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Barwon South-West Ag news
Thursday, 11 July 2019
In this edition
  • Ambitious new technology trial now open
  • Farmer pleads guilty to animal cruelty charges
  • Expressions of interest for small scale pig and poultry producer workshops
  • Fox and wild dog bounty in North East and Goulburn Broken​
  • What's on?
  • Save-the-date
Ambitious new technology trial now open
Technology in the field

An innovative trial testing the potential of Internet of Things technology on farms is now open to Victorian horticulture, dairy, sheep and grains farmers.

The trial will support Victorian farmers to investigate and capitalise on the opportunities of digital technology, putting themselves – and Victorian agriculture – at the forefront of farming innovation.

Embracing digital agriculture has the potential to boost the value of Australia’s agricultural production by $20.3 billion, with Internet of Things technology – making appliances ‘smart’ by connecting them to each other via the internet – at the heart of this growth.

The Internet of Things technology will allow farmers to gather on-farm data from embedding sensors on devices such as soil moisture probes, weather stations and silo storage monitors.

Over the next two years, Agriculture Victoria will partner with hundreds of farms in the trial across four regions: dairy in Maffra, grains in Birchip, sheep in Serpentine and horticulture in Tatura.

The program is now encouraging farmers who want to take a low-risk approach to investing in new technology to apply for the program and trial new devices that could boost their farm’s efficiency and productivity.

In the first round of the trial, eligible farmers will have access to grants of up to $30,000 to cover up to two-thirds of the cost of acquiring Internet of Things technology from a catalogue of products put together for the trial.

Recently four Agriculture Victoria industry technology coordinators were appointed to support farmers to select technologies that best match the needs of their business.

The trial is part of the Government’s Connecting Victoria Program which aims to improve digital connectivity and usability for rural and regional Victoria.

Farmers interested in taking part in this exciting new trial can submit their expression of interest at Expressions of interest close on 2 August.

Farmer pleads guilty to animal cruelty charges

A cattle farmer from Mooroopna North was recently convicted of animal cruelty charges in the Shepparton’s Magistrates Court for failing to appropriately care for his cattle.

The farmer pleaded guilty to two charges of aggravated cruelty, three cruelty charges, and two charges of failing to comply with notices under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986.

The farmer received a conviction and was fined $12,500.

Agriculture Victoria District Veterinary Officer Hannah Delahunty said the farmer had received a warning letter from Agriculture Victoria for a single similar offence occurring a few months earlier.

The magistrate said the inaction in response to the investigation was extraordinary and the farmer failed to meet his obligations, resulting in his animals’ suffering.

Dr Delahunty said all farmers have a responsibility to maintain Victoria’s reputation in farming practices and the livestock industry.

“Throughout the period of offending, these cattle continued to suffer and were not provided with appropriate treatment, leaving no alternative for Agriculture Victoria officers but to euthanize several cattle that were severely injured,” Dr Delahunty said.

“This case serves as a strong reminder that it is an offence for livestock owners to fail to provide for their livestock’s welfare.”

Expressions of interest for small scale pig and poultry producer workshops
Piglets image

Agriculture Victoria will host a series of free workshops to help new and existing small-scale pig and poultry producers prepare a land use planning permit application.

Please note: Only attending participants will be eligible for the supporting grants program of up to $3000 for expenses related to on-farm works, consultancy, or training that supports the preparation of a land use planning permit application.

Expressions of interest for workshops that will run from 9 am – 3 pm and be held in locations determined by registrations of interest.

Preferably 12 - 16 properties required to host a workshop.

To assist us hold a workshop in a convenient location to you – please register your interest via the website below.

Lunch will be provided, so please indicate any dietary allergies on registering.

These workshops will advise producers on:

  • planning requirements
  • property development, locality and nutrient management plans and
  • identification of site improvements needed to support their planning permit application.

Pre-workshop preparation - Agriculture Victoria may contact registered participants to determine property specific details prior to the workshop. This will allow us to provide participants with farm maps and/or aerial images.

To register your interest in attending a workshop go to Eventbrite at

For more information please contact  Ann McDowell on 0436 934 343 or

Young farmers of Victoria, this is your network!
YFBN image

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 at:

Fox and wild dog bounty in North East and Goulburn Broken
Fox image

The Victorian Government’s fox and wild dog bounty has resumed and will continue in the North-East and Goulburn Broken regions until October.

