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Gippsland Ag New banner; black angus beef cows looking directly
Thursday 7 March 2024
In this edition:
Recovery assistance – 13 February storms 

The cumulative impacts of floods and more recently storms across Gippsland in the past few months has proved challenging for the farming community.

Agriculture Victoria is continuing to support farmers with advice, referrals, and practical support.

Gippsland farmers who have experienced impacts from severe weather events can contact the Agriculture Recovery team on 0427 694 185 or at for assistance or advice, including technical support. 

When phoning or emailing, please provide details that include a contact name, phone number and locality, with a brief statement about the nature of your concerns, so an appropriate member of the Agriculture Recovery Team can contact you. 

Farmers who have urgent animal welfare needs should contact the VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226.

Support and resources for fire affected farmers
what to do after a bushfire

Agriculture Victoria teams have been on the ground supporting farmers with animal welfare and making impact assessments following the recent fires.

Agriculture Victoria State Agency Commander Banjo Patterson said the immediate focus was any urgent animal welfare needs caused by the fires.

‘If your property has been impacted by fire and you have urgent animal welfare needs, please contact the VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226.’

As of 4 pm on Sunday there were approximately 270 livestock and 2,400 hectares of grazing pasture lost, and 1,700 kilometres of fencing impacted due to the Bayindeen-Rocky Road fire.

Farmers and primary producers affected by the recent fires are encouraged to activate their post-fire plans and actively manage their livestock needs.

Mr Patterson said after a fire has come through on your property it’s important to have a plan to deal with the aftermath, both in the first few days and following weeks.

‘A good place to start is the Agriculture Victoria website which has plenty of information about what to do immediately and in the longer term’, he said.

There is practical advice around personal health and wellbeing, water management, soil and pasture recovery, fencing, pest control and financial support.

An emergency feed and water budget to help you determine your livestock’s short-term needs is also available to download.


Support is also available through the Rural Financial Counselling Service.

Farmers and small related enterprises who are experiencing, or are at risk of, financial hardship can call 1300 771 741 for free and confidential financial counselling.

Prepare for hot weather this weekend
Heat stress banner image

With parts of the state expecting extremely hot weather over the weekend, it’s important to ensure your animals have access to sufficient shade and lots of cool water to avoid heat stress.

Stay safe and follow VicEmergency for updates.

More information for caring for animals during extreme heat is available here

$21M for council clean-up and assistance after Victorian storms and floods

The Australian and Victorian governments are continuing to support disaster-impacted communities, with more than $21 million in assistance to support immediate and long-term recovery following the storms and floods which commenced on 24 December 2023 through to mid-January 2024.

The assistance is being provided through the jointly-funded Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).

The funding package includes:

  • A $13.1 million Clean-up Program to deliver all-hazards assessments, conduct make-safe and demolition works for impacted and uninsured residents, as well as support for the removal of flood debris – coordinated by Emergency Recovery Victoria
  • A $8 million Council Support Fund to support impacted councils to clean-up and restore community assets, facilities and services – as well as make repairs to infrastructure like walking trails, playgrounds and sporting fields.

This support will be available in the 29 Local Government Areas (LGAs):

Alpine Shire, Baw Baw Shire, Ballarat City, Benalla Rural City, City of Greater Bendigo, Buloke Shire, Campaspe Shire, Cardinia Shire, East Gippsland Shire, Gannawarra Shire, Glenelg Shire, Greater Shepparton City, Indigo Shire, Loddon Shire, Macedon Ranges Shire, Mansfield Shire, Melton City, Mitchell Shire, Mount Alexander Shire, Murrindindi Shire, Nillumbik Shire, Northern Grampians Shire, Pyrenees Shire, South Gippsland Shire, Strathbogie Shire, Rural City of Wangaratta, Warrnambool City, Wellington Shire and Yarra Ranges Shire.

Emergency Recovery Victoria is continuing to work with impacted councils to understand the assistance required to support communities following the storm and floods.

