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Sultana grapes at harvest point Mildura
Thursday 18 April 2024

In this edition:

Queensland fruit fly home gardener survey
Supporting biosecurity in Timor-Leste and Victoria
collage of people engaged 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 five-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 are not present in Australia.

‘Through this partnership we’re able to learn a lot from Timor-Leste about diseases that are not 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 three rotating groups of Animal Health Officers travel to Timor-Leste twice per year.

During the three week visit in March, the five 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.

Mentor program helping to cultivate futures in farming
sheep in paddock

Young farmers in western Victoria are encouraged to register for Agriculture Victoria’s ‘Cultivating Futures in Farming’ Mentor Program.

Agriculture Recovery Officer Tanya Dobrijevic said the free program will provide young farmers in grains or mixed farming enterprises with the tools and resources to enhance their farm business management.

‘Participants will improve their skills and knowledge to better prepare for and manage risk, adapt to change and strengthen their farm businesses.

‘Past participants have benefitted from the clarification of business goals and drawing focus to the roadblocks to achieving these goals,’ Ms Dobrijevic said.

The program, delivered in partnership with Pinion Advisory, will provide mentoring on a variety of topics including:

  • risk management
  • opportunity identification
  • people management
  • leasing and share farming
  • natural resource management.

‘For anyone thinking about joining the course, we are holding a webinar to provide an overview of the program and topics that will be covered, plus a chance to meet the facilitators.’

The introductory webinar will be held on Thursday 16 May from 12 noon.

Register here

For more information or to register your expression of interest to join the course, visit

Please note there are limited places available.

For more information, contact Tanya Dobrijevic on 0429 353 649 or email

The Farm Business Resilience Program is jointly funded through the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund and the Victorian Government’s Future Agriculture Skills Capacity Fund.

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.

Biosecurity Basics Episode 1
person in brimmed hat feeding Scottish cow and calf in paddock

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.

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.

Reminder to protect valuable paddock trees when burning stubble
Paddock trees

The Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA) is asking landowners to take steps to protect paddock trees when burning stubble on their properties. 

Native trees are protected by law and there are ways to avoid damaging them. Good planning and management are crucial to ensure their long-term survival. Once lost, native trees – especially large old trees – are impossible to replace in a person’s lifetime.

Paddock trees benefit biodiversity and good preparation before burning on your property will avoid harmful impacts.

There are a few actions you can take to protect paddock trees:

  • slash around the base of the tree to establish an adequate fire break
  • move woody debris from around the base of the tree
  • wet the area around the tree before beginning your burn. 

Before starting a burn, it’s also important to ensure you have adequate water and the right equipment on hand to extinguish the fire.

For some council areas, fire restrictions are still in place, with a Fire Danger Period declared by the Country Fire Authority (CFA) until the start of May. This means that a permit is required to burn grass, stubble and other vegetation on your property until the Fire Danger Period ends.

To find Fire Danger Period dates for your area, visit

Please follow CFA guidelines outlining what you can and can’t do during a declared Fire Danger Period. Find more information on the CFA Can I Can't I web page here

To find out more about native vegetation and download a Stubble Burning fact sheet, go to 

To report concerns about stubble burning and the destruction of paddock trees, contact your local council.

It's never you, until it is
farmer ben mcevoy on his farm

Jack Armstrong - Yalla-Y-Poora sheep and cropping farmer, knows the impact safety incidents can have on not only farmers, but also the local community.

‘A successful day in farming for me is being able to go home after a good day’s hard work knowing I’ve achieved what I set out to achieve and haven’t had any big mistakes.’

‘Fatigue in farming is extremely common. When I’m fatigued, my decision making is impaired, my reaction time – it increases the risk for mistakes to happen so much more,’ Jack said.

Jack’s tips for managing fatigue on the farm:

  • try and stick to a routine, such as a certain amount of hectares or hours each day
  • take five for a stretch and drink of water
  • check-in with others
  • don’t rush - take your time to think things through and do the job properly.
After the Flood podcast series 7 episode 7
person in peaked cap and tee outside

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 Innovators: Series 2 Episode 5
person in front of green trees outdoors, drone promoting agtech podcast

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

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.

Women and Leadership Australia scholarships
woman in cap and check shirt in front of red tractor

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 has been extended: Apply by Friday 26 April 2024.

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

Applications open for Livestock Advisory Committees
herd of sheep bunched together closeup

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
crop with approaching stormfront

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 survey

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.

Queensland fruit fly home gardener survey
child holding watering can in vegetable garden with older person in background

Has the word got out to home gardeners in your region about Queensland fruit fly and its management?

