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Barwon South-West Ag news
Thursday 18 April 2024
In this edition:
Supporting biosecurity in Timor-Leste and Victoria
collage of people working in biosecurity exercises in Timor Leste

Five Agriculture Victoria staff have returned from Timor-Leste, where they gained valuable experience in managing and preparing for emergency animal diseases as part of the Victorian Government’s animal health partnership with the neighbouring country.

This is the second year of a 5-year, $3.5 million program funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) for Agriculture Victoria to share biosecurity expertise and training opportunities with scientists, technicians, and farmers in Timor-Leste.

Agriculture Victoria Research Leader Professor Grant Rawlin said in each visit, a new group of staff will gain field experience with diseases that aren't present in Australia.

‘Through this partnership we’re able to learn a lot from Timor-Leste about diseases that aren't present in Victoria, and gain real, on-the-ground experience,’ Professor Rawlin said.

This visit was the first of a new series of exchanges which will see 3 rotating groups of Animal Health Officers travel to Timor-Leste twice per year.

During the 3 week visit in March, the 5 Agriculture Victoria staff participated with Timor-Leste staff in hands-on training, joined a foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) simulation exercise, and worked with communities on buffalo milking and minimising risks of brucellosis.

This builds on significant work since the 2019 outbreak of African Swine Fever in Timor-Leste, where Agriculture Victoria veterinary team members supported the response and formed ongoing partnerships.

Since then, the partnership has deepened, with the Agriculture Victoria research team continuing to train local veterinarians to use diagnostic tools, including a real-time method for detecting different microbial agents in animal samples, and a portable test for pathogenic viruses.

Suzanne Wilson-Uilelea, Chargé d'affaires at the Australian Embassy, Timor-Leste said ‘Australia is proud to partner with Timor-Leste to improve biosecurity and animal health.’

‘This program is helping smallholder farmers to protect their valuable livestock assets and improve their livelihoods and food security.’

These skills will support Timor-Leste’s animal health and biosecurity initiatives, ensuring the nation can respond to potential disease outbreaks.

The program also strengthens biosecurity across the region, helping to safeguard Australia from exotic animal diseases.

Biosecurity Basics Episode 1 - Erica Smith and Richard Smith
agvic talk listen now

Episode 1: Biosecurity Basics with Erica Smith and Richard Smith

We all play a role in keeping Victoria safe from biosecurity risks.

Erica Smith from Glenstrae Highlands has implemented simple, yet effective steps to enhance her on-farm biosecurity.

Caring for her highland cows, her property and, in turn, her neighbours. 

Agriculture Victoria’s Richard Smith discusses how you can reduce biosecurity risks to your property.

🎧 🎧 Listen to Biosecurity Basics via the AgVic website.

After the Flood podcast series - episode 7
agriculture victoria agvic talk

Episode 7: Active Farmers: Building strong bodies and stronger communities with Claire Harrison

Treat your body like you treat your tractor.

That's what Claire Harrison tells the Active Farmers who come to her group fitness classes in rural Victoria.

Your farm can’t run if your tractor breaks down, it’s the same with your body.

With floods and other stresses hitting farmers, hear how Claire’s classes have become more than just an opportunity to exercise.

🎧 🎧 Listen via the AgVic website

AgTech podcast - AgTech Innovators Season 2 Episode 5
agtech innovators cultivating success with agtech with paul voutier

Episode 5: Cultivating success for AgTech with Paul Voutier

Building a startup and cultivating success.

Discover how Ambit Robotics is using generative AI imaging to help growers understand prospective yields and improve production.

Paul Voutier shares valuable insights about using robotics in agriculture in this episode of AgTech Innovators.

🎧🎧Listen online via the AgVic website

More support for communities to tackle pests

The Victorian Government is empowering local community groups to help protect their farms, local environment and the community from the threat of weeds and pests.

Minister for Agriculture Ros Spence recently awarded grants totalling $500,000 to 16 Victorian organisations as part of the Partnership Against Pests Program – which delivers industry and community-led actions that target weeds and pests in key agricultural areas.

