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Gippsland Ag New banner; black angus beef cows looking directly
Thursday 8 February 2024
In this edition:
Image of cows in a paddock with the text 'latest ag news'
Are you feeding your livestock sufficiently?
Cows eating hay

Agriculture Victoria is advising livestock owners to assess their livestock feed situation, as failing to provide proper and sufficient feed to livestock is an offence under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986.

Agriculture Victoria Senior Officer of Animal Welfare Morgan Cassell said producers need to make appropriate decisions regarding their livestock and ability to provide adequate feed.

Livestock owners and managers should ask:

  • what are the nutritional requirements for the class and number of livestock I keep?
  • how much feed do I currently have on offer and is it meeting my livestock’s energy and protein requirements?
  • how much supplement feed do I need to be feeding?
  • will I have enough? Will I be able to source more?
  • what alternative options do I have; agistment, destocking?
  • ‘If you aren’t sure of any of the answers to these questions, you need to seek advice or do your research.

‘There are many free resources and tools available to help and once you know the answers you can then make an informed decision, plan and take action.’

For information on feeding livestock visit Agriculture Victoria’s Feeding Livestock website

‘You will find information on sheep and cattle nutrition, tools to help calculate feed-on-offer and interpret feed test results and templates to create a feed budget.

Otherwise, you can also put in a call to your local Agriculture Victoria Livestock Extension Officer on 136 186,’ Ms Cassell said.

'Agriculture Victoria will investigate any allegation which concerns an owner or person in charge failing to provide proper and sufficient feed to an animal.’

Anyone wishing to make a specific complaint regarding livestock welfare can contact Agriculture Victoria at or on 136 186.

Be on the lookout for blue green algae in farm dams
Cows in a dam. The text reads: be on the lookout for blue green algae in farm dams

Recent flooding combined with warmer weather has increased the risk of blue-green algal blooms in farm dams. Recognise the signs – blooms typically appear as surface scum that looks like a suspension of green paint, often with an earthy smell. 

If a suspicious bloom is noticed, stock should be removed as quickly as possible, and a safe alternative water supply provided. Blue-green algae can cause poisoning in livestock.

Learn more here.

The Horticultural Netting Program now open
Nets over an orchard

Grants of up to $150,000 are available to eligible producers of commercial horticulture crops, excluding wine grapes, to purchase and install new netting over established production areas. 

The program now includes a self-installation allowance if you wish to self-install netting.

Applications close 8 April.

For more information about the program visit the Horticultural Netting Grants for Victorian Horticulturalists page on our website. 

This program is delivered by the Victorian Government on behalf of the Australian Government.

Expert panel to assist Australian dairy farmers in strategic infrastructure investments

An exceptional gathering of 35 global and local industry experts is set to impart their wealth of experience and insights at the forthcoming 'Raising the Roof 2024' event. Hosted by Dairy Australia and Agriculture Victoria, the event is scheduled from Tuesday, February 27, to Thursday, February 29, at the picturesque Hunter Valley in New South Wales. As the exclusive Australian dairy industry event dedicated to intensive farm systems, 'Raising the Roof 2024' aims to equip Australian dairy farmers with global best practices through the expertise of leading experts worldwide.

This year's panel includes distinguished speakers from as far afield as Germany and the United States of America, including Karl Burgi, Alain Houle, Michael Heinrich, Scott Blevins and Dr Mike Wolf. In addition to international speakers, the event will feature respected local professionals in intensive farm systems and successful Australian dairy farmers who have seamlessly transitioned to feedpads and contained housing.

Karen Romano, Dairy Australia’s National Feeding and Farm Systems Lead, emphasised the unique learning opportunity presented by the event, providing access to technical specialists on global best practices and insights from farmers who have successfully upgraded their farm systems.

'Dairy Australia is dedicated to empowering dairy farmers with business planning and risk management tools to enhance decision-making and improve profitability,' said Romano. 'Given that investments in infrastructure, such as contained housing systems and feedpads, are substantial for most farm businesses, seeking the right advice is crucial before making such a significant financial commitment.'

'Raising the Roof 2024 brings together knowledge leaders from across Australia and around the globe to assist Australian dairy farmers in making informed decisions and avoiding unnecessary expenditures on systems or infrastructure that may not suit their local conditions or long-term plans,' added Romano.

The panel includes a diverse representation of technical professionals and Australian dairy farmers who have successfully transitioned their farms to intensive systems, providing a practical perspective to complement technical insights.

The complete list of speakers for 'Raising the Roof 2024' can be found here.

