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Barwon South-West Ag news
Thursday, 12 March 2020
In this edition
Don't misdiagnose eye cancer
Eye cancer

Dr Jeff Cave                                                                                                                             District Veterinary Officer

There are several eye conditions that cattle can suffer from and one of the most common seen in Hereford or Poll Hereford cattle or white-faced Friesians is eye cancer.

Eye cancer, a tumour on the eyelid or eyeball, is the most common form of cancer in cattle, and in the early stages, can be misidentified as pink-eye.

Eye cancers may cause losses for producers due to condemnation at the abattoir and loss of potential production of affected stock.

The tumour begins as a tiny growth and steadily increases in size and will cause suffering if left unchecked. It may invade surrounding tissues and spread to other parts of the body.

The severity of eye cancers can be reduced by the early identification of growths and prompt action by either seeking veterinary treatment or culling.

The incidence can be reduced by genetic selection by selecting animals with pigmentation in the sclera ‘white’ of the eye and the eyelid.

The course of action that should be followed depends largely upon the size and severity of the cancer. Small eye cancers may be readily cured by prompt veterinary treatment.

However, if the owner elects to cull the affected animal, the following guidelines should be used:

  • If the cancer is smaller than a five-cent piece, clean, and not flyblown, the animal can be sold through a saleyard for slaughter only.
  • If the cancer is sized between a five and 20-cent piece, clean, and not flyblown, the animal can be sold directly to an abattoir only.
  • If the cancer is bleeding, infected, flyblown or larger than a 20-cent piece, the animal should be immediately disposed of on-farm or via a knackery.

Owners who fail to take reasonable action to prevent suffering in their animals may be considered for prosecution under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986.

A photographic guide regarding the course of action that should be followed for different sized eye cancers is available on our website at and search ‘eye cancer in cattle’.

For further information please contact your local veterinarian or an Agriculture Victoria veterinary or animal health officer.

Backing red meat producers with targeted business support

Red meat producers hit by the bushfires can now access free one-on-one support from a local farm management consultant thanks to a partnership between the Victorian Government and Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA).

The ‘Back to Business’ initiative, which is being co-ordinated by Agriculture Victoria with financial support from MLA, will provide fire-affected red meat producers with the expert advice that they need to develop a strategic recovery plan.

Producers will have access to an experienced consultant who has an in-depth understanding of livestock farming systems from an integrated technical and financial perspective.

During the sessions, producers will be given tailored support to assess their current situation, work through the key issues and opportunities, and prioritise what actions to take.

All red meat producers, including sheep, cattle and goat, who have been affected by the recent bushfires are eligible to apply.

This program is one of several activities the Victorian Government is delivering to support farmers to recover from the fires. Visit to find out more.

For more information on the ‘Back to Business’ program or to register your interest, please contact the Victorian state co-ordinator Lyndon Kubeil at Agriculture Victoria on (03) 5761 1649 or

Applications opening for Producer Demo Sites Program

Livestock producer groups interested in running local projects to validate the on-farm benefits of research and development findings are reminded that funding applications open on 1 April.

Meat & Livestock Australia’s (MLA) Producer Demonstration Sites (PDS) program for 2020-21 is open to beef and sheep meat producer groups throughout Australia.

The PDS program includes Levy and Co-Contributor funding options for projects ranging from two years to a maximum of six years.

Preliminary applications for both funding options will be open for six weeks, from 1 April to 12 May 2020.

MLA Program Manager – Adoption, David Packer, said the PDS program aims to increase the rate of adoption of key management practices and technologies that improve business profitability, productivity and sustainability.

“Adoption of research outcomes is absolutely critical to driving practice change on-farm and building resilience and prosperity in the Australian red meat industry,” Mr Packer said.

“The PDS program enables producers to see first-hand the commercial relevance of research outcomes through long-term, hands-on experiential and peer-to-peer learning.

“The program continues to successfully result in evidenced-based practice change that has increased productivity and profitability for the adopting production systems.”

Producer groups wishing to engage in a levy PDS project can apply for up to $25,000 per year, for the length of the project, and producer groups wishing to engage in a Co-Contributor PDS project can apply for up to $50,000 per year, for the length of the project.

“Co-contributor projects require producer investment in the project, which is matched by MLA Donor Company (MDC),” Mr Packer said.

A levy funded PDS comprises:

  • Funding of up to $25,000 per year for the project term (two to six years)
  • A minimum of three sites and ten core producers, though flexibility offered for extensive regions
  • Alignment with the Research Advisory Council PDS priorities, as defined in the Terms of Reference.

A co-contributor funded PDS comprises: 

  • Funding of up to $50,000 per year for the project term (two to six years)
  • Funded by 50 per cent levy, 25 per cent producer cash contribution, and 25 per cent MDC
  • 8 per cent access fee (of total project value)
  • A minimum of three sites and ten core producers, though flexibility offered for extensive regions
  • Alignment with industry targets and priorities as per the Meat Industry Strategic Plan, Beef Industry Strategic Plan, Sheep Industry Strategic Plan and MLA Strategic Plan.

Groups will require a facilitator, experienced in group coordination and extension, monitoring and evaluation of on-farm practice change and communication and reporting, to oversee the demonstration.

