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Barwon South-West Ag news
Thursday 2 November 2023
In this edition:
Watch now - webinars on managing seasonal variability
climate update and tools, spring summer climate update

Missed our recent webinar series or want to rewatch a session?

Click below to catch up on best preparing your farm for the changing seasons.

Managing Seasonal Variability – A Farmer’s Perspective

Central Victorian farmer Mr Ben Greene will explain how he and his wife Jodie manage seasonal variability while still running a profitable and sustainable farming operation.

Climate Update and Tools

Confused about the climate predictions for spring and summer?

Join renowned Agriculture Victoria Seasonal Risk Agronomist Dale Grey for the low down on the season ahead.

Fodder Conservation

Hay, silage or straw? Join Agriculture Victoria Dairy Extension Officer Michelle Jolliffe to hear the latest information on fodder conservation.

Siting and Design of a Stock Containment Area

Do stock containment areas really work?

How big should I make the pens? How much do they cost?

Presented by Agriculture Victoria Land Management Extension Officer Clem Sturmfels.

Clem’s detailed presentation is based on more than 30 years experience working in this field.

Animal nutrition and feeding during dry times

A session on animal considerations as we move into possibly dryer/hotter spring and summer conditions. Includes the use of Stock Containment Areas.

Covering some of the basics and principles involved in feeding your stock through summer. 

Presented by Nick Linden, Agriculture Victoria Livestock Industry Development Officer.

Is Your Farm Water Supply Up To Scratch?

Presented by Agriculture Victoria Land Management Extension Officer Clem Sturmfels.

Clem has spent much of his career helping farmers with the design, construction and repair of farm dams.

He is also experienced in the design and construction of farm pipelines.

Free financial counselling with RFCS
free financial counselling with the rural financial counselling service

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.

Find your closest service or call 1300 771 741.

A taste you can trace – episode 6
a taste you can trace episode 6

Discover the world of traceability and how it is ensuring brand Australia is top of mind. 

Hear from Michael Dosser, Group General Manager at Results Group, about the many benefits of introducing traceability into your business using a recent pilot with the Australian Table Grape Association as evidence.

🎧 Listen online via the AgVic website:

Livestock committee recruitment drive now open

The Victorian Government is calling for a wide range of industry professionals to apply for positions on Livestock Advisory Committees to improve animal health, strengthen the state’s biosecurity and support business management.

Minister for Agriculture Ros Spence recently announced applications are now open for 2 Livestock Advisory Committees – the honey bee and swine industries – while recruitment for the remaining committees will begin in early 2024.

Livestock Advisory Committee members oversee their respective Livestock Compensation Fund and help to deliver a wide range of projects that benefit their specific industries.

The latest round of the Fund delivered a total of $8.1 million across 21 projects.

Applicants will no longer need to be nominated by prescribed bodies – ensuring committees are more accessible and have a diverse membership.

Specific skills, expertise and industry experience will all be considered during the recruitment process.

Recruitment for the Sheep and Goat Compensation Advisory Committee and Cattle Compensation Advisory Committee will open in early 2024.

Click here for more information.

Download your bushfire farm fire preparedness toolkit today
now's the time to prepare your farm for the fire season

Download a copy of Ag Vic’s Farm Fire Preparedness Toolkit today and use it to review or develop your fire preparedness plan.

The characteristics of every farm and farming business are different and require a unique approach to fire preparedness.

Developing and implementing a fire preparedness plan can help you better prepare, minimise losses and recover faster, should your property be affected by fire.

Find and use our Farm Fire Preparedness Toolkit here.

Beekeepers – know how to do an alcohol wash
two people in white bee suits doing an alcohol wash

There are 3 tests commonly used to detect Varroa mite and other pests, including alcohol wash, sugar shake and drone uncapping.

While sugar shake and drone uncapping are useful detection methods, alcohol washing has been found to be more effective at detecting Varroa mite.

Make sure you understand safe handling techniques before opening a hive. It's essential that you wear protective clothing when collecting bees for testing.

Learn more about alcohol testing for Varroa mite here.

Farm biosecurity simplified with new animations

Victorian livestock owners can brush up on their farm biosecurity knowledge using a series of easy-to-follow animations.

Agriculture Victoria has released a series of new animated videos, highlighting a range of important biosecurity information in a simple format.

Emergency Animal Disease Industry Engagement Program Manager Kellyanne Harris said the animations were produced to help walk through the basics of keeping animals healthy and properties free from disease.

‘Biosecurity is everyone’s responsibility so we’re providing as much information in a variety of formats to the community so everyone can learn in a way that suits them,’ Ms Harris said.

