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Gippsland Ag news
Thursday 4 July
In this edition
  • Skilling the next generation of Victorian farmers
  • Virtual Reboot for Livestock Feeding Books
  • Exciting opportunity for export ready food and fibre businesses
  • Extra mental health support for East Gippsland
  • New 'fit to load' guide released
  • What are the risk factors of grass tetany?
  • Milking the Weather, winter 2019
  • On-farm energy grants program
  • Drought and dry seasons support services and information 
  • What's on
Latest News
Skilling the next generation of Victorian farmers
Young farmer promo pic

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.

The 2019 program was recently launched at Kate Kirk’s Bass Coast dairy farm in Loch.

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

Ms Kirk 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 $5,000 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

Virtual reboot for livestock feeding books
livestock webpage

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 were relaunched last week as a set of online practical tools, now available in farmers’ pockets through the Agriculture Victoria website.

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.

Farmers can access the new Feeding Livestock information at

Exciting opportunity for export ready food and fibre businesses
Food and Fibre Gippsland banner

Small to medium food and fibre enterprises in Gippsland have an opportunity to fast track their export plans, with an exciting new support program set to be launched.

With a particular emphasis on access to collaborative online trading platforms and logistics systems that make exporting easier, the Gippsland Connect Programme is for small to medium food and fibre enterprises (SME’s) in the region who are export ready, or near export ready.

The programme will be run by Food & Fibre Gippsland, and there is capacity for up to 20 businesses in the first intake.
Gippsland Connect will support the participating food and fibre businesses in improving their capabilities and increasing their exports.

Running over two years, the programme will be customised to match the individual needs of participating SMEs. It is also anticipated there will be some common support services and that participating businesses will want to tap into.

These support services are likely to include access to collaborative online trading platforms and logistics systems that make exporting easier, market insights from regions that are export targets and access to collaborative marketing and branding across online platforms, third party activities as well as in-country campaigns and activations.

The programme will also have a significant focus on capacity building so businesses are able utilise of all these services as they grow their export volume and reach.

The strategy will include the identification of emerging needs of key export markets, with commercially focused, industry-researched collaboration to address those needs.

That research will then provide market intelligence about export opportunities and facilitation of those opportunities for participating SMEs to access select global supply chains.

For further information and to discuss participant eligibility, please contact Dr Nicola Watts, Interim CEO at Food and Fibre Gippsland. Expressions of Interest should be sent to Dr Nicola Watts by COB Monday 15 July.

Extra mental health support for East Gippsland

People doing it tough across Gippsland because of drought and dry conditions will have extra mental health support as a result of a funding boost announced today.

The funding boost of $395,000, to fund innovative health and wellbeing programs for the community, is part of the Victorian Government’s $1.89 million drought package to support the mental health and wellbeing of drought affected farming communities.

The initiative will be delivered through a Drought Mental Health and Wellbeing Partnership, which is led by Gippsland Lakes Community Health and includes eight key mental health and community organisations.

Organisations will be working together to improve access to services for people who may not usually seek out or have easy access to assistance.

The mental health support aims to provide additional approaches to traditional service-based counselling, so farmers who cannot leave the farm, or those who are isolated and unlikely to seek help, are still supported.

Gippsland Lakes Community Health have offices in Lakes Entrance, Bairnsdale, Bruthen, Metung and Nowa Nowa; they can be contacted on (03) 5155 8300 or at

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.

fit to load

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:

What are the risk factors of grass tetany?

by Dr Jeff Cave, District Veterinary Officer, Wodonga

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.

Milking the Weather, winter 2019
Milking the Weather

The winter edition of Milking the Weather is now available, providing regional round-ups for autumn, seasonal climate outlook summaries, strategies on managing the season ahead and case studies on farmers managing climate risk successfully on their farms.

Milking the Weather reports that the 2019 autumn rainfall deciles across the state, in the main dairy regions, ranged between 2 and 8 but were mostly in the ‘average’ range of 4 to 7.

