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Gippsland Ag News
Thursday, 15 December 2022
In this edition:

Thank you for your support and interest throughout 2022.

Wishing you a restful and happy holiday season.

Gippsland Ag News will be back on deck on Thursday, 2 February 2023.

Flood information
Sign up for the flood recovery newsletter
Hay bales in water

We are providing regular updates on upcoming events, past webinar recordings, resources and support available to flood-affected Victorians via our flood recovery, events and resources newsletter.

Sign up HERE to receive the newsletter.

Increased risk of Japanese encephalitis
Image of two pigs in hay. Image text reads Japanese encephalitis, flood waters have increased the risk of Japanese encephalitis for animal health

Flooding and heavy rainfall have increased the risk of a range of mosquito-borne diseases in Victoria, including Japanese encephalitis (JE).

JE can cause illness in susceptible animal species including horses and pigs.

In pigs, the most common clinical signs are mummified and stillborn or weak piglets while horses usually show no signs of illness but can present with fever, jaundice, lethargy, neurological signs and anorexia.

For mosquito control advice visit the Farm Biosecurity website.

Plus, for information about protecting yourself from JE, please follow the Victorian Department of Health or visit Better Health.

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Financial support for flood-affected farmers
hay rolls submerged in floodwater; text: Primary producer recovery grant available now

A support package is available for flood-affected farmers:

  • Primary Producer Recovery Grants: Up to $75,000 grants to cover the cost of recovery and get businesses up and running again. Note: This replaces the $10,000 Primary Producer Flood Clean-Up, Relief Grants announced on 19 October. Producers that have received a Primary Producer Flood Clean-Up Relief Grant of $10,000 can now apply for up to a further $65,000 under the Primary Producer Recovery Grant, bringing the total to $75,000.
  • Rural Landholder Grants: Up to $25,000 grants to cover the costs of disaster impacts for small-scale producers.
  • Primary Producer Concessional Loans: Up to $250,000 to restore or replace damaged equipment and infrastructure, or to cover the short-term business expenses.
  • Primary Producer Transport Subsidies: Up to $15,000 to support the transport of emergency fodder or stock drinking water, and the movement of livestock.

To apply for support or for more information, visit the Rural Finance website

Rural Financial Counselling Service
Map of Victoria

The Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) has an experienced team ready to assist primary producers and small rural businesses in recovery planning.

Additional funding has been made available for these services as a result of the floods, and the significant impact on the agricultural sector.

Financial counsellors can help develop financial forecasts and business plans required for lenders or investors, plus connect with support agencies and services.

RFCS provides free financial counselling to farmers and small related businesses who are in, or at risk of, financial hardship. They can also assist with filling in forms and grant applications.

For more information or to book an appointment find your nearest RFCS HERE - Rural Financial Counselling Service locations | National Emergency Management Agency (

Taking care of yourself
Farmer health banner image

Have you been taking care of yourself?

During an emergency, people tend to exist in a survival state to get through the incident, using up considerable emotional reserves. 

If you’ve been working hard for long periods, missing meals and sleep, take some time to take care of yourself.

Recognise the signs of stress and reach out for support if you need it.

For a comprehensive list of health support agencies, click here

Practical tips for flood-affected farmers
Image of flooded paddock with hay rolls submerged

Go to our website for a range of practical flood recovery information for farmers, and helpful information on what to do immediately after a flood, including the following:

Managing animals in wet conditions

Floods resource directory                                                

Check out the following flood recovery webinar recordings:

More flood recovery information is available on the Agriculture Victoria website.                            

Milking the Weather – summer edition available now
Cows grazing in a paddock

Milking the Weather provides seasonal and climate risk information for the dairy industry four times a year at the beginning of summer, autumn, winter and spring.

Information includes regional round ups for the previous season, seasonal climate outlook summaries, strategies on managing the season ahead and case studies on farmers managing climate risk successfully on their farms.
The summer edition features:

  • the Victorian seasonal climate summary for spring and the summer outlook
  • farmer case studies with Hans van Wees from Tinamba in the Macalister Irrigation District in Central Gippsland, Craig Dwyer from Bullaharre in South-West Victoria, and Brett Findlay from Towong Upper in North-East Victoria
  • tips on managing through summer
  • the latest seasonal soil moisture condition assessment.

Read the summer edition of Milking the Weather here, download a copy and subscribe to future editions.

