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Barwon South-West Ag news
Thursday 23 May, 2024
In this edition:
Avian influenza situation
AI situation banner image

The Avian Influenza situation in Victoria’s south west is an evolving situation and the best way to keep on top of the latest information is to visit our website.

Consumers should not be concerned about eggs and poultry products from the supermarkets, they do not pose a risk and are safe to consume.

This situation is a timely reminder that every producer should have an on-farm biosecurity plan and know the signs of diseases that could affect their animals.

Any suspicion of an emergency animal disease (EAD) should be immediately reported to the 24-hour EAD Hotline on 1800 675 888 or to your local vet.

Autumn and livestock decisions that need to be made
sheep feeding on hay bales

Dr Jeff Cave, Agriculture Victoria Senior Veterinary Officer

Now is the time for producers to assess their livestock situation as we wait for the autumn break.

During this time, livestock may start experiencing the effects of the shortfall of paddock feed.

To ensure livestock make it through this period, some timely and sometimes difficult decisions need to be made.

Producers need to examine all their options carefully and be confident in answering the following questions:

  • have I got enough supplementary feed on hand?
  • if not, will I be able to source it at a reasonable price?
  • is agistment an option, what is the cost and how far will my stock have to travel?
  • do I need to sell some stock now?

Decisions need to be made carefully.

Having a well-constructed and realistic plan is a valuable tool in assisting with the decision-making process.

By using a timeline with details such as ‘if it has not rained by this date, I need to sell 100 wethers’, often eases the pressure on producers and therefore their livestock.

Allowing livestock to starve is never an option and legislation allows the prosecution of livestock owners and managers who let this happen.

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

or visit our website at Feeding Livestock website.

Protecting agriculture from animal disease threats
sheep in a pen with people in white haz-mat suits on either sidde

The Victorian Government is protecting Victoria’s thriving $20 billion agriculture industry – by strengthening the state’s biosecurity practices and preparedness to quickly and effectively respond to emerging animal diseases.

Minister for Agriculture Ros Spence recently released the new State Emergency Animal Disease Response Plan which builds on the first plan published in 2022 and sets out how the government will respond to any threats.

Australia faces heightened risk of biosecurity incursions due to recent detections of emerging animal diseases in neighbouring countries - which is why Victoria needs the most up-to-date response to protect our agriculture industry.

The emergency animal diseases response plan will help to eradicate a disease outbreak in the shortest time possible while minimising the social, environmental, welfare and economic impacts on the Victorian community.

The updated plan builds on ongoing work to prepare for an emergency animal disease outbreak by setting out how the government and agencies will respond to an emergency and outlining the action required to protect our agriculture industry.

The plan outlines step-by-step the mitigation, preparedness, response, relief and recovery arrangements for a large-scale emergency animal disease outbreak.

The updates include improving and streamlining emergency response structures and clarifying roles and responsibilities – to ensure a quick and strong response to any outbreaks.

It also creates a more robust overview of relief and recovery – outlining agency responsibilities across government and ensuring all agencies have clear emergency responsibilities that can be activated quickly and seamlessly when required.

This plan builds on the existing work to train staff across government, with more than 750 people having completed essential training required to be deployed in an emergency animal disease emergency.

Since 2022, the Victorian Government has invested $43 million to deliver the dedicated emergency animal disease preparedness program - this was reinforced in the Victorian Budget 2024/25 with $15.8 million invested to better identify and respond to biosecurity emergencies.

To learn more about emergency animal disease preparedness and the new response plan, visit

Victorian Gorse Taskforce community grants now open

The VGT annual Community Grants Program is now open for 2024/25.

The Victorian Gorse Taskforce (VGT) with support from Agriculture Victoria offers funding support for community-led gorse control projects.

Community Grants program objectives:

  • Reduce the impacts of gorse on environmental, agricultural, and social values
  • Strengthen community and stakeholder connections for better gorse outcomes
  • Build community knowledge and capacity in managing gorse
  • Promote best practice gorse management.