For more information on recovery support visit the Emergency Recovery Victoria website at or call the Emergency Recovery Hotline on 1800 560 760.

After the flood - episode 4
agriculture victoria agvic talk

Episode 4: On the right track to recovery with Simone Murdoch and Darryl Pearl

Future planning and controlled traffic farming can help mitigate natural disasters and their long-term effects.

In this After the flood podcast episode, Simone Murdoch chats about how her family made key decisions during a flood by removing emotion from the conversation.

Darryl Pearl, from Agriculture Victoria, also gives some tips on controlled traffic farming and how it can benefit properties in the long-term.

Listen via the AgVic website. 

Help implement Victoria’s new Biosecurity Strategy

Agriculture Victoria is calling for applicants to join the Biosecurity Reference Group and help implement Victoria’s new Biosecurity Strategy.

Agriculture Victoria Executive Director Katherine Clift said the Biosecurity Reference Group would play a vital role in ensuring Victoria’s biosecurity response reflects the entire system.

‘The new Biosecurity Strategy outlines how we can work together to manage biosecurity risks and build our resilience to emerging threats,’ Dr Clift said.

‘That’s why it is important the Biosecurity Reference Group is filled with people from across Victoria’s biosecurity system who can represent the many different interests that biosecurity touches.’

Applications are invited from people from all affected groups, including Traditional Owners, agriculture, supply chain, community and environment.

The original Biosecurity Reference Group played a pivotal role in guiding the development of Victoria’s new Biosecurity Strategy.

Their expertise ensured the strategy prioritised collaboration and engagement across the biosecurity system to respond to issues, marking a significant shift in Victoria’s biosecurity policy.

Dr Clift emphasised the importance of continuing to strengthen how Victoria manages emerging biosecurity threats such as foot-and-mouth disease and red imported fire ants.

‘The renewed Biosecurity Reference Group will help guide the implementation of the strategy, including how we should measure success,’ Dr Clift said.

‘This will help safeguard our farms and parks, pets and gardens, our native plants and animals, the safety of our food, cultural integrity of our landscapes and success of our industries.

Submit an expression of interest to join the Biosecurity Reference Group visit by 5pm Wednesday, 3 April.

Don’t forget to register online to receive updates on implementation and upcoming engagement opportunities.

AgTech Innovators season 2, episode 2: Supporting AgTech startups with Guy Franklin
AgTech Innovators podcast. Supporting AgTech startups with Guy Franklin

‘Walk a mile in someone's shoes’, a mantra that also applies when it comes to supporting startups. 

Guy Franklin has walked the path of developing his own tech venture and is now supporting others to do the same. 

Being clear on who your customer is, how big the market is and why this is such a big deal, is some of the advice Guy Franklin provides in this episode of AgTech Innovators. 

Listen online via the AgVic website.

The Horticultural Netting Program
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.

Tackling emerging livestock biosecurity challenges

The Victorian Government is bolstering Victoria’s biosecurity system with funding for projects that help prevent, monitor, and control pests and diseases in livestock.

Minister for Agriculture Ros Spence recently opened applications for the 2024 Livestock Biosecurity Funds grants program.

Victoria will continue to face new and emerging biosecurity risks – driven by climate change, increasing trade and travel, and changing land use – and innovative new solutions are critical to protecting Victoria’s $20 billion agriculture industry.

The Livestock Biosecurity Fund grants program supports projects that adopt new and emerging technologies to respond to livestock biosecurity issues, encourage collaboration, and deliver quantifiable benefits to the livestock industry.

Agriculture Victoria and the state’s livestock compensation advisory committees developed the grants program which is funded through duties generated by the sale of cattle, sheep, goat and pigs and their carcasses in Victoria, and using beekeeper registration fees.

Prospective applicants joined an online forum today to hear from the livestock compensation advisory committees about what they are hoping to see in applications this round.

Previously funded projects included the Victorian Farmers Federation popular producer-led Stock Sense Livestock program, which received $2.19 million over the past four years.