The event will also feature presentations and discussions with industry leaders, as well as both virtual and in-person farm visits showcasing the latest innovative thinking in a variety of intensive farm systems.

Tickets for the event are selling rapidly. For more information and to secure your attendance, visit the Dairy Australia website.

Beware of water weeds
Salvinia over a waterway

Two of the world’s most invasive water weeds, salvinia and water hyacinth, threaten our food growing communities and environment.

These weeds may look attractive, but they are highly invasive and quickly cover waterways.

If you suspect you have water hyacinth or salvinia on your property, please email a photo to, or call us on 136 186. 

You can also make a report via the Agriculture Victoria website.

Read the full media release here.

Partnership Against Pests
Partnerships Against Pests - grants open now

Do you have a great idea to upskill your community to help combat established pests and weeds in Victoria?

Our new Partnerships Against Pests grants will provide funding between $10,000-50,000 for initiatives including educational events, communication tools and products to boost community awareness.

Applications close February 19. 

Learn more here.

After the flood - episode 2: Farming through the floods with Murray Van der Drift
After the flood - episode 2: Farming through the floods with Murray Van der Drift

Hear about farming through flood in this episode of After the flood.  

Murray Van der Drift talks about how his family dealt with flood waters approaching their farm from 3 directions. 

Murray emphasises the importance of relationships within your community and being prepared to listen to what's going on up stream.

Listen via the AgVic website. 

A practical guide for older farmers and their families
Stay farming longer and safer booklet

When looking at the overall picture of farm incidents in Victoria and Australia, there are 2 standout statistics. 

Ag industry workers over 60 years of age were involved in 41.8% of farming fatalities nationally in 2022, and nearly 40% of all the of the ag industry workplace fatalities involve the farmer themselves, or their immediate family members.

The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) recognises that there is a clear need to engage with older farmers in its mission to improve the safety outcomes for the Victorian farming sector. 

More importantly, the VFF shares a mutual desire with farming families across Victoria, to do as much as we can to ensure that older farmers remain as safe and healthy as they can, for as long as possible.

This handbook is realistic about what is possible, and is written from a place of compassion by people who are in the industry, and who have a deep understanding of the challenges in this space. 

Conversations about ageing and succession are not easy ones to have, because they touch on identity, legacy and the rights of the individual vs. the family vs. the community.

This handbook also acknowledges that the pathways for farmers as they age are not clear-cut. There is no one ‘right way’, only a whole lot of options from which to choose the best path for each family or situation.

Download the free booklet here.

Have floodwaters impacted your farm water supply?
Water in a paddock. The text reads: have floodwaters impacted your farm water supply?

Floodwaters have the potential to impact farm water supplies.

Farm dams and channels can become contaminated after floods, with potential for water quality issues to develop over time. 

Learn more about how to manage contaminated farm water supplies on the Agriculture Victoria website.

Mosquito numbers peak

The risk of mosquito-borne diseases is highest in October to late April in Victoria, as mosquito numbers peak.

Mosquito-borne diseases include Japanese encephalitis (JE).

JE is a rare but potentially serious infection of the brain caused by a virus that can spread to humans through mosquito bites.

The best way to prevent mosquito-borne diseases is to avoid mosquito bites.

  • Cover up – wear long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing as mosquitoes can bite through tight clothing
  • Use mosquito repellents containing picaridin or DEET on all exposed skin. Apply over the top of sunscreen and reapply after swimming or sweating
  • Limit outdoor activity if lots of mosquitoes are about
  • Remove stagnant water where mosquitoes can breed around your home or campsite
  • On holidays make sure your accommodation is fitted with mosquito netting or screens
  • Don’t forget the kids – always check the insect repellent label. On babies, you might need to spray or rub repellent on their clothes instead of their skin
  • Avoid applying repellent to the hands of babies or young children
  • Use ‘knockdown’ fly sprays and plug-in repellent devices indoors
  • Consider using a mosquito net that is treated with a residual insecticide if sleeping outdoors, including sleeping in a tent or cabin
  • Mosquito coils can be effective in small outdoor areas where you gather to sit or eat.


Be prepared – JE is a rare but serious infection. Vaccination can protect you.


  • JE vaccine is free for eligible Victorians, visit your GP or local immunisation provider
  • You are eligible for free JE vaccination if you: live in high-risk areas of Victoria and meet additional criteria, live or work at properties with pigs, or are going to high-risk areas for seasonal work
  • Click here for more information on the eligibility criteria
  • If you are going to high-risk areas for seasonal work, you are eligible to have a free JE vaccination, regardless of Medicare status
  • Please note, while the vaccine is free-of-charge, some providers may charge an administration or consultation fee. Be sure to check if this applies to you.
Grant opportunity – Vic Grown Regional Activation Grants Program
A market stall, a table is covered in flowers and jars of jams and spreads. There are people shopping in the background.