Eligible participants can submit entire fox scalps for a $10 reward during scheduled collection times.

North East and Goulburn Broken Victoria

Tatura (Fox only) – 255 Ferguson Road, Tatura
Monday 22 July, 11.30 – 1.30pm

Wodonga (Fox and wild dog) – 14 Moorefield Park Drive, Wodonga Tuesday 23 July, 9 – 11am

Ovens (Fox and wild dog) 5338 Great Alpine Road, Ovens
Tuesday 23 July, 1.30 – 3.30pm

Benalla (Fox only) – 89 Sydney Road, Benalla
Wednesday 24 July, 10am – 12 noon

Mansfield (Fox and wild dog) 128 Highett Street, Mansfield
Wednesday 24 July, 2 – 4pm

Broadford (Fox only) – 5 Mollinson Street, Broadford
Thursday 25 July, 10.30am – 12.30pm

For full details on bounty collection go to the Agriculture Victoria website,, or call the Customer Service Centre on 136 186.

Rural Press Club awards open for entries
RPC of Victoria

The Rural Press Club of Victoria 2019 Rural and Regional Journalism and Photography Awards showcase and recognise the best journalism and photography across the State, and highlight media outlets that have inspired change in their communities.

Journalists and photographers enter their best work and also compete for the prestigious Journalist and Photographer of the Year titles.

Each newspaper, radio station and TV station also compete for the Media Outlet of the Year award, which is hotly contested.

This year’s gala awards night will be held on Friday, 23 August to recognise the best work published from July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019.

The awards are open to all journalists, photographers and media outlets in Victoria and Tasmania.

Journalists and photographers can enter the awards from June 24 - July 19.

To enter the awards, you need to be a member of the Rural Press Club of Victoria.

Visit the Rural Press Club of Victoria website for more details.

FREE sheep faecal egg count tests

Sheep producers are being urged to submit worm samples for an AWI research trial to validate a more sensitive worm test.

They are asked to collect dung samples from a mob of wormy sheep on the day of drenching, then again 14 days after the drench.

Producers who submit worm samples will receive the results from the traditional faecal egg count (FEC) test for free, saving them hundreds of dollars.

For more information contact or call (02) 4655 6464.

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 the following local government areas: Benalla,Campaspe, East Gippsland, Gannawarra, Greater Bendigo, Greater Shepparton, Loddon, Moira, Strathbogie, Swan Hill, Wellington, Northern Grampians, Mildura, Wodonga, Alpine, Hindmarsh, Yarriambiack, Towong, Buloke, Horsham, and Indigo.

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

Energy grants for agriculture - apply now

The on-farm energy grants are available to eligible farmers 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, and recipients are required to contribute at least 50 per cent of the total cash costs of the project.

Grants are available to eligible farm businesses for projects that achieve energy efficiency or provide the business with energy productivity improvements to support longer-term sustainability.

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).

Apply for an on-farm energy assessment or an on-farm energy grant online at

Look Over the Farm Gate grants
Over the gate tile

Farmers and communities facing drought and dry conditions across northern and north west Victoria should apply now for funding under the Look Over the Farm Gate Program.

Look Over the Farm Gate events are an opportunity for farmers to take a break from the farm, reconnect with their community, access professional support and participate in mental health training.

You know what your community needs, so we encourage 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 Government 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 still being accepted for events and are assessed on a first in best dressed basis.

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

What's on?
Omeo field tour and information day - Ground cover and feed crops in dry times

Southern Farming Systems, Benambra, Dinner Plain, Omeo Landcare and Agriculture Victoria have combined to hold a ‘Ground cover and feed crops in dry times’ field tour and information day at Omeo on Thursday, 25 July from 9.45 am to 3.45 pm.

The day will include:

  • Pasture assessments
  • Perennial pastures
  • Annual crops
  • Five farm walks
  • Cropping trials
  • Panel discussion
  • Plus, agronomists and seed suppliers in attendance.

The day will start with paddock walks across four properties to discuss crops – discussing what has worked, what hasn’t, then finish at Omeo Footy Club rooms for a panel discussion on seed varieties and how to run cropping trials. Lunch will be provided.

RSVP to Natalie Jenkins on (03) 5152 0612 or

Pasture drought recovery workshops in north east

TAFCO is to hold a series of two-day workshops to assist regional farmers manage pastures in drought.

