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Barwon South-West Ag news
Thursday, 13 February 2020
In this edition
Looking after your best work-mate - dogs on utes
dog on ute

Dr Jeff Cave
District Veterinary Officer

There is no argument that working dogs are an enormous asset to farmers and it stands to reason, if your dog travels on the back of your ute, you need to take extra care to avoid exposing it to heat stress on hot days.

While it is legal to allow appropriately restrained dogs to travel on the back of utes, dogs left in the sun for long periods can quickly dehydrate or even die from heat stress.

Adequate shelter, for example a fixed canopy, needs to be provided to protect tethered dogs from extreme temperatures.

A lot of utes and tray backs these days are made of metal and will heat up quickly and could easily burn dogs’ paws. It is now a requirement to ensure metal floors in utes are covered on a hot day.

Ensure dogs kept in cages have adequate ventilation, particularly when the vehicle is not moving, and ensure all dogs are given regular access to cool water.

Victoria’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act requires dogs travelling in the back of utes, trailers or open tray trucks to be tethered or caged in a manner that prevents them from falling from the vehicle. The only exemption is when dogs are actively working livestock.

The tether should only be long enough to permit the dog to stand, lie down and move about but not so long that it could potentially let the dog fall off the vehicle and be dragged or strangled.

Tethering dogs should always be regarded as a temporary, short term method of restraint.

For further advice please contact the RSPCA, your local veterinarian or Agriculture Victoria veterinary or animal health officer, or in NSW your Local Land Services.

Best use of your water allocation this autumn
Irrigation water

Sarah Clack
Dairy Extension Officer

Together with water allocations not reaching 100 per cent and the resulting high temporary water costs, there is a greater necessity to use water effectively and efficiently this autumn.

Each farm business will have differing water resources. With this, decisions will be made on how best to use this valuable resource based on an individual’s situation, skills and requirements.

The amount of irrigation water available will impact on the timing of sowing, the area sown at a given time and also what is sown.

There will be a number of questions you may be asking:

  • How much water do I have?
  • How much water do I use in a normal season?
  • Is purchasing water an option? If yes, how much is available?
  • How much feed do I require and when?
  • What are the alternative feeds available, either on-hand or available for purchase?

The time of first irrigation or irrigation start-up will impact the number of irrigations required for the pasture or crop and therefore how much water will be needed.

The earlier in the autumn the irrigation start up the more irrigations will be required.

The first irrigation typically uses 1.5 ML/ha with subsequent irrigations requiring 0.5 ML/ha, depending on soil type and irrigation layout.

The table illustrates the typical number of irrigations required for autumn sown pastures at different start up times, the anticipated yield under dry, average or wet conditions, and the additional t DM grown for each ML of water applied.

The pasture growth figures are for a well-managed ryegrass pasture.

Depending on the season, the number of irrigations could vary by one or two more if dry or less if wet.

It is a balance between water available and feed demands with later start up dates increasing the time until the first grazing due to cooler temperatures and reduced daylight hours.

If sowing in mid-March, it may be reasonable to expect first grazing to occur six to eight weeks post sowing while for a pasture sown in early June first grazing may not occur until 8-12 weeks post sowing.

Staggering irrigation start-up helps to develop a feed wedge by having the growth stage staggered and helps to reduce the impact of weather conditions for example a heat event or water logging from a rainfall directly after irrigation.


Ensure you get the basics right to get the best establishment possible. Consider sowing depth, good soil seed contact, nutrient management, pest control and grazing management. Depending on your water availability and risk you may carry over water for one to two irrigations to ensure spring growth.

An easy to use Water Budgeting Tool can be found here on the Dairy Australia website:

Water hyacinth - don't buy, sell or give it away
Water hyacinth

Water hyacinth is a highly invasive weed that is choking lakes, rivers and water ways around the world and Agriculture Victoria is encouraging Victorians to report it to prevent it from taking hold in Victoria.

Water hyacinth may look pretty but has a well-deserved reputation for being the world’s worst water weed.

An advertising campaign, ’Water hyacinth – don’t buy, sell or give it away’, targets the illegal buying or selling of the State prohibited weed - the highest category of declared noxious weeds in Victoria.

The campaign will run on social media and online advertising sites in English, Mandarin, Khmer and Vietnamese.

Agriculture Victoria Biosecurity Manager – High Risk Invasive Plants, Angela Constantine said water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), was very harmful in aquatic environments.

Ms Constantine said water hyacinth could rapidly affect water quality, native aquatic plants and fish, and have an impact on recreational activities such as fishing and boating.

“We are asking people, if they see water hyacinth, to contact Agriculture Victoria and we will remove it before it can spread further,” Ms Constantine said.

It is illegal to buy, sell, display, propagate or transport State prohibited weeds.

Ms Constantine said in recent years Agriculture Victoria had prosecuted people for selling water hyacinth on Facebook and Gumtree.

“It’s important to know what you are buying, selling, or giving away,” she said.

Last financial year, Agriculture Victoria detected 21 cases of water hyacinth being traded online, and nine of these were in Victoria.