The Vic Grown Regional Activation Grants Program is now open.

Grants of up to $70,000 are available to hold local events that showcase local food and beverages in the regions where they are produced.

Applications close Friday 16 February 2024 at 11.59 pm. 

To apply for a grant and view program eligibility and guidelines, visit the Vic Grown Regional Activation Grants – Expression of Interest page on the Agriculture Victoria website.

Recruitment drive for food safety boards

State food safety regulators PrimeSafe and Dairy Food Safety Victoria (DFSV) are looking for 11 new board members and applications are open now.

Five board positions are available at PrimeSafe, the state’s regulator for the food safety of meat, poultry, and seafood. Six board positions are up for renewal at DFSV, responsible for regulating Victoria’s dairy industry.

Agriculture Victoria Executive Director Dr Trevor Pisciotta encouraged applicants with a variety of backgrounds to join the boards.

‘We’re looking for candidates with expertise and skills across many different areas to lead the strategic direction of the regulators,’ Dr Pisciotta said.

‘It’s vital the boards have members who can provide practical knowledge of and expertise in Victoria’s meat and dairy industries.’

‘Equally, we need representation from diverse backgrounds and welcome applications from those with experience in governance, finance, legal and business.’

Dr Pisciotta emphasised the importance of meeting high food safety standards in the state, which underpins Victoria’s access to interstate and international markets.

‘Victoria’s regulators play a vital role in upholding Australia’s food safety standards which strengthens our world-class reputation in the meat, seafood and dairy industries.’

‘Our regulatory system is focused on protecting public health and maintaining consumer confidence in the meat and dairy produced in Victoria,’ Dr Pisciotta said.

The regulators use a licensing and inspection system to ensure that Victorian meat, seafood and dairy businesses comply with the strict safety standards.

Applications are welcome from people with demonstrated industry knowledge and experience across meat, seafood and dairy production or processing. Applications are also encouraged from those experienced in public health and other relevant governance, legal, finance and other skills. This diversity is critical to having a well-balanced board.

Candidates will ideally have Board experience and knowledge in best practice regulation, corporate governance and risk management.

Applications for PrimeSafe board close on Monday 19 February, and applications for DFSV board close on Monday 26 February.

Supporting the recovery and rebuild after Victorian floods

Victorian communities affected by the recent December and January storms and floods will receive additional support from the Victorian and Australian Governments.

The package announced today includes more than $105 million for increased financial assistance to support the immediate and long-term recovery and rebuild phase.

This assistance will be jointly funded under Category A and B of the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) and it includes:

  • Emergency roadworks from larger-scale works like the rebuilding of roads, bridges and culverts – particularly in the Gippsland, Hume, Loddon Mallee and Eastern Metropolitan regions – to finding and fixing potholes, asphalting and repairing road surfaces damaged by the severe weather events to get flood-affected Victorians back on the road.
  • Expanding the Emergency Recovery Hotline which enables residents affected by disasters to access information about available programs that can help them recover and connect them with mental health, business, legal and financial support services.
  • Expanding the Recovery Support Program which can provide storm and flood-impacted residents with access to a dedicated Recovery Support Worker, playing an important role to connect them to critical services and support programs specific to their recovery journey.
  • Additional mental health and wellbeing support including psychological First Aid training programs, face-to-face mental health and wellbeing support from the Bendigo Mental Health and Wellbeing hub, free and subsidised telepsychology services from Rural Health Connect, and proactive emergency outreach visits and group counselling sessions.

These additional support services will be available in the 28 Local Government Areas where disaster assistance is already available, including the Personal Hardship Assistance Program (PHAP), which continues to support eligible storm and flood-affected Victorians, and support to councils to repair and restore essential public assets.

To access recovery support, impacted residents can call the Emergency Recovery Hotline on 1800 560 760. If you think you may be eligible for re-establishment assistance, you should contact your local council.

Information on disaster assistance, including PHAP is available on the Australian Government’s website at and the Victorian Department of Families, Fairness and Housing website

If your business has been impacted, reference your insurance policies or contact your local council for support.

Victoria’s inspiring Rural Women’s Award finalists

Four trail-blazing Victorian women are in the running for the 2024 Agrifutures Rural Women’s Award.

The Award celebrates Australia’s rural women leaders from across a range of industries, including Victoria’s $20.2 billion agriculture sector, who use their skills to benefit their communities and rural Australia, and inspire others.