‘Farmers and their visitors play a critical role in preventing the spread of emergency animal diseases.’

Topics covered in the animations include basic farm biosecurity, farm and visitor hygiene, introducing new livestock and important information about prohibited pig feed and ruminant feed bans.

‘Steps like having biosecurity signage and quarantining new animals have been explained in a simple way.

‘Knowing what you can and can’t feed animals is critical in the prevention of disease, so our new videos on prohibited pig feed and ruminant feed ban will help the community to understand these requirements’ Ms Harris said.

Having good biosecurity practices in place helps protect your livestock, your neighbour’s livestock and the entire agriculture industry from the threats of disease.

‘Whether you have 100 head of cattle or 2 alpacas, it’s important that everyone takes their responsibilities seriously.’

The 5 animations can be viewed on the Agriculture Victoria YouTube channel, Agriculture Victoria website, social media feeds and online training resources and webinars.

EOI – Victorian Agriculture and Climate Change Council

Expressions of interest are now open for the next term of the Victorian Agriculture and Climate Change Council (the Council).

Those interested in being considered for the Council can apply through the Join a Board website

The Council is a ministerial advisory council that provides advice to the Minister for Agriculture on how the agriculture sector can prepare for and respond to the impacts of climate change, and be part of the transition to a net zero emissions economy.

The Council plays a key role in supporting the Victorian Government to deliver strong and lasting action on climate change for the agriculture sector, which is already experiencing the impacts of an increasingly variable and extreme climate.

This includes working with industry to build on the action already being taken.

Key info:

  • How to apply: Go to the Join a Board website to read more about the role and to submit an application
  • Applications close 5 pm, 12 November 2023.
Stuck on how to build a farm safety plan?
free national farm safety online short course thursday 9 november 12pm

We all recognise the need to keep our farming families and businesses safe during busy work periods, especially when there are young and old family members working alongside short-term employees.

While we are often told about what we need to have in place for a safe workplace, it is how to implement a farm safety plan that is the hardest step in the whole process!

Rural Edge has developed an online Farm Safety Short Course for farm business owners, managers, and workers to support the early steps into developing a farm safety plan.

The Farm Safety Short Course currently enjoys a 100% satisfaction rating. All participants in this short course would recommend it to others, and their understanding and attitude towards farm safety has increased through joining this short 2-hour safety conversation.
Participants will be guided through the core ingredients of a farm safety plan, including a brief overview of the laws and regulations, the need for an induction checklist, and how to develop your Farm Risk Register.

As a bonus, time spent talking to others during the course will help to pick up some tips and tricks to make your farm business that little bit safer.

A large range of tools and templates are also available to all participants through the Rural Edge information portal.

The next National Online Farm Safety Short Course will be held for Victoria on Thursday 9 November. Join us over lunch: 12 – 2 pm.

Register now to secure your place and join like-minded peers to support each other in identifying risks/hazards and work towards developing your own farm risk register.

This course is normally offered at $149 per person but is being offered for free through support from the National Farm Safety Education Fund.

The session will be facilitated by ProcessWorx who are experienced in supporting agricultural businesses in developing and implementing their health and safety plans.

This Short Course is supported by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry through the National Farm Safety Education Fund. Healthier farms begin with safer practices.

In case you missed it

Prevent parasite impacts on your pig herd health

Agriculture Victoria has found roundworm (Ascaris suum) in one-third of pig herds tested as part of a free new animal health program.


New resources for grain farmers as dry finish looms

Victorian grain growers have a suite of new resources to help them prepare for, and deal with the effects of late frosts and a potential dry finish to the growing season.


Echuca farmer pleads guilty to livestock offences

An Echuca goat farmer has pleaded guilty to 4 charges under the Livestock Disease Control Act 1994 at the Echuca Magistrates’ Court recently.

Three charges were for breaching a Control Order by not informing an inspector of the sale of goats, and 1 charge related to making a false statement on a National Vendor Declaration form.


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.

Webinar – commercial feasibility of gasification and pyrolysis on-farm
commercial feasibilty of gasification and pyrolysis onfarm

Agriculture Victoria invites you to the launch of its Advanced Thermal Treatment of Agricultural Residues commercial feasibility assessment tool.

Agricultural and woody biomass residues are generated all across rural and regional Victoria which can be converted into renewable power and thermal energy, also producing biochar and wood vinegar.

Join this webinar to hear a practical discussion behind the commercial case for investing in pyrolysis or gasification for your farm with topic experts and farm businesses.

Date: Monday 13 November

Time: 11:30 am to 1 pm


Key areas of discussion include:

  • Investment case for pyrolysis/ gasification
  • Live projects: an operational unit and one under development
  • Introduction the feasibility assessment tool.

