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Barwon South-West Ag news
Thursday 21 March 2024
In this edition:
Support and resources for fire affected farmers
what to do after a bushfire

Agriculture Victoria is working with Victorian farmers and industry to prepare for, respond to and recover from natural disasters, including fire, floods and storms.

This includes delivering technical information and supporting events to support farm business recovery on topics such as:

  • grazing, cropping and pasture management
  • irrigation and horticulture system rehabilitation
  • soil erosion management
  • land management
  • animal health and nutrition
  • farm mapping and planning
  • water quality
  • weed management.


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.

After the Flood podcast series - episode 5
agriculture victoria agvic talk

Episode 5 - Overcoming tragedy and shifting attitudes with Brad McEwan

Your mental health is important.

Some days are better than others, and we all need a helping hand sometimes.

Beyond Blue Ambassador, Brad McEwan, discusses how personal trauma can be the hardest part of recovering from a disaster and why a sense of community is important on this road to recovery.

🎧 🎧 Listen via the AgVic website

It's never you, until it is
its never you until it is worksafe victoria reducing workplace harm

Farmers urged to stay alert to risks of fatigue in danger period.

Sheep and cropping farmer Jack Armstrong knows that in agriculture it pays to be proactive with safety, particularly when it comes to managing the risks of fatigue during peak periods.

Read the media release here.

Consultation on animal welfare laws - closing soon
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 three 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.

The consultation is open until Monday, 25 March.

For more information and to make a submission visit Engage Victoria.

Horticultural Netting Program
netting 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.

Future of Victoria's distillery industry in safe hands

Aspiring Victorian distillers now have the opportunity to benefit from a new pilot training program focused on cutting edge distillation techniques and industry safety as part of the $20 million Distillery Door Program.

The $1.2 million pilot education pathway for distillers is being delivered by the National Distilling Institute in collaboration with the Spirits Victoria Association and the Australian Distillers Association.

The initial courses will be a Certificate IV in Artisan Fermented Products and micro-credential courses for safety in distilleries.

The first session was held at Starward Distillery in Port Melbourne recently and will be followed by sessions at regional distilleries in Geelong, Ballarat, Mornington and the High Country throughout April.

Over the next 18 months, the first round of students will complete up to 22 different subjects where they will gain expertise in areas ranging from how to blend spirits and filter fermented beverages, to how to perform basic safety tests and control food contamination and spoilage.

Further development will involve a Certificate III in Food Processing (Distilling) and funding of up to $2000 per distillery for staff to attend other micro-credential courses.

Victoria is the distillery capital of the nation with more than 180 distillers that employ over 9,000 people in rewarding jobs across regional and metropolitan Victoria.

This program is part of the $20 million Distillery Door Program which promotes Victoria’s world-class distilling industry through supporting skills development, boosting visitor economy, improving infrastructure and safety, and increasing export capability.

AgTech podcast - AgTech Innovators Season 2 Episode 3
agtech innovators adventures in ag tech with sarah nolet

When Tenacious Ventures make an investment, they consider three crucial factors: the team, the technology, and the traction.

Co-founder Sarah Nolet says assessing these elements can be challenging, however, if they make the right choices, it can have a significant impact on the success of an AgTech startup. 

🎧🎧Listen online via the AgVic website

Reminder – phaseout of 3G network
a solar operated gateway camera

Victorian farmers are reminded of the upcoming phaseout of the 3G network.

Starting from 30 June the 3G network will be phased out in rural Victoria.

If you use devices that rely on a 3G SIM card for connectivity it's important to understand how this may impact your farm operations.

Reach out to your technology providers to ensure your devices are compatible with the upcoming changes.

Stay ahead of the transition to ensure seamless connectivity on your farm.

Whole farm planning course for fire affected farmers

Farmers affected by the recent Bayindeen – Rocky Road bushfire are invited to attend a 4 to 6 - week whole farm planning course at Beaufort starting on Thursday 11 April.

Agriculture Victoria Land Management Extension Officer Clem Sturmfels said the course has been specifically designed to assist farmers affected by the recent fires.