The Victorian winner will be announced in April and will receive $15,000 towards their project. They will also go on to represent Victoria at the National Award, a Gala event at Parliament House in September. The national winner will receive a further $20,000 towards their project, and the national runner-up $15,000.

In 2023, Victoria’s Glenmore-based co-founder of Grown Not Flown, Nikki Davis, took out the National prize. She said the award felt like recognition for the challenges she has faced as a female founder working across both the agriculture and technology sectors.

‘I am not a natural farmer, I don’t know how to fix a fence, and I would prefer to stay indoors when it is windy outside,’ Ms Davis said.

‘What I am good at is problem solving, working with technology and data, and believing that we can change the world with our ideas.’

This year’s finalists are:

Georgina Morrison, from Hamilton, formed the Creative Toolkit to help position rural Australia as a hub for competitive creatives. The online academy aims to empower rural creatives to expand their profitable skillsets.

Grace Larson, from Kyneton, formed The Sisterhood Project to mitigate the barriers of distance and affordability for parents and carers in rural areas. The Project aims to deliver free access to essential paediatric first aid training for vulnerable groups, to help curb higher child mortality rates in rural Australia.

Reeanjou Ram, based in Melbourne but raised in Fiji, founded iTrazo Tracetech to help bridge the gap between Australia’s rural producers and their metropolitan consumers. iTrazo offers digital traceability services to mitigate transport risks for producers and better inform customers.

Sarah Holmes, from Mildura, founded EnviroEDU to promote environment, conservation and sustainability awareness in rural and regional communities. EnviroEDU aims to educate children at the grassroots level to help contribute to conserving our natural ecosystems.

In addition to the Victorian AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award, the Victorian Government is supporting women in agriculture and rural communities more broadly with a suite of programs that provide leadership skills and support resilience and connection for women across rural Victoria.

For more information about the award visit the Agriculture Victoria website.

Have your say on Victoria’s new animal protection laws
A blue background with the V for Victoria made out of various animals. The text reads Help shape Victoria's new animal care and protection laws.

The draft bill for a new Animal Care and Protection Act has been released for public comment.

This is the final opportunity for feedback before the bill for a new Act is finalised.

The new Act would replace the current Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986.

A new Act would explicitly recognise animal sentience and set minimum care requirements for animals in Victorian law for the first time.

The approach to cruelty offences would be strengthened, and the legislation would support co-regulation to reduce the regulatory burden on industries.

Activities like farming, pest control, hunting, fishing and racing would be able to continue under the new laws.

Reforming the laws will protect animals from cruelty while supporting Victorians to continue to interact responsibly with them and will help maintain trust in our animal-based activities and industries.

Regulations setting out requirements for specific species and activities involving animals would support the Act.  A new Act would not come into force for at least 2 years to enable development of the new regulations.

The first consultation on the regulations has opened alongside the draft bill consultation.

The consultation is open until 8 March.

Have your say at Engage Victoria.

Free financial counselling with RFCS
A person standing in a paddock looking at the sunset. The text reads free financial counselling with the Rural Financial Counselling Service. 1300 771 741.

Have you been impacted by recent floods, fires or dry seasonal conditions?

The Rural Financial Counselling Service provides a free and confidential financial counselling service to eligible farmers and small related enterprises who are experiencing, or at risk of, financial hardship.

They can help you to access available support, analyse your business situation, negotiate with lenders and develop strategies to improve your financial position. 

To find your closest service visit the Rural Financial Counselling Service website or call 1300 771 741.

In case you missed it
Image of a sunset with the text 'in case you missed it'

Want to learn about biosecurity in your backyard?

Victorian small-scale property and livestock owners can now access a new resource to help navigate the world of livestock and farming.

Read the full media release here.

Keep unwanted BBQ pests away this summer

There’s nothing better than tucking into homegrown tomatoes or a fruit platter at a BBQ, but not when you find Queensland fruit fly (QFF) have made a head start.

Read the full media release here.

Opportunities abound for STEM students in agriculture

Students at all levels of education with a passion for STEM are benefitting from Agriculture Victoria’s broadening education program.

Read the full media release here.

Recent rainfall may have put your hay at risk

Farmers need to be mindful that even well-made hay can still be prone to spontaneous combustion.

Agriculture Victoria Program Manager for Dairy – North, Brett Davidson said spontaneous combustion is usually caused by excess moisture at baling.

Read the full media release here. 

