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Barwon South-West Ag news
Thursday 6 June, 2024
In this edition:
Avian influenza - stay informed
report sick or dead birds, vicemergency 1800 226 226

Movement controls are in place to prevent the spread of avian influenza in the Golden Plains and Corangamite shires.

The controls restrict the movement of birds, poultry products, poultry feed and equipment on or off properties in designated areas.

This includes a:

  • Restricted Area that covers the impacted Meredith and Lethbridge properties and a broader Control Area buffer zone, which is bound by Bacchus Marsh Road in the east and the Colac–Ballarat Road on the western boundary is in place.
  • Restricted Area covering a 5 km radius around the Terang farm with a broader Control Area buffer zone covering a 15 km radius
  • housing requirement for all birds within these areas.

Stay up to date at

‘Late break’ change to Ballarat sheep and beef event

Agriculture Victoria and its conference partners have adjusted the program for the Ballarat-based BestWool/BestLamb and BetterBeef conferences on 19-20 June in response to seasonal challenges farmers are now facing.

Agriculture Victoria technical specialist Lyndon Kubeil said staff and consultants will be available throughout the conferences to assist farmers with feed budgeting.

‘We are keen to help farmers manage this drier season by supporting them to calculate feed requirements of their various classes of stock and work out how to forward plan a feeding program,' Mr Kubeil said.

‘This is a great opportunity to work through a customised feed budget for your farm.

‘Bring along your livestock information and feed on hand inventory to discuss with experts from 8:30 am on Wednesday before the conference starts, and throughout both days.’

The BestWool/BestLamb conference will also feature a panel session led by Dr Jason Trompf, founder of the ‘Lambs Alive’ program.

Joining Jason on the panel will be:

  • Dr Jane Gaussen, The Livestock Vet, discussing sheep health concerns for pregnant and lambing ewes such as hypocalcaemia and pregnancy toxaemia
  • Tim Leeming from Paradoo Prime presenting strategies for feeding lambing ewes, wet/ drying ewes at lamb marking and early weaning
  • Rob Inglis from Elders talking about the pros and cons of feeding maize to livestock.

Agriculture Victoria BetterBeef Leader Darren Hickey said renowned veterinarian Dr Jillian Kelly’s presentation will offer producers a better understanding of rumen function, and how to ensure stock achieve maintenance and growth targets.

‘This event presents a great opportunity to network with other farmers and industry experts and be across topical information relevant to producer needs’ Mr Hickey said.

Early bird ticket discounts have been extended on TryBooking to Friday 7 June.

See the Agriculture Victoria website events page for details on the conferences and to download the program.

Boosting winter growth
a measuring stick for nutrients in soil

Most of the state experienced an extremely dry autumn. When rain does fall, soil temperature may become the main factor limiting pasture growth.

Agriculture Victoria Livestock Industry Development Officer, Nick Linden said soil temperature, like moisture and fertility, plays a major role in controlling plant growth.

‘Covers will stop fixing much nitrogen below about 9 degrees which can provide some opportunities for response to urea.

‘Research in Tasmania shows that perennial ryegrass continues to grow down to about 5 degrees, while annual ryegrass as low as 2 degrees.

‘Australian phalaris has been shown to also grow down to about 5 degrees and a ‘guesstimate’ for more winter active cultivars is between 1.5 and 2 degrees lower,’ he said.

Mr Linden said urea and gibberellic acid (GA) provide options to increase pasture growth when nitrogen and/or soil temperature is limiting, on the proviso that good soil fertility, perennial pasture species and soil moisture are present.

‘GA is made naturally in plant roots during spring and stimulates shoot and cell elongation, promoting plant growth. The application of manufactured GA in winter stimulates plant growth and increases winter feed availability. 

‘GA should be applied when air temperature is between 5 and 15 degrees, when natural levels of GA are low. 

‘Several producer groups have trialled using GA with or without urea and results have varied across sites and years, so it may be worth talking to a local group or agronomist for advice on what to expect.

‘The response to urea will be slower than when pasture growth is optimal (i.e.spring) but may be worthwhile,’ he said.