Ms Constantine said water hyacinth was easier to recognise during summer when it was flowering.

“Water hyacinth can be identified by its distinctive mauve flower and bulbous spongy stems,” Ms Constantine said.

“It is often kept for its very attractive flower, but owners may be unaware of the profound threat it poses.

“In just one season, a single plant can produce more than 3000 seeds that can survive for more than 20 years.”

If you see or have any water hyacinth, or any other State prohibited weed, report it to the Agriculture Victoria Customer Service Centre on 136 186 or

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

The On-farm Drought Resilience Grant Program
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 $5,000 (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 Goulburn Murray Irrigation District. Eligible irrigation farm businesses, including those that have transitioned from irrigation production systems to dryland production since 1 July 2018, located in the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District (GMID).

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.

Look Over the Farm Gate grants

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?

Agriculture Victoria will cancel workshops on Code Red fire danger days

Cudgewa workshop - Pasture recovery after fires
Pasture Regrowth

Agriculture Victoria is inviting producers to attend a workshop on pasture recovery after fires.

This workshop is being held in response to the significant grazing area lost in the recent North East fires.

Assessing the likelihood of pasture survival, the need for its specific management or pasture renovation are important recovery considerations.

An understanding of ruminant nutrition and feed budgeting are also essential when a farm loses significant grazing areas to fire, due to an increased reliance on supplementary feeding.

Topics to be covered include

• Pasture species survival after fire

• Ruminant nutrition requirements and feed budgeting

• Pasture species and variety options for 2020:
     - annual, short term and cereals and perennial species

Presenters - Agriculture Victoria extension staff and industry pasture specialists.

Location - Cudgewa Football and Netball Clubrooms, Cudgewa Valley Road, Cudgewa

Date and time - Tuesday, 25 February, 9.45 am to 2.00 pm, morning tea and lunch provided.

Registration is essential for catering purposes. Please register by Saturday 22 February through Eventbrite:

If you are unable to register online or would like more information, please contact Ian Gamble, Agriculture Victoria Rutherglen on (02) 6030 4528 or

This activity is supported by North East CMA, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and Agriculture Victoria.

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).

  • Dookie - Friday 28 February at University of Melbourne, 940 Dookie/Nalinga Road, Dookie
  • Seymour - Friday 13 March at DELWP, 15 Hume and Hovell Road, Seymour
  • Echuca - Wednesday 25 March at Agriculture Victoria, Corner Ogilivie Ave/Annesley Street, Echuca

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.

Agricultural technology: pushing your water further

Agriculture Victoria is hosting a two-day workshop on strategically maximising every megalitre of water applied on Thursday and Friday 5 and 6 March.

With current dry conditions and increasing seasonal variability, many farmers are looking at ways to manage their water more efficiently. Hear how other farmers are utilising agricultural technology to assist in pushing their water further.

Topics and presenters

Day 1

  • Future Climate – Graeme Anderson, Agriculture Victoria. What does climate modelling tell us about our future climate?
  • Complementary Forage Systems - Prof. Sergio ‘Yani’ Garcia, University of Sydney. Improving your on-farm productivity and profitability by increasing forage yield and maximising milk from home grown feed whilst potentially reducing economic risk.
  • Irrigate or Not - Damian Jones, Irrigated Cropping Council. Discussing likely return on water invested using some of the available tools.
  • Farm Visit – Examine how technology has enabled farmers to better target water application.

Day 2

  • Pivot Assessment - Nick O’Halloran, Agriculture Victoria. Pivot assessments in the Shepparton Irrigation Region – driving production, irrigation uniformity and energy efficiency.
  • Soil Moisture Monitoring - Dale Boyd, Agriculture Victoria. How real time data can inform decisions including sowing programs and in-crop fertiliser application.
  • Farmer Panel Hear from other farmers and gain insights into how they have been utilising technology, the benefits they have found, and the issues they have identified.
  • Digital Agriculture - Andy Clark, Agriculture Victoria How the integration of digital technology can provide farmers with information and the ability to seize opportunities for growth.

Location, dates and times

This workshop will be held at Agriculture Victoria Tatura, 255 Ferguson Rd, Tatura.

Day 1 Thursday, 5 March
9:45 am - 3:00 pm
Morning talks followed by farm tour returning to Tatura by 3 pm

Day 2 Friday, 6 March
9:45 am – 2:00 pm
Morning tea and lunch included both days

To register or for more information please contact Richard Smith on (03) 5833 5214 or

Agriculture Victoria’s 2020 climate webinar series
Climate webinar series

What do you know about the Bureau’s new regional climate guides?

The next presentation in the climate webinar series for 2020 will look inside the regional project, on Monday 24 February at 12 pm.

The new regional climate guides aim to help farmers understand and manage their climate risk by providing regionally focused climate and weather summaries that detail historical observations and trends using information available from local Bureau of Meteorology weather stations.

To register go to

For more information or to subscribe to stay up-to-date with these upcoming climate webinars visit: or contact Heather Field on 5336 6607 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.


Follow us on Twitter @VicGovAg


Subscribe to the Agriculture Victoria YouTube channel. 


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