Established weeds and pest animals damage our landscapes, impact agricultural production, are a risk to international market access and damage culturally sensitive sites.

They are estimated to cost Victorian farmers $869 million every year in management and lost production costs.

Grants delivered through the Partnership Against Pests Program will ensure the people most affected by widely established invasive species are central to identifying problems, creating strategies and solutions that help limit their spread and reduce their impact.

Projects being funded will improve local knowledge, capability and encourage collective efforts to manage local established weeds and pests.

Stawell’s Project Platypus group will use their grant of $37,450 to help the local community to control established weeds and pests that threaten the district around Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park.

Workshops will bring together experts with community and deliver locally targeted resource packs.

Training for Barengi Gadjin Land Council staff will also be supported as part of this project.

This follows $250,000 already awarded through the program to support the work of Victoria’s 4 Community Pest Management Groups - the Victorian Rabbit Action Network, the Victorian Blackberry Taskforce, the Victorian Serrated Tussock Working Party and the Victorian Gorse Taskforce.

Click here for more information about the Partnership Against Pests Grants Program, including a full list of Round 2 grant recipients.

Interstate grain and hay must pass Vic biosecurity laws

Jim Moran Victorian Grains Industry Biosecurity Officer – Agriculture Victoria

Livestock producers are reminded they must adhere to biosecurity laws when importing grain and fodder from interstate.

Varying weather conditions since late 2023 are likely to have impacted the quality and quantity of available local fodder across much of eastern Australia, resulting in livestock producers sourcing interstate fodder to meet ongoing feed demand.

Fodder movement laws are in place to prevent the spread of weeds, pests, and diseases beyond known infestations and onto your paddocks.

To mitigate these threats, Agriculture Victoria administers legislation (Plant Biosecurity Act 2010), aimed at preventing the introduction, establishment and spread of biosecurity threats.

This legislation describes restrictions on the entry into Victoria of material which is a host of a specified pest or disease.

There are penalties for non-compliance with the Plant Biosecurity Act, so please check all the biosecurity requirements that apply to the importation of grain, fodder and other livestock feed products in the Victorian Plant Quarantine Manual (PQM).

In some cases, the consignment will need to travel with a Plant Health Certificate (PHC) issued by Biosecurity Officers in the source state.

This certificate assures Victoria the prescribed conditions for entry, including sampling, testing, inspection, and other analyses, have been conducted and the consignment is free from risky pests and diseases.

If inspections and certification are required, there will be additional costs beyond the quoted price for the product.

An example – cereal grain and hay for feeding livestock

The entry or importation of cereal grain (wheat, barley, oats) and lucerne, pasture, and cereal hay into Victoria for livestock feed is prohibited unless it meets Condition 20A of the Victorian PQM.

This condition states:

  • it must originate from a state or territory free from Annual Ryegrass Toxicity (ARGT), including Queensland, Northern Territory, and Tasmania, where the respective state government has issued an area freedom certificate for ARGT.
  • if it comes from New South Wales, Western Australia, and South Australia, it will need to travel with a Plant Health Certificate (PHC) issued by Biosecurity Officers in that state. This assures Victoria the consignment is free from ryegrass containing the bacterium that causes ARGT.
  • if grown or packed on a property within 25 kilometres of a green snail infestation, it is prohibited under Condition 23D in the Victorian PQM. A Plant Health Certificate (PHC) or Plant Health Assurance Certificate (PHAC) must accompany the consignment to certify compliance with this entry condition.

The entry or importation of grain legumes (chickpeas, faba beans, field peas, lentils and lupins), from any state, into Victoria for stock feed only, is allowed without restrictions.