Please take Agriculture Victoria’s short 5 minute online survey to help them to understand the answer to that question?

The survey is being conducted throughout the three key horticultural regions of Goulburn Murray, Greater Sunraysia and the Yarra Valley. All responses are anonymous and the feedback collected will help create resources to further support home gardeners to manage Queensland fruit fly.

The survey is open until 30 June 2024.

To participate please click the survey link here.

Calf breeding survey
calf with eartag

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.


Biosecurity basics covered in new podcast season

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.


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.


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.


Latest variety information on-hand for growers through NVT Harvest Reports

Growers and advisers across Australia can now use the latest results on the performance of different grain varieties – incorporating results from the 2023 harvest – to help them choose the best variety for their situation.

Read the article in full on the GRDC website here.

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.

Visit to find out what's on.

The Unbreakable Farmer

26 April
5 - 8 pm

Goornong near Bendigo
Memorial Soldiers Hall


The City of Greater Bendigo is hosting a special event for the farming community in the region, with The Unbreakable Farmer coming to Goornong on Friday 26 April.

This free event is sponsored by Agriculture Victoria and aims to support flood-impacted farmers in Greater Bendigo and surrounds.

Share a delicious barbecue dinner, before hearing from BlazeAid about their efforts in the region.

The night concludes with a presentation from inspirational speaker Warren Davies, also known as The Unbreakable Farmer.

Sign up at

Registratons are essential through Humanitix for catering purposes. with any questions.

man in front of rusty corrugated iron
Farm Business Success Workshop Series - Ararat
learn from Pinion advisory's clinton and esmee

30 April
9:30 am - 3 pm

Agriculture Victoria office
233 - 239 Barkly Street


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.

Visit our events page and register.

Cultivating Futures in Farming mentor program

16 May
from 12 noon



Young farmers, join Ag Vic for an introductory webinar regarding the new Cultivating Futures in Farming Mentor program.

The program, delivered in partnership with Pinion Advisory, will provide mentoring on a variety of topics including:

  • risk management
  • opportunity identification
  • people management
  • leasing and share farming
  • natural resource management.

Register for the online Zoom webinar here.

For more information or to register your expression of interest to join the course, visit

Places are limited. To learn more, contact Tanya Dobrijevic on 0429 353 649 or email

The Farm Business Resilience Program is jointly funded through the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund and the Victorian Government’s Future Agriculture Skills Capacity Fund.

BestWool/BestLamb and BetterBeef 2024 conference
banner with Black Angus and sheep advertising upcoming sheep and beef conference

19 - 20 June



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 Best Wool/BestLamb
  • 20 June BetterBeef.

Further details will be coming as plans are finalised.

2024 Landcare Forum
echidna illustration on lime green background

The 2024 Landcare forum will be held from Wednesday 8 to Friday 10 May in Bendigo. 

Find out more at

Drip Monitoring and Maintenance Course
irrigation drip line under grape vines

23 April
8:30 am to 12:30 pm

AgVic Mildura SmartFarm 
308-390 Koorlong Ave


Get the most out of your system and join Agriculture Victoria for a free half day session on drip monitoring and maintenance aimed at maximising farm profitability and efficiency.


  • Jeremy Giddings, Agriculture Victoria
  • Peter Henry, Netafim

Topics :

  • understanding design and specification sheets 
  • monitoring, measuring pressures and discharges 
  • flushing, chlorination and acid injection. 

To register or for more information, please contact Maxine Schache on 0428 507 855 or email

RSVP by 17 April and please bring your irrigation design to this session. 

Interpreting soil moisture monitoring equipment
graph in blue, green and red

13 June
9 - 11 am

Robinvale Resource Centre
72 Herbert Street

14 June
9 - 11 am

Mildura SmartFarm
Corner Koorlang Avenue and 11th Street


Agriculture Victoria, in conjunction with Green Brain, is offering a half day workshop for irrigators looking to have a greater understanding of interpreting soil moisture monitoring data.

Attendees are encouraged to bring their login details and share their data with the group if appropriate.


  • Soil water principles
  • Understanding graphs
  • Summed and split-level graphs
  • Setting refill and fill points
  • Graph responses
  • Integration / data presentation
  • Your data.

To register, contact Jeremy Giddings, Agriculture Victoria Regional Manager Irrigation, Mallee on 0427 02 285 or email

Numbers strictly limited.

SAVE THE DATE: Livestock Conference 2024
2024 Livestock 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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