Options for improving winter pasture growth presented by Lisa Warn:

EverGraze calculator for responses to urea and gibberellic acid.

Agriculture Victoria gibberellic acid use in phalaris pastures.

Supplementary feeding and the risks of grain poisoning

Dr Jeff Cave, Agriculture Victoria Senior Veterinary Officer

Many producers will start to consider supplementary feeding their livestock with grain or pellets.

Such feeding will bring many benefits but does also carry the risk of grain poisoning.

Grain poisoning occurs when large amounts of starch are eaten and rapidly ferments in the rumen or first stomach.

This leads to the excessive production of lactic acid, which is absorbed into the animal’s body.

Hence the condition’s other name, lactic acidosis.

Grain poisoning may occur when:

  • grain or pellets are introduced too quickly
  • there’s a sudden increase in the amount of grain or pellets being fed
  • there’s a change in type of grain or pellets being fed
  • there’s insufficient feeding space leading to the dominant animals overeating
  • producers not being aware the same precautions need to be followed when feeding pellets
  • accidental overeating due to storage areas not being sealed.

The clinical signs of grain poisoning usually become apparent within 24 to 36 hours after the initial access to grain or pellets.

In mild cases, cattle and sheep may show a lack of appetite and appear quieter than usual.

In more severe cases, cattle and sheep may show weakness, lameness, abdominal pain, and diarrhoea ranging from porridge to water consistency, depending upon the severity of the condition, leading to dehydration.

Grain poisoning can be fatal to livestock.

Reducing the animal’s access to grain or pellets and increasing the availability of roughage can treat mild cases.

More severe cases may need to be drenched with sodium bicarbonate to neutralise the lactic acid.

Severely affected animals are unlikely to respond well to treatment.

Following treatment, affected animals may develop hoof problems and lameness due to hoof damage caused by grain poisoning.

Like in so many conditions, the best form of treatment is prevention.

Key to prevention is to gradually increase the proportion of grain or pellets at a rate which the animal’s body can acclimatise.

Feeding guidelines are readily available in drought feeding guides for sheep and cattle.

Drought feeding guides are freely available from the Agriculture Victoria website.

For further advice please contact your local veterinarian or Agriculture Victoria veterinary or animal health officer.

The Fast Break - May
sky landscape image

The latest The Fast Break newsletter is now available.

This newsletter details oceanic and atmospheric climate driver activity over the last month and summarises 3-month model predictions for the Pacific and Indian oceans, rainfall and temperature for Victoria.

To subscribe or to view the latest issue click here.

Victorian Gorse Taskforce community grants now open

The VGT annual Community Grants Program is now open for 2024/25.

The Victorian Gorse Taskforce (VGT) with support from Agriculture Victoria offers funding support for community-led gorse control projects.

Community Grants program objectives:

  • Reduce the impacts of gorse on environmental, agricultural, and social values
  • Strengthen community and stakeholder connections for better gorse outcomes
  • Build community knowledge and capacity in managing gorse
  • Promote best practice gorse management.

Community groups may apply for funding up to $8,000 for on-ground gorse control works on private land. All participating landholders involved may receive up to $1,500 in grant funding and must match this with their own monetary contribution.

Grants are available to all Victorian community group organisations that have a focus on improving natural and agricultural areas.

How to apply
Visit and download a copy of the 2024/25 VGT Community Grants Funding Guidelines and Application Form.

Once you have completed your application, email to

For more information, contact the VGT on 0417 593 250 or send an email to

On-farm demonstration EOI extended
extended to thursday 13 june applications for on-farm demonstration

Expressions of Interest extended to June 13.

Expressions of interest are open for sheep and cattle producer groups interested in running an on-farm demonstration.

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

Click here to find out more.

This program is in partnership with MLA.

Footy's favourite farmer 2024
we're on the hunt for footy's favourite farmer, worksafe victoria

Nominations for WorkSafe Victoria's Footy's Favourite Farmer are open, and we have received so many wonderful stories from our community so far.

A reminder - our monthly prize draw ends Friday 31 May!

Win a pair of Airpods, a footy and netball just by nominating a farmer who deserves praise.