Heat stress: getting prepared

Richard Smith, Agriculture Victoria, Tatura

Now is a good time for producers to assess their heat stress management programs as heat stress can impose a significant financial and welfare cost to a business.

Read the full article here.

Caring for stock in challenging weather conditions

Prepare for changing weather and ensure your stock are well cared for with the use of a stock containment area (SCA).

Read the full media release here.

Timely resource for sheep producers

As Victoria’s grain harvest draws to a close in many parts of the state, Agriculture Victoria has updated a resource for farmers intending to graze crop stubble.

Read the full media release here.

What's on
Image of a group of people at an event in a green paddock listening to a presenter with the text 'what's on: online and on-farm events'

Details about Agriculture Victoria events can be found in one spot on our website. Log on to the Events page to keep in touch with upcoming events.

Stock sense farming essentials webinar series

When: February 14 to March 20, 6 - 7:30 pm

Register here.

Join a 6-part webinar series on the essential elements of farm ownership. Each session offers practical insights and expert advice to empower you on your farming journey.

Topics include: 

  • Owning or buying a farm: assessing what you want and have
  • Farm layout and essential facilities
  • Buying animals: what you need to know
  • The first few months – a critical period
  • Animal health, nutrition and welfare
  • The long-term plan – sustaining your farm.
Back on track with the National Centre for Farmer Health
Lets get mental health for farmers back on track event poster

When: Thursday February 15, 11 am – 1 pm
Where: Duart Homestead, Maffra

Register here. 

When: Thursday February 15, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Where: Tinamba Hotel, Tinamba

Register here.

Agricultural research results dinner and field day
GAgG event poster for the agricultural research results dinner and field day

When: Thursday 15 February, 1 - 5 pm. 

Dinner from 5 pm. 

Where: Gippsland Research Farm Green Shed and Lucknow Football and Netball Club Rooms. 

Register here.

Let's have a yarn - Newry and Orbost
A man standing in a paddock with cows, next to a ute with hay on the back. The text reads: let's have a yarn, come have a chat with your fellow farming community about recovery after the recent floods and storms.

Come have a chat with your fellow farming community about recovery after the recent floods and storms in Gippsland.

Network with farmers and industry, including contacts from horticulture, beef, dairy, and sheep. The day will also be attended by agencies servicing the farming industry – including representatives from State Government, local shire, water corporations and industry.

Thursday 15 February - 11 am - 1 pm 
Friday 23 February – 11 am - 1 pm 

Newry Hall, Newry 
Snowy Rovers Football Clubrooms, Orbost

BBQ lunch provided. 

For more information, contact Billy Marshall on

Growing Beef from Dairy Field Day

When: Wednesday 21 February, 9:30 am - 3 pm 
Where: W&S Jelbart, On Farm - Woodleigh. Address provided with registration. 

Register here. 

Join Dairy Australia at the Growing Beef from Dairy Field Day. This event is an opportunity for dairy and beef producers to explore and consider their surplus calf target market options and how best to breed, feed and manage dairy beef calves to meet market specifications.

Making sense of carbon and emissions for Victorian farmers
Sheep in a paddock, surrounded by trees. The text reads making sense of carbon and emissions on farm, Tuesday 27 February - 12pm

When: Tuesday 27 February, 12 pm 

Register here.

Victorian farm businesses are getting on with the job of growing more food and fibre, while dealing with changeable seasons and weather patterns.

We also know that more attention is being paid to the carbon and emissions performance of our agricultural industries and farms.

In this webinar, Agriculture Victoria's climate team will share some tools and resources they have developed to support the farming communities of Victoria make sense of carbon and emissions on farm.

Business of Farming - Benambra
Business of farming event poster

When: Saturday 24 February

Where: Benambra Hotel 

Register here.

Business of Farming - Bairnsdale
Business of farming event poster

When: Wednesday 28 February

Where: location TBC 

Register here.

Raising the Roof 2024
Cows feeding from a trough with the text: raising the roof 2024, save the date. Hunter Valley, New South Wales. 27-29 February 2024.

Presented by Dairy Australia and Agriculture Victoria, Raising the Roof is the only Australian dairy industry event dedicated to intensive farm systems.

When: 27 – 29 February

Where: Hunter Valley, New South Wales

Tickets available here.

For more information email

Breeders Week - Australian Crop Breeders

When: Monday 4 to Friday 8 March
Where: Pullman Adelaide 

Register here.

The event brings together field crop breeders, researchers and industry, and provides vast networking opportunities. Each day will cover a different focal point throughout the week - CAIGE, Pathology, NVT Research, Industry, and ACB Board Meeting.

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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

All 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.


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