Soil health scientist Cath Botta and agronomists Sue Briggs and Mark Palmer will be presenting at the two-day workshops.

Day one will include a visit to a nearby farm and an inspection of a soil pit, (subject to weather), hands on pH testing of your property's soil, developing a soil sampling plan for your business, and how to establish a paddock renovation plan including how to select the right pasture for the right situation.

If you want to participate in the pH testing, please bring along two buckets of soil, one from your best performing paddock and the other from your worst performing paddock.

Day two will consist of soil test interpretation based on your own properties soil analysis, ground cover and pasture management including species selection and grazing management to achieve persistence and maximize utilisable dry matter.

Cost is $20 per property and includes soil pH testing, a minimum of one free soil sample and one tissue sample per property, and lunch on both days.

Where and when

  • Running Creek, Monday 15 July and 19 August at St. Albans Hall, 5456 Kiewa Valley Highway, 9 am-4 pm
  • Cheshunt, Tuesday 16 July and 20 August at The Oven, 451 King Valley Road, 9 am-4 pm
  • Whorouly, Monday 22 July and 21 August, REMEL 185, 399 Whorouly Road, 9 am-4 pm

Participants may nominate to attend any of the second round of workshops.

These workshops are supported by Agriculture Victoria and Farming and Community Group Drought Funding Program.

To register, please contact TAFCO on 5752 1800 or to book your place.

2019 Stonefruit Research Roadshow
Stonefruit image

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

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 at Bundoora.

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 7.00 pm, Tuesday, 13 August, Renmark Hotel, Murray Avenue, Renmark, SA
  • Swan Hill at 7.00 pm, Wednesday, 14 August, Murray Downs Golf and Country Club, Murray Downs Drive, Murray Downs, NSW
  • Cobram at 7.00 pm, Thursday, 15 August, Grand Central Hotel, 36 Punt Road.

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

Australian Sheep and Wool Show - 19 to 21 July, Bendigo

The 142nd Australian Sheep and Wool Show will be held over three days at the Prince of Wales Showground, 42-72 Holmes Rd, Bendigo, Victoria.

For full event details please visit

Dairy seasonal updates - the Murray regional outlook for 2019-20
Dairy cows

Gear up for next season with expert analysis of the latest market, climate and water outlooks, and what this means for dairy businesses in the Murray region.

Farmers and service providers are invited to sessions throughout July for an update on:

  • Global and national milk price settings
  • Supply and demand for hay and grain
  • Climate indicators
  • Seasonal water determinations
  • Scenario planning.

Monday, 22 July

  • Echuca Hotel at 7.00 am includes breakfast
  • Cohuna NDCHS at 10.45 am includes lunch
  • Kyabram Fauna Park Education Centre, 6.45 pm includes dinner.

Tuesday, 23 July

  • Shepparton Park Lake, Room 1 at 7.00 am includes breakfast
  • Numurkah Recreation Reserve at 10.45 am includes lunch.

Wednesday, 24 July

  • Finley RSC at 10.45 am includes lunch
  • Wodonga Clubhouse Bar and Bistro at 6.45 pm includes dinner.

There is no cost to attend these events, but RSVP's are essential.

For further information or to RSVP please contact: Murray Dairy on (03) 5833 5312 or

Sheepvention - 4 to 6 August, Hamilton
Sheep and lamb

Sheepvention, one of the largest farming events held in Victoria, will commence on Sunday, 4 until Tuesday, 6 August at the Hamilton Showgrounds. Sheepvention brings together farming, competition, entertainment and fashion, with a bit of local produce thrown into the mix.

Visit the Agriculture Victoria at sites 76 and 77 and 87 - 90.

For full event details please visit

Innovation Generation
Innovation Generation image

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

This event will be at Mercure Ballarat Hotel and Convention Centre on July 22-24.

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.

To register go to

Grey box grassy woodlands wander

Join Paul Foreman, a field botanist and ecologist, on this visit around the significant grassy woodland sites of Murchison on Tuesday 10 September at 9:30 am.

Meeting place: Murchison Golf Club

A light lunch will be provided on the day.

Please bring sturdy walking shoes, a drink, hat and writing materials.

To register your interest please contact Carolena on 0408 618 204 or

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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

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.


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