Related biosecurity matters

  • It is important to note importing seed into Victoria for planting involves further and different quarantine conditions to be met and may well be prohibited, depending on the origin state and species of plant.
  • The Catchment and Land Protection (CaLP) Act states that you can’t bring noxious weeds into Victoria and that anything contaminated with noxious weeds are prohibited. Information about weeds that should be vigilantly monitored for can be found here.
  • Be rigorous with your interrogation about the quality, integrity, providence and composition of the feed you’re buying and importing. You don’t want to import new problems such as noxious and problematic invasive weeds.
  • If possible, feed your livestock only in designated quarantine paddocks, where any potential issues can be contained and are easier to look for. Thereafter, be on the lookout for anything new or suspicious that germinates in your paddock and have it identified and eradicated quickly.
  • Practical and inexpensive farm biosecurity tactics are found at Farm Biosecurity and Biosecurity Agriculture Victoria.

For more information on the biosecurity entry conditions, when importing feed for your livestock from interstate, and for any other biosecurity query please contact Agriculture Victoria to speak to a Biosecurity officer on 136 186.

Applications open for Livestock Advisory Committees
applications open for Livestock Advisory Committees, Agriculture Victoria

Are you a skilled sheep, goat or cattle industry professional looking to grow your networks?

The Sheep and Goat and Cattle Compensation Advisory Committees are recruiting!

We’re looking for applicants with knowledge across a range of expertise including:

  • the sheep, goat or cattle allied industries, including across the supply chain
  • biosecurity or market access
  • quality assurance and food safety
  • finance, legal practice or business management
  • agricultural, animal or veterinary science
  • public policy.

For more details and to apply visit:

Cattle Compensation Advisory Committee 

Sheep and Goat Compensation Advisory Committee

Recording: Victoria's seasonal climate outlook and soil moisture update for autumn
agriculture victoria climate webinars

In this webinar recording, Seasonal Risk Agronomist Dale Grey provides an update on Victoria's climate outlook for autumn.

Dale focuses on the current seasonal climate outlook and climate driver activity.

Dale Boyd provides a seasonal update of the cropping and soil moisture conditions as measured by the Agriculture Victoria moisture probe network.

This includes a review of the distribution of summer rain and how the season is tracking compared to last year and other years in the monitoring period of the probes.

View the recording

Password: Climate

This webinar was originally presented on Wednesday 17 April 2024.

All climate webinar recordings can be found on our website.

Fresh insights on food safety: A research survey of fresh produce stakeholders in Australia and New Zealand

The Fresh Produce Safety Centre (FPSC) - ANZ invites you to participate in our research survey aimed at improving food safety standards within the Australian and New Zealand Fresh Produce Industry.

Your participation will help us to better understand Industry needs, gather insights, and identify opportunities for outreach, support and research.

By sharing your experiences and perspectives, you can help us in tailoring food safety engagement strategies to meet the specific needs of growers, food safety managers, supply chain stakeholders, researchers, and experts.

Together, we can strengthen collaboration, elevate industry standards, and ensure the safety and quality of fresh produce for consumers.

Help us to help you by sharing your insights – we are eager to hear from you.

Thank you for your participation and commitment to building a safe future for our industry.

The research survey includes 25 questions and will take approximately 15 minutes to complete.

Calf breeding survey
a brown calf with an ear tag

This survey about the Australian genetic evaluation system will help Data Gene plan for the delivery of breeding values (ABVs) that improve calf health.

Calf ABVs are still in the research stage but early results suggest that it is possible and practical to breed for healthier calves.

This survey asks questions about your operation, your breeding trait priorities and how you would like calf breeding values to be presented. It will take 10-15 minutes to complete.

Complete the survey here.

Fox and wild dog bounty
fox and wild dog bounty has resumed

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.

In case you missed it

Biosecurity basics covered in new podcast season

We all play a role in keeping Victoria safe from biosecurity risks.

To help all Victorians play their role, Agriculture Victoria’s new podcast season Biosecurity Basics takes a deep dive into the fundamentals of biosecurity, including practical things listeners can put in place to play their part in protecting our animals and environment.


Interstate used grain machinery must meet Victorian biosecurity laws

Importing second hand farm machinery such as tractors, seeders, sprayers, harvesters, baling or storage equipment from interstate can provide an alternative to buying brand new.