Community groups may apply for funding up to $8,000 for on-ground gorse control works on private land. All participating landholders involved may receive up to $1,500 in grant funding and must match this with their own monetary contribution.

Grants are available to all Victorian community group organisations that have a focus on improving natural and agricultural areas.

How to apply
Visit and download a copy of the 2024/25 VGT Community Grants Funding Guidelines and Application Form.

Once you have completed your application, email to

For more information, contact the VGT on 0417 593 250 or send an email to

On-farm demonstration EOI extended
extended to thursday 13 june applications for on-farm demonstration

Expressions of Interest extended to June 13.

Expressions of interest are open for sheep and cattle producer groups interested in running an on-farm demonstration.

Is there a technology, innovation or research finding that your livestock producer group is keen to test on-farm? 

Click here to find out more.

This program is in partnership with MLA.

Applications open for Corella Management Grant Program
corellas in a tree

Applications for funding to address the impacts of Long-billed Corella and Little Corella populations on community are now open.

Local government authorities, farmers and committees of management are among those eligible to apply for grants to address agricultural, infrastructural, environmental and social impacts.

A total of $250,000 is available in Victorian Government grant funding.

The Corella Management Grants Program guidelines align with the Victorian Corella Strategy 2022-2032.

The strategy promotes a ‘living with wildlife’ approach to encourage positive attitudes to corellas, as part of a broader strategy for living with wildlife in Victoria.

Find more information about the grant program here.

Book now - BestWool/BestLamb and BetterBeef conferences
early bird tickets close 31 may 19-20 june best wool best lamb and better beef conferences

Early bird ticket discounts end next week for the BestWool/BestLamb and BetterBeef conferences and dinner in Ballarat on 19-20 June.

Secure your discounted tickets on Trybooking by Friday 31 May.

A 1-day conference ticket is only $80 and a full package 2-day conference and dinner ticket is $200.

Visit our events web page to download the program and learn more.

Heytesbury dairy farm water survey now open
heytesbury dairy farm water survey, support water security planning

WestVic Dairy is seeking farmer input via a Dairy Farm Water Survey to understand the current operating conditions on dairy farms, in relation to water supply and security in the Heytesbury and surrounding districts.

The information collected in the Dairy Farm Water Survey will be analysed and used to support future planning for the dairy and water industry.

The Heytesbury area has limited access to groundwater and relies heavily on surface runoff to fill dams for water supply for dairy farms.

The dry seasonal conditions in 2015, highlighted that many dairy operations had very little to no runoff, leaving farmers with critically low water reserves to support stock drinking water, plant washing, vat cleaning and fire-fighting requirements.

The survey specifically aims to collect information from dairy farmers in the region to understand the following:

  • impacts of previous dry seasons on farm water supply
  • impacts of reduced water availability on farm
  • changes that have been made on farms in response to water supply issues
  • plans to address water security on farm in the future
  • ideas and suggestions for industry support.

The survey will close on Friday 24 May. Hard copies of the survey form are available on request.

Responses will remain confidential, and data used for reporting will be de-identified.

The survey can be completed via this link.

This project has been funded through the South-west Victoria node of the Federal Government's Future Drought Fund.

If you would like more information or have any questions, please contact WestVic Dairy on (03) 5557 1000.

Cultivating Futures in Farming mentor program webinar and EOI closing soon
who should attend, emerging farmers

If you missed our recent Zoom webinar on the ‘Cultivating Futures in Farming’ (CFF) mentor program click here to listen. Passcode: Bupcq7

CFF is a free program designed for our ‘next generation farm managers’ and facilitated by Pinion Advisory.

Participants learn from mentors, experts and peers to gain confidence in decision making and how to develop the financial, business and people management skills for running a farm business.

Registrations for the 2024-25 program close midnight Thursday 30 May.

Visit the Cultivating Futures in Farming page on the Agriculture Victoria website to learn more and apply.

Make this your moment – the Governor of Victoria Export Awards
make this your moment, the governor of victoria export awards 2024

Get ready to shine in the spotlight!