The program helps Victorian livestock producers adopt animal health and production practices that improve animal welfare and Victoria’s biosecurity status.

Another project supported through the program is the Electronic National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) (Sheep) tags.

This has helped maintain the low-disease status of Victoria’s sheep and goat industries and protects Victoria’s reputation in domestic and export markets as a supplier of wholesome meat and dairy products.

Applications close on 15 April, to apply visit

Consultation on animal welfare laws extended
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 Victorian Government has extended the consultation period on the draft Bill for the new animal care and protection laws.

Victorians now have until Monday 25 March to have their say on the Bill – which will replace the current Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (POCTA Act).

Executive Director of Animal Welfare Victoria, Dr Trevor Pisciotta, said the extension gives interested people and organisations more time to make a submission, following recent extreme weather events.

‘We’ve been committed to engaging with key stakeholders and the Victorian community throughout these reforms – this is the third and final round of consultation.’

‘Regional communities have already strongly influenced the form of the Draft Bill, which will help to maintain the trust of our trading partners, consumers and the community in Victoria’s animal-based activities and industries’, Dr Pisciotta said.

In addition to the 3 consultation rounds, Agriculture Victoria has consulted with more than 50 organisations representing people involved with animals or with an interest in animals and the law. The feedback has been carefully considered and contributed to the reform process to date.

Dr Pisciotta said the POCTA Act is nearly 40 years old and does not always reflect current community expectations, developments in animal science or changing industry practices.

‘Demonstrating a high standard of animal welfare is critical in supporting Victorian industries to maintain access to important markets. For most Victorians, there will be no major changes to the way they operate daily.’

‘These laws will strengthen Victoria’s reputation as a humane and responsible producer of food – while being fit-for-purpose for modern day farming practices’, Dr Pisciotta said.

Key changes include minimum standards of care and requirements around husbandry procedures – which already feature in the existing codes of practice and Australian Standards and Guidelines for Animal Welfare.

The proposed laws recognise animal sentience – that animals can have positive and negative experiences. Being explicit about this won't change how Victorians need to treat their animals, or whether they can be owned or used by humans. It won't create any legal rights for third parties, and it won't give animals legal rights.

Dr Pisciotta encourages interested community members, groups and organisations to make a submission and complete a survey about future regulations.

‘Please visit the Engage Victoria website, where you will find supporting materials to help you make a submission, including a guide to the draft Bill and a list of Frequently Asked Questions,’ Dr Pisciotta said.

For more information and to make a submission visit

Fall armyworm commands growers' attention
Fall armyworm and eggs image

Victorian agronomists and growers should be vigilant in crop surveillance for Fall armyworm (FAW), following the impacts the pest is having on crops in Queensland.

Fall armyworm has rapidly spread across Australia after being found in Queensland in January 2020 and is now established in New South Wales, Northern Territory, Western Australia and parts of Victoria.

Agriculture Victoria Plant Pests and Diseases Manager Chris Pittock said a collaborative effort between government, industry and the community is crucial to effectively manage pests such as Fall armyworm.

‘If agronomists and farmers find Fall armyworm on their property, they should seek professional advice for treatment and management.

‘Given this pest is established in some parts of the state – we have adapted our practices to manage it. We have been able to watch what has happened in the northern states and learn from their experiences.’

‘Detections of concern to us would be if the pest is found outside of central Victoria near the Murray River, and some parts of Gippsland.’

Agriculture Victoria has been leading the State response for the National Fall armyworm project, which is coordinated by Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QDAF).

The project aims to support Australian growers with the latest information and tools to manage FAW.

Early detection of FAW is important to ensure producers are making decisions in observance with best practice methods of control, and to reduce the likelihood of resistance occurring in the pest.

For the most up-to-date information on how to identify and prevent FAW, check out the Fall Armyworm Beatsheet.