Speakers include:

  • Kelly Wickham – Agriculture Victoria
  • Kane Ravenscroft – Optimal Group
  • Dominic Murphy – Meredith Dairy.
EAD Preparedness webinar 2: waste disposal

WHEN: Monday 20 November

TIME: 10 – 11 am


Agriculture service providers, industry bodies, agencies, and councils are invited to Agriculture Victoria’s webinar series on Emergency Animal Disease (EAD) Preparedness.

During the webinar series, expert speakers from Agriculture Victoria will present important topics, including current risk outlook for an EAD incursion, key response activities following an EAD detection and the importance of farm biosecurity planning.

You are encouraged to attend the webinars to learn what you can do to help protect Victoria’s livestock industries and raise awareness within your organisation and support your community. Please extend this invitation to other relevant people in your organisation.

Webinar 2 – waste disposal

If an EAD outbreak is declared, Agriculture Victoria is responsible for the destruction and disposal of animal carcasses as required, including those that can be buried on-farm.

To eradicate an EAD, it is important to quickly dispose of carcasses after they are destroyed, as well as dispose any infected animal products, materials and wastes, as soon as possible, to reduce the risk of the disease spreading.

It is important that disposal is done in a way that minimises the spread of disease and any adverse effects on the environment, public health and the community.

On-farm burial is the first preference where possible, as it removes the risk of spreading the disease that may occur if carcasses and other products were taken off-farm for disposal.

The extent to which on-farm burial can be used will depend on the size, location and characteristics of the farm and the number of carcasses that need to be buried.

Topics include:

  • Waste generated in an EAD emergency - amounts and distribution
  • Overview of waste disposal strategy
  • On-farm carcass burial guidance
  • Planning ahead for on-farm waste disposal sites using the Navigating Farm Development tool.


  • Bronwyn Green, Project Director, EAD Waste Disposal
  • Ann McDowell, Agriculture Victoria, Agriculture Sector Development Officer.
Pyrenees and Smeaton BestWool/BestLamb Group info session

The Pyrenees and Smeaton BestWool/BestLamb groups invite you to attend 1 of 2 sessions.

Come along and hear about the new ePacks. 

Bring your device, smart phone, tablet or laptop. John Cox from AWEX will assist you to login, create a farm account and be job ready for next shearing.

Coopers Animal Health Advisor Rachael Holmes will explain their new product Flexolt, the first oral lice treatment for sheep.

Hear from Neil James from Agriculture Victoria on how to become a group member.

Option 1

WHEN: Monday 20 November

TIME: 7 pm

LOCATION: Creswick Tennis Centre

Option 2

WHEN: Tuesday 21 November

TIME: 7 pm



RSVP By Friday 17 November.

For more information contact Neil James, Agriculture Victoria, Ballarat on 0417 353 929 or email 

Creating an animal health plan for cattle – Colac and Penshurst
creating an animal health plan for cattle

Join Agriculture Victoria Veterinarian Officer Dr Hannah Manning for a free workshop.

At this interactive workshop you will identify local health issues and learn about their prevention and treatment option solutions to create an animal health plan for your herd. 

An animal health plan is an important tool for farmers to minimise biosecurity risks and increase animal performance.

Workshop topics:

  • identify local animal health issues and solutions to prevent and treat
  • create an animal health plan
  • find out how your animal health plan is part of your biosecurity plan
  • learn about what records you need to keep and the systems you can use to comply with regulation and the Livestock Production Assurance program.


Date: Thursday 9 November

Time: 8:30 am – 12 pm

Where: Penshurst Memorial Hall.



Date: Tuesday 28 November

Time: 10 am – 2 pm

Where: Colac Bowling Club, Cnr Moore and Armstrong Streets.


For more information contact Hannah Manning Livestock Industry Development Officer, on 0400 532 595 or email.

Exploring Exports – Geelong

WHEN: Wednesday 8 November

TIME: 10 am – 3 pm

WHERE: Geelong


Ready to grow your agri-food business by exploring export opportunities but not sure where to start? Or have you had a bit of export experience but want to take it further?

Agriculture Victoria is delivering a series of in-person workshops to support agri-food and beverage SMEs to navigate the pathway to export.

By the end of the workshop, you can expect to:

  • understand the key steps of the export process
  • have identified relevant export risks and ways to protect your business
  • know how to approach enquiries from international buyers
  • have heard from experienced agri-food exporters about how they identified demand and have built sustainable international partnerships
  • have a plan for your next steps on the pathway to export.

Agriculture Victoria is partnering with Shirley Ng from the Australian Industry (Ai) Group to provide tailored, agri-food and beverage specific export information to support your exporting journey.