Details here 👉

Man caught with illegally shot Brown Quail
a GMA vehicle parked in grassland area

A man from Williamstown in Victoria recently admitted in the Echuca Magistrates Court to illegally shooting a Brown Quail at Gaynors Swamp State Game Reserve near Stanhope.

The man was ordered to pay a total of $300 in court fines and was placed on a diversion program with conditions of good behaviour.

The Game Management Authority’s (GMA) Director of Compliance and Intelligence, Zac Powell, said GMA Officers approached the man during a routine patrol of the area.

'GMA authorised officers inspected the man’s bag and found he was in illegal possession of a Brown Quail (non-gamebird) and did not have a Game Licence endorsed to hunt gamebirds. Officers immediately seized the firearm and the Brown Quail,' Mr Powell said.

'People hunting Stubble Quail need to have a valid Game Licence endorsed for hunting gamebirds and positively identify their target. Remember, if you are not sure, don’t shoot.'

'Those who break the law face significant fines and penalties, including losing their Game or Firearms Licence and having equipment confiscated. In some cases, offenders may face jail

'The GMA continues to patrol both private and public land across Victoria to enforce game hunting laws. If hunting on private property, hunters must ensure they have the owner’s/manager’s permission.'

Hunters and the community are urged to report illegal hunting to the GMA through its website at or by calling 136 186. If an urgent response is required, call 000.

The GMA assesses all reports of illegal behaviour and works closely with its partner agencies, to conduct enforcement and compliance operations across Victoria.

For more information on Stubble Quail hunting in Victoria, visit our Stubble Quail hunting page and view our interactive Quail Hunting Basics education module.

The 2024 Stubble Quail season closes on Sunday, 30 June.

The bag limit is 20 birds per day.

Make this your moment – the Governor of Victoria Export Awards
make this your moment, the governor of victoria export awards 2024

Get ready to shine in the spotlight!

Applications have now opened for the Governor of Victoria Export Awards (GOVEA).

Open to all Victorian exporters, regardless of business size or total export sales, winning a GOVEA isn't just about recognition; it's about catapulting your business to new heights.

GOVEA winners automatically receive a place as finalists in the National Export Awards.

Boost your brand and gain exposure to potential clients, investors, and partners, both locally and globally.

Showcase your innovation to the business community in 2024.

Apply now by visiting

Applications close 14 June.

Investing in farm safety and diversity in agriculture

The Victorian Government is supporting key agriculture industry bodies to improve farm safety and support cultural safety and diversity for workers across the sector.

Minister for Agriculture Ros Spence recently announced 3 grants totalling $1.25 million have been provided to the Victorian Farmers Federation, Gardiner Foundation, and Fruit Growers Victoria.

The funding will help extend existing safety programs and contribute to new initiatives that will support cultural diversity in the agricultural workforce.

The Victorian Farmers Federation will receive $600,000 to support the continued delivery of its Making Our Farms Safer program which aims to deliver free farm safety tools and services that are accessible to all Victorian farmers.

This includes the continuation of in-person farm safety advisory services and the development of a farmer mental health handbook.

The Gardiner Foundation will receive $610,000 to increase the engagement of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities in agricultural regions.

Gardiner Foundation will match this investment, with $1.22 million going towards developing a regionally-specific approach to reaching CALD communities that can be replicated across the industry.

The project will focus on the Goulburn Valley and Gippsland regions, reflecting the labour demand in the dairy and horticulture sectors in these areas.

Fruit Growers Victoria will receive $49,402 to deliver farm safety videos relating to cool stores and working from heights in multiple languages targeting CALD workers, and a mental health webinar for fruit growers in the Goulburn Valley.

The Farming Safe and Well Program is part of the government’s Backing Victoria’s World Class Producers to Grow commitment in the 2023-24 Victorian Budget.

This investment delivers on the government’s commitment to make the Victorian agriculture sector safer and to attract and retain new cohorts into the industry.

For more information about how the government supports farm safety visit

The Pinches - National Centre for Farmer Health
national centre for farmer health, the pinches felt in agriculture

We're often able to carry one or two challenges at a time and carrying a heavy load for short periods may be okay.