Be aware of the pitfalls of the Ruminant Feed Ban
Sow with piglets

Dr Jeff Cave, Senior Veterinary Officer

Most producers are already fully aware of the Ruminant Feed Ban, which has been in place in Australia for over 25 years.

The Ruminant Feed Ban is the banning of the feeding of Restricted Animal Material (RAM) to ruminants e.g. sheep and cattle.

You will see reference to the Ruminant Feed Ban and the presence or absence of Restricted Animal Material on the labelling of any bag of stock feed.

The Ruminant Feed Ban was introduced to help ensure Australia’s ongoing freedom from ‘Mad Cow disease’ also known as Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). The ban ensures that even if the BSE disease agent were ever introduced to Australia it would not be able to establish a cycle of infection and result in disease.

In other words, the Ruminant Feed Ban is protecting public and animal health, and the interests of our export trade. Detections of BSE overseas have led to the imposition of trading restrictions with significant detrimental impacts on the affected farmers and the industry.

Restricted Animal Material is defined as any material taken from a vertebrate animal including meat, meat and bone meal, blood meal, fish meal, poultry meal and feather meal, manure, and compounded feeds made from these products. Tallow, gelatin, milk, and milk products are not considered to be Restricted Animal Material.

Usually, it is clear whether a livestock feed has Restricted Animal Material that must not be fed to ruminants simply by reading the feed’s labelling.

Unfortunately, there have been instances where producers have inadvertently exposed their livestock to Restricted Animal Material.

The scenarios have included exposure of livestock to piles of poultry litter, and to offal, plus feeding bakery or restaurant waste or surplus, e.g., livestock waste vegetable oil that contained meat. All these scenarios later affected the producer’s ability to trade that livestock.

The take-home message is to consider whether any new source of feed you are planning to use contains Restricted Animal Material before introducing it to your livestock. 

For further advice please contact your local Agriculture Victoria Veterinary or Animal Health Officer.

Tips from farmers: keeping a seasonal workforce safe
graphic with two farmers and a tractor

Are you employing workers from the Pacific Islands, or do you know someone who is?

Our state’s seasonal workforce is vital for harvest, and we want to keep everyone safe and operational during this busy time.
Seasonal workers can face unique risks on farms, so Victoria’s Pacific Island community has worked with us to create straightforward safety resources.

The videos, posters, and guides can help with induction and training, and are available in five languages:

  • Bislama
  • Fijian
  • Tongan
  • Samoan
  • English.

View the resources and share the link to help keep seasonal workers safe.

Tips from farmers: keeping a seasonal workforce safe
Jon Van Popering oversees all Australian operations at Seeka Australia, including nine orchards and two post-harvest facilities scattered through the Bunbartha area, just north of Shepparton.
Seeka employs a seasonal workforce from a diverse range of backgrounds and nationalities.

Jon approaches induction and training as if all staff are brand new, even if they’ve worked on other farms.

This means everyone receives thorough and consistent information.

Watch the video to hear our Q&A with John, or visit our website for more tips.

Recovering bogged farm machinery

Have a plan for recovery before starting work in the paddock:

  • check conditions before entering areas where the ground could be boggy
  • assess the situation: can you wait for drier conditions? can you dig out the farm machinery?
  • think about maps to show boggy areas to contractors and employees
  • reduce or remove weight from the machinery
  • use suitable recovery equipment – check the ratings of straps and shackles so you know the working load limit (WLL) and break strength, and how to interpret for recovery
  • minimise people in the recovery area
  • check the communication between machinery operators, for example, use a phone or UHF radio
  • use appropriate anchor points
  • consider where (if any) weight can be added to the recovery vehicle
  • consider which direction to tow the bogged machinery
  • consider how the recovery vehicle will be positioned
  • place a dampener onto the recovery equipment.

More information on recovering bogged machinery is available on the WorkSafe website.

Chemical safety after floods

Landholders in flood-affected areas may face a range of issues related to the storage and use of chemicals:

  • Weed, pest and fungicide spraying may increase after floods. There may also be increased need for chemicals used on livestock, for diseases such as flystrike. Follow the label and ensure you don’t use chemicals past their expiry date.
  • Floodwaters may result in different pests or diseases to those you usually manage. To minimise risks please only use chemicals according to the label instructions.
  • Comply with any “DO NOT” statements, including those relating to spraying near waterways or on saturated ground.
  • Be cautious when using spraying equipment on flood-affected areas as it may be less stable than normal.
  • As large areas are saturated there may be an increased need for aerial spraying.
  • If chemicals are contaminated or damaged due to flood waters, dispose of them appropriately e.g. via subsidised programs like ChemClear (contact 1800 008 182).