However, there are a few matters to consider before you buy.


2024 crop disease guides available online

Farmers can now download the 2024 editions of the cereal and pulse disease guides to help make informed decisions around disease management.


EOI for on-farm demonstration opportunity – now open

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

Agriculture Victoria, in partnership with Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), is conducting a new producer demonstration program with the opportunity to establish five new on-farm demonstration projects.


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.

Farm Business Success Workshop Series - Ararat, Colac and Hamilton
Learn from Pinion Advisory's Clinton and Esmee

Understanding finance can be overwhelming and this workshop will help farm businesses have a better understanding of their financial position.

The workshop will support farmers to build skills, knowledge, and confidence to manage their farm business finances.

The workshop will be co-delivered by Pinion Advisory’s Clinton Emslie and Esmée de Looff who have significant agricultural and agri-finance experience.


  • WHEN: Tuesday 30 April
  • TIME: 9:30 am - 3 pm
  • WHERE: Ararat, Agriculture Victoria Office, 233-239 Barkly Street.


  • WHEN: Wednesday 1 May
  • TIME: 9:30 am - 3 pm
  • WHERE: Colac Bowls Club 35 Moore Street, Colac.


  • WHEN: Thursday 2 May
  • TIME: 9:30 am - 3 pm
  • WHERE: Agriculture Victoria, Hamilton Centre, 915 Mount Napier Road, Hamilton.


Places are limited. This is the 3rd workshop of a 4-part series, and all are welcome.

If you have attended 3 or more workshops you are eligible for a 1-on-1 chat with a farm business consultant.

Find out more at the Agriculture Victoria events page.

Women and Leadership scholarships
women in farming and agriculture, development scholarships availabe

Advance your career with a Farming and Agriculture Sector women’s leadership scholarship.

Partial scholarships of $1,000 - $5,000 are available to help women in select industries participate in our world-class leadership courses.

Courses are available for women at all levels.

Closing date extended: Apply by Friday 26 April.

Enquire at Farming and Agriculture - Women & Leadership Australia  or call 1300 938 571.

Hamilton - stock handling workshop

Join us for a day in the yards with Byron O’Keefe discussing the key principles of how improving your stockman handling has a positive influence on animal performance, health and grazing management.

There will be practical demonstrations of best practice cattle handling and an interactive discussion throughout the day.

This is the 4th workshop in the Farm Business Success workshop series.

If you have attended 3 of these sessions, you are eligible for a 1 on 1 session with a farm business consultant.

DATE: Tuesday 14 May

TIME: 9:30 am - 3 pm


Animal health plans for sheep - Timboon

Join us and sheep veterinarian Dr Ben Blomfield from the Mackinnon Project 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 flock.

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

The workshop will discuss local animal health issues, solutions, prevention and treatment.

Each farmer will create their own animal health plan.

Participants will also learn more about the legal requirements of record keeping.

DATE: Wednesday 15 May

TIME: 10 am - 2 pm


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 will 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.

BestWool/Best Lamb and BetterBeef Conference - save the date
Save the date bestwool bestlamb and better beef 2024

Plans are underway for the Agriculture Victoria BestWool/BestLamb and BetterBeef Conference and dinner to be held in a new location this year in Ballarat on 19-20 June.

The conference will be held over 2 days, 19 June BestWool/BestLamb and BetterBeef on 20 June.

Further details will be coming as plans are finalised.

2024 Landcare Forum - Bendigo

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

Find out more at

SAVE THE DATE: Livestock Conference 2024
Livestock 2024 Conference banner image

The Southern Australia Livestock Research Council (SALRC) is excited to announce their third biennial Livestock Conference with the overarching theme of Environmental challenges and opportunities for Australian livestock industries.

Sessions will include keynote speakers and group workshop activities and cover the following:

  • improving land, air and water
  • solutions for human capacity
  • economic considerations and market impacts.

Click here for more information about the upcoming conference.

If you would like to register for conference updates you can join the mailing list 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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