‘It offers participants a chance to get away from the farm, share their knowledge and ideas and prepare a new plan for the farm.

‘Whole farm planning (WFP) involves laying out your farm based on its natural features, soil, slope and climate.

‘A whole farm plan is a detailed map of a property showing features such as soil types, land classes, water supply, fencing and laneways’, Mr Sturmfels said.

Mr Sturmfels said the aim of WFP is to make farms more productive, efficient and sustainable whilst at the same time protecting natural assets such as the soil, water and the natural environment.

‘We have had very positive feedback from people who have completed the course, saying it helps them to re-design their paddocks, as well as sharing some time off the farm with others each week.’

He said participants who take part in the course will be given a large, laminated map of their farm as well as being offered a newly developed computer mapping program called QGIS My Farm Plan.

Date: starts Thursday 11 April

Time:   10 am – 3 pm

Where: Beeripmo Development Centre, 1 Lawerence Street, Beaufort

Register online

For more information contact Clem Sturmfels on 0429 018 879 or email.

Fox and wild dog bounty resumes
Bounty banner image

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.

In case you missed it

Applications are open for new members to join Victoria’s Biosecurity Reference Group.

Agriculture Victoria is renewing and expanding the membership of the Biosecurity Reference Group (BRG).

Members of the group will help guide the implementation of Victoria’s new Biosecurity Strategy, including where and how effort and resources will be invested.  

We are looking for diverse expertise from across Victoria’s biosecurity system, including Traditional Owners, the agricultural sector, supply chains, community and environment.

Submit your application to join the Biosecurity Reference Group today!

Applications close 5 pm Wednesday, 3 April.

Download the terms of reference and complete the application form at

Fall armyworm commands growers' attention

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.


Churchill Fellowships 2024 open

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?

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

Landcare - fire and gorse webinar
webinar fire and gorse tuesday 26 march 5:30 - 7pm

Register now for an upcoming webinar on fire and gorse, delivered in collaboration with Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action, CFA (Country Fire Authority) and the Victorian Gorse Taskforce.

WHEN: Tuesday, 26 March - 5:30 to 7 pm


The presentation will cover:

  • What exactly is gorse and where does it thrive?
  • Legal obligations surrounding gorse management
  • Understanding the fire risk associated with gorse
  • Effective control strategies for gorse control and/or eradication
  • Real-life case studies illustrating successful interventions.
Southern Farming Systems events

March 25 - Sheep Containment Workshop – Dunkeld

March 27 - Sheep Containment Workshop – Inverleigh

Find out more at

Calm the Farm event - Inverleigh
national centre for farmer health calm the farm

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 two-hour workshop that explores ways of reducing work-related stress.

Connect with other local farmers as you focus on practical solutions to improve job satisfaction and effectiveness for you and your team. Continue the conversation over a nutritious meal – ON US!

WHERE: Inverleigh Public Hall, 71 High Street, Inverleigh

WHEN: Tuesday 26 March

TIME: 5 pm for a 5:30 pm start, followed by dinner.

Shearer and wool handling training

The Australian Wool Innovation Limited (AWI) have released the upcoming shearer and wool handling training course schedule for 2024 that is fully funded by AWI and available for participants who meet certain criteria, with the following offered:

Novice Shearing and Wool Handling Course

This is a five-day practical shearing course for new entrant shearers to learn the skills required to be a professional shearer.

Improver School

This training is intended for those already working in industry and have experience in shearing. With limited spots available, it is recommended to register early.

If you are interested in attending any of the above courses, please contact the AWI team at

To view the full 2024 schedule visit the AWI website.

Understanding your farm business and farm finance - Colac

Beef and sheep producers in the Colac area are invited to a free farm business success workshop presented by Agriculture Victoria and Pinion Advisory.

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: Wednesday 1 May

TIME: 9:30 am - 3 pm

WHERE:  Colac Bowls Club, 35 Moore St, Colac


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

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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).

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All contact points can be found at:

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