Agriculture Victoria is monitoring the distribution of Fall armyworm across Victoria. You can report a sighting by contacting the Customer Contact Centre on 136 186 or by completing the Online Reporting Form

Fall Armyworm information

  • Fall armyworm has adapted to warm tropical and sub-tropical areas in northern Australia and can migrate rapidly and be spread by storm events.
  • Fall armyworm feed on maize, sweet corn, sorghum and sugarcane, and experiences in Queensland have also shown a high preference for feeding on corn, even though wheat, millet and sunflowers were nearby.
  • Adult moths are 32 to 40mm in length, wing tip to wing tip, with a brown or grey forewing and a white hind wing. Male fall armyworms have more patterns and a distinct white spot on each of their forewings.
  • Eggs are pale yellow in colour and cluster together in a mass, which often contain 100 – 200 eggs per mass. Egg masses are usually attached to foliage with a layer of mould/silk-like furry substance.
  • Newly hatched larvae are light coloured with a larger darker head and then develop white stripes lengthwise as the larvae darken and grow to about 34mm in length.

For the latest information on FAW from across Australia:

Additional support available for timber communities

Additional support is being provided through the Forestry Transition Program to East Gippsland communities impacted by the end of native timber harvesting in Victoria.

Although native timber supply officially ended on 1 January 2024, the programs and support for timber workers, businesses and communities continues.

As part of that support, a new Forestry Information Coordinator is now based at Orbost to provide an additional point of contact for the local community.

Native timber workers, businesses and community members can contact Forestry Information Coordinator, Cory Lindfield, for assistance with:

  • information about forestry transition programs and progress of initiatives for workers and businesses
  • information about community transition opportunities underway in East Gippsland and how they can get involved
  • information about business transition programs, including the Transition Fund.

For more information visit or contact Cory Lindfield during business hours Monday to Friday on 0400 776 040.

Fox and wild dog bounty resumes
A fox. The text reads: fox and wild dog bounty resumes. Victoria's bounty collections will resume on 4 March 2024.

Victoria’s bounty collections resumed on 4 March 2024.

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.

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, storms, 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.

Gippsland farm forestry grants are now available

The Victorian Government is again offering grants to landholders in Gippsland to assist in establishing trees for timber, as part of a broader program to encourage and support the establishment and management of plantations on farms to contribute to future timber supply.

Timber plantations can be established as woodlots, shelterbelts or wide-spaced plantings (or any combination of these) and be ideally placed within the context of a whole farm plan.

The minimum eligible plantation establishment area for a grant application is 3 hectares.

An opportunity also exists to apply for a one-off consultancy grant, to assist landholders should they require specialised and specific advice in designing and planning a plantation establishment project.

Grant applications open on 4 March 2024 and will close on 7 March 2025.

During this open period, grants will be assessed and administered with the interested landholders progressively.

If you’re involved in a group or organisation (eg. Landcare) and would like more information about the grants or farm forestry generally, one of our Farm Forestry Officers would be delighted to present in a group setting. 

Further information, including grant forms and guidelines is available at the VicForests website and on request via email

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

Cat desexing grants for Victorian councils now open

The Victorian Government has committed $300,000 to run a trial program to increase cat desexing rates, address cat over-population and support vulnerable cat owners.

Councils can now apply for grants of up to $25,000 to deliver targeted cat desexing programs within their community.


Expanded eligibility for power outage payments

The Australian and Victorian governments will continue to support Victorians impacted by severe weather this summer.

The eligibility criteria for the Prolonged Power Outage Payments (PPOP) is being extended to reflect the unique nature of 2 extreme storm events in short succession.

Read the full media release here.

Churchill Fellowships 2024 open now

Churchill Fellowships for 2024 opened on 1 March, offering people the opportunity to travel overseas for four to eight weeks to explore a topic or issue that they’re passionate about, and come back and share knowledge to improve their community.


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: 14 February to 20 March, 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.
Victorian Apiarists Association Recreational Beekeepers Conference
Recreational beekeepers conference

Successful beekeeping in challenging times

When: 9 March, 9 am - 5 pm

Where: Victorian Croquet Centre, 65 Nobel Banks Dr, Cairnlea 

This one-day conference will include live hive demonstrations as well as presentations with an emphasis on meeting the challenges of beekeeping in the presence of varroa. 