The lowest deciles of 2–3 indicating a ‘below average’ range were recorded at Shepparton and Kerang (Northern Irrigation District and North East Victoria), East Sale (Macalister Irrigation District) and Yarram (West Gippsland).

The highest decile of 8 indicating ‘an above average’ range was recorded in Corryong (North East Victoria).
Most climate models show tendencies toward a slightly drier or average winter.
Subscribe online to Milking the Weather at

On-farm energy grants program

The on-farm energy grants are available to eligible primary producers until March 2020 or until available funding is exhausted (whichever comes first). Apply early so you don’t miss out.

Grants will be provided on a “dollar for dollar” cash co-contribution basis. Recipients are required to contribute at least 50 per cent of the total cash costs of the project.

You will need an on-farm energy assessment, or an equivalent certified on-farm energy assessment conducted in the past two years, to access one of the grants under the Agriculture Investment Energy Plan (AEIP).

More information about the program is available at

Drought and dry seasons support services and information
One-on-one assistance

Have you dropped into our offices at Bairnsdale, Maffra or Swifts Creek lately?

Did you know you can make an appointment to talk to a staff member about a pasture recovery grant, drought assistance and technical workshops in the region?

You can also make a time to have a one-on-one consultation.

You will find us at:

  • 574 Main Street, Bairnsdale (same place as the DELWP office)
  • 1 Stratford Road, Maffra
  • 13 McMillan Avenue, Swifts Creek (same place as the DELWP office)

As always you can also get more information, tools and advice online at or call us 136 186.

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.

Look over the farm gate
Look over the farm gate

Look Over the Farm Gate grants are still open for farmers and communities facing drought and dry conditions across central and eastern Gippsland and northern Victoria.

Community groups in drought affected communities can apply online for grants of $1,500 to run events that address mental health and wellbeing.

Look Over the Farm Gate is a mental health and wellbeing initiative funded by the Victorian Government (drought support funding committed in September 2018), and managed by the Victorian Farmers Federation in partnership with the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Country Women’s Association, Country Fire Authority, and National Centre for Farmer Health.

Applications are assessed on a first in best dressed basis.
For more information and how to apply visit or to contact the coordinator

What's on
Fox and wild bounty collections
When and where:


Ellinbank (fox/wild dog) – Monday 15 July, 2 pm to 4 pm at 1301 Hazeldean Road, Ellinbank

Bairnsdale (fox/wild dog) – Tuesday 16 July, 12 noon to 2 pm at 35 Dargo Road, Bairnsdale

Maffra (fox/wild dog) – Wednesday 17 July, 9 am to 11 am, 1 Stratford Road, Maffra

Yarram (foxes only) – Wednesday 17 July, 2 pm to 4 pm, Rodgers Street, Yarram


The Victorian Government’s fox bounty resumed in March.

Agriculture Victoria has collection sites in Gippsland in July, September and October.

Eligible participants can submit entire fox scalps for a $10 reward.

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

Innovation Generation 2019
Innovation generation
When and where:

Monday 22 July – Wednesday 24 July

Mercure Ballarat Hotel and Convention Centre


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 to 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.

Further information at To register, click here.

Irrigator Drought Forum

About 30 farmers attended an irrigator drought forum at the Newry Hall in the Macalister Irrigation District on 27 June. Panellists and local farmers Jon Ryan, Peter Neaves and Benn Thexton shared their insights on lessons learned in the past 12 months and what they might do differently next season.

Jon, Peter and Benn
When and where:

Wednesday 24 July
10.45am – 12.30pm

Followed by free BBQ lunch.

Newry Hall
139 Main Street,


Join Jon, Peter and Benn when they return to the Newry Hall on Wednesday 24 July for the second of this two-part forum.

For registations and further information, contact the Agriculture Victoria Irrigation Team at Maffra on (03) 5147 0800.

East Gippsland Beef Conference
Better Beef logo

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

When and where:

Tuesday 13 August
Bairnsdale Sporting and Recreation Centre


Full program details and bookings are available on Eventbrite.

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

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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