But the compounding effect of constant and multiple stresses at once can wear us down and impact not only our livelihoods but also our mental wellbeing.

No matter what our situation, we all feel the impact of external stressors.

While these may be out of our control and frustrating, it’s important to acknowledge them, regain a sense of control through managing what we can and prepare for what lies ahead.

Alongside our social media series, a great resource to look at is our free and very popular Managing Stress on The Farm Booklet (MSOF).

MSOF talks through the common causes of stressors on farms and offers practical ways to deal with them.

We develop interventions to improve the health, wellbeing and safety of Australian farmers, farm workers, farming families and agriculture-dependent communities focusing on prevention and early identification of risk factors associated with farming populations.

Key focus areas include chronic disease prevention and management, mental health, and occupational health and safety.

It includes the Steering Straight plan - an action plan to help you work through challenges and plan activities that help you feel better with practical, useful steps.

Click here for the plan and other support resources.

Cultivating Futures in Farming registration period extended
cultivating futures in farming program

CFF is a free program designed for our ‘next generation farm managers’ and facilitated by Pinion Advisory.

Participants learn from mentors, experts and peers to gain confidence in decision making and how to develop the financial, business and people management skills for running a farm business.

The program consists of face-to-face workshops (including farm visits), online webinars and individual coaching sessions.

If you missed our recent Zoom webinar on the ‘Cultivating Futures in Farming’ (CFF) mentor program you can catch up here.

Passcode: Bupcq7

Registrations for the 2024-25 program close Friday 5 July.

Visit the Cultivating Futures in Farming page on the Agriculture Victoria website to learn more and apply.

Fox and wild dog bounty

Victoria’s bounty collections continue.

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

Detection of avian influenza at fourth poultry property

Avian influenza virus has been confirmed at a fourth Victorian poultry farm.

Tests have confirmed the high pathogenicity H7N3 strain at this property which is located within the current Restricted Area in the Golden Plains Shire, where movement restrictions were already in place.


Subsoil help for dryland grain growers

Grain growers considering subsoil amelioration on their farms are encouraged to visit Agriculture Victoria’s new dedicated webpage and support guide to help navigate the decision-making process.


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.

Young Farmer Horticulture Business Bootcamp
a grapevine

Are you a young farmer in the horticulture sector that’s looking to upskill?

Agriculture Victoria is running a horticulture business bootcamp focussed on the horticulture industry that aims to support the next generation of growers, business owners and managers to improve their skills and management practices.

The bootcamp will be delivered by Agriculture Victoria and Ion Group.

2-day in-person workshop

12-13 June

9 am to 2:30 pm

Location (TBC pending interest as Yarra Valley or Werribee).

Online session

21 June

10-11 am


  • In-person day 1: Farm business performance and profitable decision making
  • In-person day 2: Risk, resilience and adapting to change
  • Online session: Natural resource management.

The bootcamp is free to all participants but places are limited.

A free one-on-one session with an Ion Group consultant is available to participants who register for both the in-person workshop and online session.

To secure your spot for this bootcamp, click here to register.

Or contact Tanya Dobrijevic on 0429 353 649 or email

GRDC – Mastering fungicide resistance management with AFREN: strategies for success – Bannockburn

DATE: Friday 14 June

TIME: 9 am – 12 pm

VENUE: Bannockburn and Districts Bowling Club, 65 Burnside Road, Bannockburn.

REGISTER HERE on the GRDC website.

Calling all growers and agronomists to join Nick Poole from FAR Australia for a workshop hosted by the Australian Fungicide Resistance Extension Network (AFREN), dedicated to addressing the pressing issue of fungicide resistance in our region.

Gain valuable insights and participate in discussions on the latest management practices shaping the future of the Australian grains industry.

Hamilton TEKSTART Workshop
tekstart workshop hamilton smartfarm 19 june

DATE: Wednesday 19 June

TIME: 10 am - 2 pm

WHERE: Hamilton Smart Farm, 915 Mt Napier Road, Hamilton.