The workshop is free to attend for 1 attendee per business, and places are limited. A light lunch will be provided.

For more information, contact Alice Ritchie at or call 0429 386 781.

MLA Bendigo Update
MLA updates 23 November 2023 Bendigo, Victoria

Agriculture Victoria will be at the MLA Update in Bendigo.

DATE:  Thursday 23 November

WHERE:  Fosterville Gold Exhibition Centre at the Bendigo Showgrounds, 42 – 72 Holmes Road, Bendigo, Victoria

TIME:  From 9 am to 6:30 pm, with the plenary session starting at 10 am.

The MLA Annual General Meeting will also take place at this event from 3:30 pm

Cost: This event is free to attend, but registration is necessary.

Find out more at the MLA website.

Australian Women in Agriculture 2023 Conference
australian women in agriculture 2023 conference seed to success

The Australian Women in Agriculture National Conference is coming to Bendigo in November.

Please join us to celebrate the role of women in the agricultural industry. The conference provides a platform for women to connect, learn, and grow.

A variety of speakers that will inform, influence, innovate and inspire.

  • Friday 24 November gala dinner
  • Friday afternoon will kick off with drinks and canapes from 5 pm and then roll into a gala dinner from 6 pm
  • Saturday 25 November conference 9:30 am to 2:30 pm.

The conference features inspiring speakers, informative workshops, and networking opportunities, fostering a sense of community and support among women in agriculture.

It addresses important topics such as leadership, sustainable farming practices, and personal growth.

Ultimately, the Women in Agriculture Conference is a testament to the resilience, innovation, and influence of women in shaping the future of agriculture.


  • Full package (Friday and Saturday) $180
  • Networking evening and gala dinner (Friday 24) $85
  • Conference (Saturday 25) $110
  • AWiA members - 10% discount on ticket prices!

Tickets at:

For more information visit

Sustainable Dairies Program

WestVic Dairy, Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CMA) and Agriculture Victoria are conducting a 4–day workshop including a Fertsmart workshop to better understand nutrient budgeting and management, including effluent use and storage.

Participants will receive 5 free soil tests and 2 free effluent tests.

Results from these tests will be used to create comprehensive nutrient and effluent use plans, including farm maps outlining nutrient status, soil types, management zones and application areas.


  • Day 1 – 12 December
  • Day 2 – 13 December
  • Day 3 and 4 – February 2024.

Time: 10 am – 2:30 pm

Location: Timboon – to be confirmed.

For more information contact Libby Swayn on 0459 612 681 or

2023/2024 State and Territory Landcare Award

Nominations for the 2023/2024 State and Territory Landcare Awards are now open!

Now in its 32nd year, the State and Territory Landcare Awards stand as a prestigious biennial national Landcare Awards program.

The objective is to honour individuals, groups and organisations that are making outstanding contributions to caring for the environment in their local communities for the benefit of all Australians today, and for generations to come.

In each state and territory, the Landcare Awards will be granted to recognise the achievements that encompass climate action, environmental leadership, sustainable agriculture, First Nations, Women in landcare, youth, Coastcare and children.

Nominating is free. You can nominate yourself, or you can nominate someone you know who should be recognised for their work to restore, enhance and protect the natural environment in their community. 

Find out more from the Landcare Australia website.

Moyne Shire - Make It Work Program
make it work

Make It Work is a collaboration between Commerce Moyne and Moyne Shire Council, the program aims to assist local business address the current worker shortage.

Make It Work has a growing database with over 100 people who are willing to work, some for a few months at a time while they travel through the region, some for longer periods.

The easy-to-use database can be filtered by industry, you can view each worker’s experience, qualifications, and contact information.

Many of the workers have expressed interest in agricultural work, they come with experience in various trades, and hold many licenses and certificates need for work on the land.

An added benefit of the Make It Work program is that subsidised site fees are available at six of the Moyne Shire’s Caravan Parks to help accommodate your new workers.

To start viewing and connecting with these willing workers, register today at Make It Work Program  Commerce Moyne.

Raising the Roof 2024 – save the date
raising the roof 2024 save the date, hunter valley NSW

Raising the Roof, the Australian dairy industry’s only major event which focuses specifically on intensive farm systems, will be held in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales from 27–29 February,2024.

WHEN: 27 – 29 February, 2024

WHERE: Hunter Valley, New South Wales

Tickets on sale soon.

For more information email

Australian Dairy Conference - February 2024

Australia’s premier dairy event will return to the Victorian capital of Melbourne in February 2024 from 12–14 February, 2024.

Program details and more information to be released throughout 2023.

Find out more here.

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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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