Applications have now opened for the Governor of Victoria Export Awards (GOVEA).

Open to all Victorian exporters, regardless of business size or total export sales, winning a GOVEA isn't just about recognition; it's about catapulting your business to new heights.

GOVEA winners automatically receive a place as finalists in the National Export Awards.

Boost your brand and gain exposure to potential clients, investors, and partners, both locally and globally.

Showcase your innovation to the business community in 2024.

Apply now by visiting

Applications close 14 June.

Minerals exploration explained
two people squating on the ground looking at soil

Resources Victoria has released the first instalment of a video series helping to explain important and sometimes misunderstood aspects of the state’s resources sector.

Minerals exploration and mining are often confused.

Though both are essential stages along the path to developing a resource, the process and scale are very different.

In Minerals Exploration Explained we asked a Victorian minerals explorer to outline in their own words what they do, the techniques they use, how they select a site and how it is restored.

Mineral explorers use low-impact methods to understand local geology and look for evidence of minerals over a large area, then typically focus activities on a smaller zone.

It typically involves mapping, water and soil sample testing, surveying the ground from the surface or air and targeted drilling.

If an exploration licence is granted and a commercially viable deposit identified, a separate process toward mining would involve environmental assessment and extensive local engagement.

Visit for more information and to view the video.

Fox and wild dog bounty

Victoria’s bounty collections resumed on 4 March.

Please continue to check our website for the latest information, collection centres and dates. CLICK HERE

For any assistance, please speak to our bounty collection staff on collection days or call our Customer Service Centre on 136 186.

Growing tomorrow’s farmers
producer applications open now, ag career start

AgCAREERSTART is looking for employers/farmers who:

  • are able to offer a safe and positive experience for a young Australian
  • have the capacity to teach and support someone who might have limited experience in agriculture
  • are able to offer full-time paid employment for a period of 10 – 12 months in 2025*
  • can offer flexibility to your participant so they can undertake training and attend industry events
  • can provide accommodation or assist in finding accommodation off-farm.

When you sign up you will:

  • receive a $2,000 grant
  • get support from the AgCAREERSTART team to mentor and train your participant
  • gain access to industry events and the broader National Farmers’ Federation network.

For more information click here.

*Participants must be paid at – or above-award wages.

All host farms must provide a signed employment contract to AgCAREERSTART before the placement commences.

The AgCAREERSTART pilot is funded by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

In case you missed it

Get into AgSTEM program in full swing for school year

Agriculture Victoria’s free Get into AgSTEM education program is underway with schools across the state participating.


What's on?

Details about Agriculture Victoria events can now be found in one spot on our website. Log on to to find out what's on.

Export Development Programme
export development programme, pitch development webinar, 28 may 2024

Ready to grow your agri-food and beverage business by exploring export opportunities but not sure where to start? Join us for a free Export Development Programme!

Agriculture Victoria's Pathways to Export is partnering with Export Connect to deliver a series of in-person masterclass workshops in Gippsland and Melbourne and online export strategy webinars.

In-person sessions:

  • Friday 24 May, 9 am – 4 pm, Agriculture Victoria Attwood Centre, 475-485 Mickleham Road.


  • Pitch Development: Tuesday 28 May, 2 – 4 pm 
  • International Buyer and Exporter Panel: Tuesday 4 June, 2 – 4 pm.

Register here for one or more sessions.

Australian Agriculture Economics by David Goodfellow

WHERE: Colac Central Hotel, 10 Murray Street, Colac 

WHEN: Tuesday 28 May

TIME: 6 - 9 pm


Join Agriculture Victoria and guest speaker David Goodfellow for a free presentation.

The presentation will include information about land prices, rainfall reliability in different areas and how to increase land values.

David will help us understand how historical inflation and commodity prices have affected beef prices so farmers should get a lot out of the evening.

David has a deep understanding of international markets, corporate agriculture and is a local farmer as well.

Stock Handling Workshop - Camperdown

DATE: Friday 7 June

TIME: 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

Join us for a hands-on session led by the Stock Sense team and expert stock handler, Jack Briscoe.