Calling all future AgTech trailblazers!  Are you ready to cultivate your entrepreneurial spirit and revolutionise the agricultural industry?

Farmers2Founders is excited to share that we will be hitting the tracks of regional Victoria, offering immersive workshops tailored just for you - aspiring Agtech entrepreneurs and students passionate about making a difference in the agricultural industry.

Why attend?

  • Discover the Power of AgTech: Explore the dynamic intersection of agriculture and technology. Learn how innovation in AgTech can address pressing global challenges and pave the way for a sustainable future.
  • Unlock the Startup Code: Ever wondered what it takes to kickstart your own AgTech venture? Gain invaluable insights into the essentials of starting lean from ideation to validation and beyond.
  • Master Lean Startup Methodology: Get hands-on experience with Lean Start up a powerful toolkit to streamline and accelerate your Agtech startup idea. Learn how to build your start up from the ground up, identify key customers, and iterate your concept towards success.
  • Grow your network within the Ag Industry: Connect with fellow enthusiasts and industry experts. Exchange ideas, forge collaborations, and build a support network to fuel your entrepreneurial journey.

Who should attend?

  • Students eager to explore the world of AgTech entrepreneurship
  • Aspiring AgTech innovators seeking practical guidance and inspiration
  • Anyone passionate about leveraging technology to revolutionize agriculture.
Stock Sense calving webinar
A cow standing over a calf

New to calving? Wanting to learn more? Maybe you just need a quick refresher!

This free webinar is perfect for you.

Get ready for the calving season with a checklist covering everything you need to know.

From when to call a vet to prepping your calving box, we've got you covered.

Join Stock Sense and seasoned expert Rob Bananno, who brings over 30 years of farming and veterinary experience to the table.

Don't miss out on this invaluable session!

DATE: Wednesday 26 June

TIME: 6:30 - 7 pm


Exploring our critical geoscience at Ballarat minerals event

Resources Victoria is proud to be the Geoscience Partner at this year’s Australian Institute of Geoscientists’ (AIG) Victorian Minerals Round-up.

The annual conference, hosted by AIG’s Victorian chapter, will be held on 27-28 June 2024 at the Goods Shed in Ballarat.

Bringing together representatives from across the minerals sector, the event provides an exciting opportunity to promote Resources Victoria’s geoscience resources and the ongoing work of the Geological Survey of Victoria.

A key topic at the conference will be critical minerals with Victoria having proven deposits that contain resources of titanium, zirconium and rare earth elements.

There are also other opportunities across the state for other minerals and precious metals including gold, antimony, copper, high-purity alumina and silica.

The AIG is the leading professional institute representing geoscientists.

The event partnership will connect Resources Victoria to key players in the minerals sector and exploration teams across the state.

More information about the work of Resources Victoria can be found at

Grasslands Society of Southern Australia – 54th Annual Conference
54th annual conference

The GSSA conference at Bendigo on 17-18 July will offer something for everyone.

The central theme will focus on ‘Evidence Based Decision Making’ and the topics have been built around what farmers need to know.

Delegates will be able to choose from 2 bus tours.

One to a property north of Bendigo integrating lucerne into a profitable livestock system and one to a higher rainfall perennial pasture property south of Bendigo.

Topics will include:

  • Carbon - An informed farmers perspective
  • Carbon neutral livestock production - is it possible?
  • Soil carbon and fertility
  • Measuring and knowing your soil carbon levels
  • Old clover identification and sub optimal clover nodulation
  • Paddock livestock weighing
  • What bugs You?
  • Use of drones in agriculture
  • Facial livestock recognition
  • Remote pasture measurement
  • Running lambs on improved varieties of perennial ryegrass vs more persistent Victorian ryegrass - animal responses above yield responses
  • N efficiency and endophytes in ryegrass pastures
  • Introduction to fertiliser calculator tool.

Click here for more information - 2024 GSSA Annual Conference

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 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.

Subscribe to Barwon South West Ag News

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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.



'Like' our Agriculture Victoria Facebook page.


Follow us on X (formerly Twitter) @VicGovAg


Subscribe to the Agriculture Victoria YouTube channel. 


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