The 2020-21 Terms of Reference and levy PDS priorities will be available on the MLA website on 27 March 2020.

For full details, application guidelines and forms, visit

Young Farmers Advisory Council EOI closing soon
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.

Landcare Australia bushfire recovery grants closing soon
Landcare Aust. grants

The Landcare Australia Bushfire recovery grants 2020 program will support Landcare and community environmental groups as well as networks located in bushfire affected areas across Australia.

Applications close tomorrow, Friday, 13 March.

The aim of the program is to support the urgent needs of the Landcare community to restore essential wildlife habitat, shelterbelts and fences, protect our waterways, manage weeds and feral animals, work with Traditional Owner groups and run local community workshops, amongst other recovery activities.

To find out more information click here

Support to assess and manage the impacts of bushfire smoke

Victorian Government is providing a range of measures to support the wine industry following recent bushfires. This comes in addition to the strong investment in programs and services already provided to Victorian wine makers and grape growers.

The Victorian Government will provide a rebate to support growers with the cost of testing for smoke taint from a commercial lab. The rebate is capped at $1200 per grower.

The rebate will be available to Victorian growers for samples submitted between 1 January 2020 and 31 March 2020.

Growers can submit receipts from the testing labs to Agriculture Victoria to receive the rebate.

Grants will be available for growers to access technical decision-making support as a follow up to laboratory testing.

Regional wine associations are also eligible for funding to support group activities, such as sensory panels or technical workshops.

For more information, contact Agriculture Victoria:

Agriculture Victoria currently provides a shuttle service to enable the movement of wine grape samples from phylloxera management zones to designated laboratories for smoke taint testing.

Frozen diagnostic samples will be picked up at regional collection points.

North East collection points

  • Rutherglen: Agriculture Victoria Rutherglen, 124 Chiltern Valley Road.
  • King Valley: Brown Brothers, 239 Milawa-Bobinawarrah Rd, Milawa.

For more information, contact Agriculture Victoria or
North East Victoria – Andy Clark on 0436 804 656 or in southern Victoria – Yan Lai on 0436 830 944.

On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme

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

GMID farmers - use the drought resilience grant to restore your pastures!
Resilience grant

Farmers in the 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.

2020 Fox and Wild Dog Bounty
Fox and wild dog bounty

The Victorian Government’s fox and wild dog bounty has resumed in March 2020.

Effective fox and wild dogs management requires an integrated approach utilising 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.

Benalla collections (fox only) Depot, 89 Sydney Rd, Benalla
Time: 10 am – noon

  • Wednesday, 1 April
  • Wednesday, 29 April
  • Wednesday, 27 May
  • Wednesday, 24 June

Broadford collections (fox only) 5 Mollinson St, Broadford
Time: 10.30 am – 12.30 pm

  • Thursday, 2 April
  • Thursday, 30 April
  • Thursday, 28 May
  • Thursday, 25 June

Ovens collections (fox and wild dog), 5338 Great Alpine Rd, Ovens
Time: 1.30 – 3.30 pm

  • Tuesday, 31 March
  • Tuesday, 28 April
  • Tuesday, 26 May
  • Tuesday, 23 June

Mansfield collections (fox and wild dog), Depot, 128 Highett St, Mansfield
Time: 2 – 4 pm

  • Wednesday, 1 April
  • Wednesday, 29 April
  • Wednesday, 27 May
  • Wednesday, 24 June

Tatura collections (fox only) Depot, 255 Ferguson Rd, Tatura
Time: 11.30 am – 1.30 pm

  • Monday, 30 March
  • Monday, 27 April
  • Monday, 25 May
  • Monday, 22 June

Wodonga collections (fox and wild dog), 14 Moorefield Park Drive, Wodonga
Time: 9 – 11am

  • Tuesday, 31 March
  • Tuesday, 28 April
  • Tuesday, 26 May
  • Tuesday, 23 June

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.

What's on?
NLIS workshop series

Agriculture Victoria is holding practical, hands-on workshops in February and March 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.

The aim was for producers to understand their livestock traceability requirements and how to manage their NLIS database account.

The recent bushfire events across Victoria has demonstrated just how important it is to keep PIC details up-to-date.

Dates and locations (all sessions run from 10 am to 3pm, with lunch provided).

  • Seymour  Friday 13 March at DELWP, 15 Hume and Hovell Road
  • Echuca  Wednesday 25 March at Agriculture Victoria, Corner Ogilvie Ave/Annesley Street.

Plus, if you are unable to attend one of our workshops, there will be a webinar – Monday, 16 and 23 March.

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.

Webinar – Tools for better irrigation scheduling

The next presentation in the climate webinar series for 2020 will focus on irrigation scheduling tools to achieve top yields and water use efficiency.

Rob O'Connor 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 is a Senior Irrigation Extension Officer with Agriculture Victoria.  Rob 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.

Date: Wednesday, 25 March
Time: 12 pm
Duration: 1 hour
Cost: Free
Register to attend

For more information about these webinars, please email

GBCMA event
Free digital workshops for small businesses in regional Victoria
Digital opportunities

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.

  • Kyabram, 6 May from 5.30 – 7.30 pm
  • Shepparton, 26 February from 9 – 11 am

To find out more and to book, click here

To subscribe to Northern 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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