Agriculture Victoria District Veterinary Officer, Hannah Manning, will also be speaking on all things you should know when buying animals and fit-to-load when selling animals.

We invite you to bring along your questions for Hannah.

Learn invaluable techniques to care for your cattle with minimal stress and maximum safety.

Experience Stress-Free Stock Handling at Camperdown Saleyards.

Topics include:

  • Stockmanship: Understand livestock behaviour for reduced stress and improved handling
  • Low-Stress Handling Demonstrations: Witness safe handling practices for enhanced yard safety
  • Practical Sessions: Gain special techniques for drenching, vaccination, and ear tagging
  • Biosecurity Insights: Explore vital biosecurity practices and the importance of quarantine.

Find out more at -

For further inquiries, please contact Stock Sense on

Calm the farm - Goroke event

Are you interested in reducing risks to mental health in your farm workplace by improving your work systems, or doing things a bit differently?

Join us for an interactive and engaging 2-hour workshop that explores ways of reducing work-related stress.

DATE: Friday 7 June

TIME: 10 am (sharp)

WHERE: Goroke Community Centre, Natimuk Road.


RSVP: Joanna Werner, West Wimmera Health Service, (03) 5363 2201 or email: 

GRDC – Mastering fungicide resistance management with AFREN: strategies for success – Bannockburn

DATE: Friday 14 June

TIME: 9 am – 12 pm

VENUE: Bannockburn and Districts Bowling Club, 65 Burnside Road, Bannockburn.

REGISTER HERE on the GRDC website.

Calling all growers and agronomists to join Nick Poole from FAR Australia for a workshop hosted by the Australian Fungicide Resistance Extension Network (AFREN), dedicated to addressing the pressing issue of fungicide resistance in our region.

Gain valuable insights and participate in discussions on the latest management practices shaping the future of the Australian grains industry.

Stock Sense calving webinar
A cow standing over a calf

New to calving? Wanting to learn more? Maybe you just need a quick refresher!

This free webinar is perfect for you.

Get ready for the calving season with a checklist covering everything you need to know.

From when to call a vet to prepping your calving box, we've got you covered.

Join Stock Sense and seasoned expert Rob Bananno, who brings over 30 years of farming and veterinary experience to the table.

Don't miss out on this invaluable session!

DATE: Wednesday 26 June

TIME: 6:30 - 7 pm


Grasslands Society of Southern Australia – 54th Annual Conference
54th annual conference

The GSSA conference at Bendigo on 17-18 July will offer something for everyone.

The central theme will focus on ‘Evidence Based Decision Making’ and the topics have been built around what farmers need to know.

Delegates will be able to choose from 2 bus tours.

One to a property north of Bendigo integrating lucerne into a profitable livestock system and one to a higher rainfall perennial pasture property south of Bendigo.

Topics will include:

  • Carbon - An informed farmers perspective
  • Carbon neutral livestock production - is it possible?
  • Soil carbon and fertility
  • Measuring and knowing your soil carbon levels
  • Old clover identification and sub optimal clover nodulation
  • Paddock livestock weighing
  • What bugs You?
  • Use of drones in agriculture
  • Facial livestock recognition
  • Remote pasture measurement
  • Running lambs on improved varieties of perennial ryegrass vs more persistent Victorian ryegrass - animal responses above yield responses
  • N efficiency and endophytes in ryegrass pastures
  • Introduction to fertiliser calculator tool.

Click here for more information - 2024 GSSA Annual Conference

Emerging Leader in Victorian Agriculture Award

Nominations for the 2024 Melbourne Royal Emerging Leaders in Victoria Award are now open!

Please download the nomination form here.

Send your application to

Applications close on Thursday 1 August.

The recipient will work, volunteer or significantly contribute within the agricultural industry, and must demonstrate how they will use prize money to further their development.

This award is only available to those within Victoria between the ages of 18 and 35.

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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.



'Like' our Agriculture Victoria Facebook page.


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Subscribe to the Agriculture Victoria YouTube channel. 


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