Agriculture Victoria apiary team members Nikki Jones and Adam Maxwell will be presenting. 

Book now, places are limited.

Register here.

Joel Williams Roadshow - Flynn, Yarram, Bairnsdale, Orbost and Omeo
Joel Williams Roadshow

Joel Williams from Integrated Soils is visiting Gippsland in March. He is an independent plant and soil health educator with an interest in designing farming systems. 

  • Wednesday 13 March, 9:30 am to 3:30 pm - Flynn Hall
  • Thursday 14 March, 9:30 am to 3:30 pm - Yarram Recreation Reserve
  • Friday 15 March, 5 - 9 pm - Gippsland Agriculture Centre
  • Monday 18 March, 9:30 am - 1 pm - Orbost Football Club - Lochiel Park
  • Tuesday 19 March, 9 am - 1 pm - Omeo Recreation Reserve.

Register here.

GippsDairy Muster - Pastures, Pathways, Performance

The GippsDairy Muster 2024 will showcase the latest trends, technologies, and practices in dairy farming.

Hear insights from industry experts and local farmers on ways to optimise your pastures, business succession plans, and overall performance.

When: Thursday 14 March

Time: 9:30 am - 3 pm 

Where: On-farm in Trafalgar, address provided after registration

Register here.

Today, Tomorrow and Beyond - Genetics Australia Conference
GA 2024. 18 & 19 March 2024, GMHBA Stadium, Geelong. Today, Tomorrow and Beyond.

Where: Monday 18 March - 9:30 am – Tuesday 19 March 4 pm

Where: GMHBA Stadium, 370 Moorabool Street, South Geelong.

Register here.

The conference will host a diverse audience of local and international speakers, farmers, and industry delegates from the dairy and beef sectors.

The theme of the conference centres around the future of cattle breeding, incorporating cutting-edge technologies, and showcasing new industry research and ideas.

Agriculture Victoria Research Director, Professor Jennie Pryce will present on breeding for sustainability and resilience, while Research Scientist Dr Jo Newton will talk on the role of genetic improvement in creating greater integration between our dairy and beef industries.

MLA Goat Roadshow: webinar + Q and A
MLA Goat Webinar and Q&A

Are your goats fit to load? Are you planning to sell goats soon?

Make sure you understand your roles and responsibilities in ensuring animals are fit to travel before you start loading.

This free Meat & Livestock Australia Goat Roadshow webinar is designed to provide useful and practical insights on how to ensure your goats are fit to load before transport.

When: Tuesday 19 March - 7 pm.

Register here.

Women in Agriculture - Business of Farming
Women in agriculture, business of farming

When: Thursday 21 March 9 am - Friday 22 March 3:30 pm

Where: Lake Tyers Caravan Park

Price: $50 pp. 

Register here.

Business of Farming is a two-day workshop on preparing the books for June 1.

The event will focus on budgeting, bookkeeping, finance, and more. An added bonus is the opportunity to network with fellow women farmers and learn from their experiences.

The two days include shared accommodation and meals.

FarmWorld - Lardner Park - come say hi

Come and say hi to us in the General Interest Pavilion (sites 19-21 and 47-48).

Talk to our dairy and animal health staff about farm biosecurity and emergency animal diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease.

Discuss your on-farm biosecurity management plan and pick up a biosecurity sign. Also talk to our staff about climate resilience and recovery, and farm safety.

Receive a free Health and Lifestyle Assessment from the National Centre for Farmer Health or learn about Q Fever from staff from the Gippsland Region Public Health Unit.

The Victorian Farmers Federation, Southern Rural Water, Rural Financial Counselling Services and Services Australia will also be on site.

Come and see our sheep biosecurity art sculpture painted by Melbourne artist, Joy Chiang.

2024 Landcare forum

The 2024 Landcare forum will take place on Wednesday 8, Thursday 9 and Friday 10 May in Bendigo.

Find out more at 

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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:

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