed since the ponds were last cleaned out.

The nutrient contribution from the applied effluent should be factored into the farm nutrient budget and fertiliser application should be altered accordingly on paddocks where effluent has been applied.

For best response rates, effluent should be applied to actively growing pastures or crops.

Be mindful that effluent often has a high salt content making it unsuitable for application on germinating seedlings.

Post application pastures should not be grazed for at least three weeks to allow the plants to utilise the available nitrogen applied and reduce the potential risk of pathogens the effluent may contain.

If possible, apply effluent to areas of the farm with lower soil fertility. Regularly rotate the areas where effluent is applied and undertake regular soil testing to monitor nutrient levels and avoid excessive accumulation of nutrients.

For more information please visit

If you would like to discuss effluent management, please contact your local Dairy Extension Officer at Leongatha on (03) 5662 9900, Ellinbank on (03) 5624 2222 or Maffra on (03) 5147 0800.

Nuturing Victoria's native food industry

The Victorian Government will partner with the Federation of Victoria Traditional Owner Corporations to support the development of a native food and botanicals industry in Victoria and support local jobs.

Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes this week launched the Djakitjuk Djanga program, which will offer Aboriginal Victorian-owned businesses and organisations grants of up to $200,000 to help establish or expand commercial native plant production.
Djakitjuk Djanga is a Dja Dja Wurrung term that means “Country’s food.”

The program will help Victoria to capitalise on the strong interest in the use of Australian native plants like wattles, native greens, fruits and herbs in cooking, as well as the use of botanicals for cosmetics and personal care products.

However, with only a small number of Australia’s edible and botanical plants in commercial production, the industry remains in its early stages.

Funding under the Djakitjuk Djanga program can be used to hire staff, build technical expertise, or invest in stock, seeds and equipment.

The program will also promote the industry, support future research and help people involved in Native food production share their ideas with people interested in getting involved.

The program guidelines are now available, with applications open from Wednesday 4 March. For more information, visit

Pre lambing new predator control options

Agriculture Victoria’s BestWool/BestLamb network is hosting a predator management webinar/phone seminar next week with the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions featuring some of the newest control tools available.

Project Leader Sheep Industry Development Alison Desmond said the webinar/phone seminar would draw on the knowledge of National Wild Dog Management co-ordinator Greg Mifsud.

“Greg has extensive experience working with farmers and communities on collaborative approaches to the management of predators and dealing with the impact on business and community wellbeing,” Ms Desmond said.

The one-hour online webinar/phone seminar will be used to discuss collaborative approaches to dealing with predator management.

Participants can join in via an online portal or listen to the audio on their landline or mobile phones.

“Wild dog and fox management strategies are most successful when a cooperative management plan is developed between landowners and land managers, as these animals do not recognise fences or borders,” Ms Desmond said.

“It is an important first step to scope the target, developing a plan of action, practicing that action plan and evaluating the success of those actions,” she said.

The webinar will feature an overview of ox ecology, the impact of predators on lambing percentages and farm business, applying best practice baiting techniques on farm, the use of Canid Pest Ejectors (CPEs), working dog safety and smart phone apps.

The seminar is taking place on Thursday 5 March from 7.30 pm.

Participants can join the online portal or listen to the audio via their landline or mobile.

Please register for the event by visiting .

If you have trouble registering online or need more information contact Tess McDougall on or 0409 841 492.

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.

The On-Farm Drought Resilience Grant Program

This program is now open to assist eligible farm businesses to invest in on-farm drought preparedness and to seek business advice.

A grant of up to $5000 (GST exclusive) per farm business is available to assist eligible farm businesses to implement on-farm infrastructure improvements and or undertake business planning and advice activities.

The Scheme is available to eligible farm businesses in the local government shires of Wellington and East Gippsland.

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.

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.

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
Drought drop-in this Friday – East Gippsland Livestock Exchange
Event Details


Friday 28 February
9.15 – 11 am

East Gippsland Livestock Exchange, Bairnsdale


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.

Gippsland Irrigation Expo – next week
Event Details

Wednesday 4 March
10 am – 4 pm

Sale Showgrounds
1 Maffra-Sale Road


The Gippsland Irrigation Expo is on again.

Come along to the Sale Showgrounds next Wednesday 4 March from 9 am to 3 pm (1 Maffra-Sale Road).

An expo for both exhibitors and irrigators!

Organised by Agriculture Victoria with support from the Shire of Wellington


...and after the expo, join the tour of the Macalister Irrigation District
Event Details

Thursday 5 March
10 am – 3 pm

Bus tour departs Agriculture Victoria
1 Stratford Road

RSVP essential; BYO lunch

Contact: James Paulet on 0447 695 839


Jump on the bus and join us for a tour of the Macalister Irrigation District.

A variety of on-farm irrigation technology will be showcased on this free tour around the Macalister Irrigation District next Thursday.

To secure your place on the bus, contact James Paulet on 0447 695 839 or at

Best practice predator management seminar
Event Details

Thursday 5 March
7.30 – 9 pm


Register here


Topics covered:

  • Overview of fox and wild dog ecology
  • Impact of predators on lambing percentages and farm business
  • Applying best practice fox and wild dog baiting techniques on farm
  • Using Canid Pest Ejectors – the ‘new control tools on the block’
  • Working dog safety and baiting
  • Using PestSmart and Feral Scan applications for the management of vertebrate pests

To register click here or for more information about managing a livestock enterprise, call Agriculture Victoria on 136 186 or visit the Agriculture Victoria website at

Traceability and NLIS Database Management – Producer webinar
Two-part webinar

Monday 15 March
8 – 9 pm

Monday 22 March
8 – 9 pm


Register here


Agriculture Victoria is conducting this interactive two-part webinar to assist Victorian livestock producers to use the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) database to complete transactions, including Property-to-Property (P2P) transfers.

This two-part webinar is relevant to cattle, sheep and goat producers.

All sheep and goats and cattle tagged with an EID NLIS tag must be transferred on the NLIS database when they are moved between two different Victorian Property Identification Codes (PICs).

This interactive two-part webinar will walk producers through setting up and using the NLIS database.


  • Setting up, navigating and using the NLIS database
  • Management of livestock movements onto your property
  • Property to Property (P2P) transfers on the NLIS database.

If you have any problems with registering online please call (03) 5761 1647.

To subscribe to Gippsland Ag News

Click here

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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