For more information on dealing with floods visit

Survey on control methods of livestock pests and parasites

Megan Lewis, a PhD student at the University of Western Australia. is researching control methods of pest and parasites of livestock used by farmers across Australia.

She has recently launched a national survey aimed at dairy, beef and sheep farmers.

To learn more, click HERE.

Contact Megan on 0460 649 147 or

Free biosecurity learning modules for farmers
Image of a finger pointing at a digital screen; Text; Biosecurity eLearning modules for farmers

Farmers across Victoria will benefit from a series of free online learning modules, helping them protect their animals from diseases and biosecurity threats.

Available through Agriculture Victoria’s website, the three learning modules have been released: foot and mouth disease awareness, lumpy skin disease awareness and come clean, stay clean, go clean – when visiting farms.

Each module should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.

For further information about the online learning modules CLICK HERE.

Livestock Biosecurity Funds Grants – applications close 23 December
Face of a lamb; text: Livestock Biosecurity Grants Funds - closing soon

There’s still time to apply for our Livestock Biosecurity Funds Grant Program.

Victoria’s Livestock Compensation Committees are seeking projects that boost biosecurity for the cattle, sheep and goat, swine and honey bee industries.

Applications close Friday 23 December. 

Discover more about the grants on the Agriculture Victoria website

East Gippsland Revised Draft Rural Land Use Strategy

East Gippsland Shire Council's revised draft Rural Land Use Strategy is open now for community and stakeholder feedback between 16 November 2022 and 3 February 2023. 

The details including how to make a submission can be found at Rural Land Use Strategy - Final Draft | Your Say East Gippsland.

Based on feedback from previous community consultation in 2021, the revised draft RLUS has been amended to improve readability of the document, update statistical evidence (where available) and refine proposed zone and overlay controls.

The revised draft RLUS aims to provide a framework for consistent Council decision-making that:

  • Identifies and protects agricultural land
  • Directs residential development to towns and settlements
  • Supports rural tourism and rural industries in appropriate locations
  • Recognises the need to support population retention in remote settlements
  • Protects our natural environment and manages risks from natural hazards.

Council is also preparing a Housing and Settlement Strategy (H&SS) that will be available for community feedback at the same time as the RLUS.  The H&SS includes an assessment of the need for residential development in the Rural Living Zone. Additional information regarding the H&SS can be found at Housing and Settlement Strategy - Discussion Paper | Your Say East Gippsland.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the revised draft Rural Land Use Strategy or Housing and Settlement Strategy, please contact East Gippsland Shire Council at

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.

Traceability Hub Launch

Are you an agribusiness looking to build or improve your supply chain?

Join us for the online launch of the Agriculture Victoria Traceability Information Hub.

Where: Online
When: Friday 16 December from 10-11 am

The Hub is a new resource for industry to access traceability information. It provides a central, online place to inform, educate and connect businesses along the supply chain.

Register NOW to attend.

RESCHEDULED – Energy Webinar – Smarter electricity management: Doing more with less
Picture of man adjusting digital wall display

Due to technical issues this webinar has been rescheduled for Monday, 19 December.

Do you want to find more practical ways to reduce your electricity costs?  We are hosting an online forum to explore practical measures for increasing energy productivity and reducing your electricity bill.

When: Monday, 19 December, 11.30 am.

Smarter electricity management – see how your smart meter data can help you find for your farm (and home):

  • cheaper electricity deals
  • awareness of your electricity tariff to save money
  • how best to use solar and batteries
  • energy saving opportunities.

Join our webinar to find out all this and more money saving ideas.
Energy expert David Coote will be presenting on energy saving opportunities and best use of solar and batteries and much more.

Please register HERE or contact Kelly Wickham for information on 0456 772 641 or

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Contacting Agriculture Victoria

Call 136 186 from anywhere in Australia for the cost of a local call (except for mobiles and public telephones).

If you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment contact the National Relay Service on 133 677 or

All contact points can be found at:

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