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Wednesday, 24 April 2024

In this edition:

Agriculture Victoria leader Julie Simons makes the Top 50
Julie Simons image

Agriculture Victoria’s Director Biosecurity Strategy, Preparedness and Coordination Dr Julie Simons (above) was recently recognised as one of Victoria’s Top 50 Public Sector Women.

Julie’s achievement acknowledges her significant contribution to policy, science, and operations within the Victorian Public Sector over the past three decades.

Most recently, Julie has been overseeing the Victorian Government’s Emergency Animal Disease (EAD) Preparedness program to rapidly boost the government’s readiness to respond to a major EAD event such as foot-and-mouth disease.

Agriculture Victoria Executive Director Biosecurity Dr Katherine Clift congratulated Julie on her achievements.

‘Julie is a compassionate, innovative, and impactful leader who dedicates herself to developing Victoria’s rural regions and our agriculture sector, with a focus on drought, natural disasters, and emergencies.

‘Her most recent leadership in the Emergency Animal Disease space has delivered solid outcomes for Victoria’s agricultural sector – making sure we are better prepared in the face of emerging biosecurity threats.’

‘Julie’s passion is bringing people together across government, industry and community to tackle challenging issues and deliver positive solutions for Victoria’s agriculture sector,’ said Dr Clift.

Since its inception in 2017, IPAA Victoria’s Top 50 Public Sector Women awards program has acknowledged and celebrated the women leaders at all levels of government – Commonwealth, State and Local – who lead high-performing teams, groundbreaking policy and uphold values of integrity, diversity and inclusion, and transformation.

This year’s ceremony celebrated fifty women winners who comprise senior executives and leaders across many areas of the public sector.

The cohort of women leaders was selected through a rigorous judging and due diligence process.

For more information about the IPAA Victoria’s Top 50 Public Sector Women awards program, including a list of recipients, visit the IPAA website.

Anthrax outbreak in the Goulburn Valley has concluded

Dr Jeff Cave, Senior Veterinary Officer

There was recently a small outbreak of anthrax on two properties east of Shepparton. You may be asking, ‘what made this a small outbreak rather than a large one?’

The first reason was the property owner realised something unusual had happened in the form of the sudden death of one of their cattle and promptly called their veterinarian.

The veterinarian was quick to realise anthrax was a possibility and had access to a pen side test known as an immunochromatographic test (ICT) which gave a rapid preliminary diagnosis.

From there the carcass was secured and the remainder of the herd was moved to another paddock to reduce their risk of contracting anthrax.

The herd was also vaccinated with an anthrax vaccine as quickly as possible.

The anthrax bacterium has the feature of being hardy and resistant to most disinfectants.

The only way of destroying the bacterium in a carcass is to incinerate it, which was carried out by Agriculture Victoria using a specialised incinerator.

Decontamination of the death site was carried out using the chemical glutaraldehyde.

A small number of additional deaths occurred on the same property before the cattle had developed immunity through the vaccination and these deaths were dealt with in the same way.

A death due to anthrax also occurred on a neighbouring property which necessitated the need to vaccinate susceptible livestock on other neighbouring properties and properties that were seen to be at risk.

So where did it come from? Several properties in the affected area have a history of anthrax dating back to the 1960s and 1980s.

The anthrax bacterium can lie dormant in the soil for decades until environmental conditions are favourable for it to become infective and create a new outbreak.

Anthrax was introduced to Australia in the 1800s in infective meat and bone meal from India.

The countryside was seeded with anthrax through deaths that occurred due to anthrax along travelling stock routes.

In those days rapid response through, pen side testing, vaccination, disposal through incineration, disinfection, and isolation were not an option and anthrax outbreaks became mass mortality events.

This helps answer the question of what made this a small outbreak rather than a large one.

The Cherry Traceability Journey!

Watch our creative animation video and join us on the journey of our Cherries Traceability Pilot.

Witness the route of your cherries from the farm, via the supply chain, to your shopping cart. It's an eye-opening look at how our Cherries Traceability Pilot has made Australian cherries traceable.

With RFID systems in Year 1, we automated cherry tracking from orchard to packing shed, ensuring efficiency and accuracy at every step.

In Year 2, we introduced the GS1 Digital Link enabled QR code revolution, allowing you to scan, trace, and experience the full story of your cherries, all the way from farm to consumer.

We’ve supported all of this with global GS1 standards, to help harmonise supply chains digitally all around the world.

But that's not all! We've added an exciting cherry-picking game so the fun doesn't stop at the checkout.

Your cherries, your story, your experience – all thanks to the Cherries Traceability Pilot.

Watch the video here

Queensland fruit fly home gardener survey
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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 here

Calf breeding survey
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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.

Advance your career with a farming and agriculture sector women’s leadership scholarship
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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.

Apply by Friday 26 April 2024.

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

New Chair for Horse Traceability Taskforce
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Victorian biosecurity specialist and former Queensland Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Ron Glanville will lead the National Horse Traceability Implementation Taskforce as its new Chair.

The newly established Taskforce will focus on implementing a national horse traceability system, continuing the work of the National Horse Traceability Working Group which provided final recommendations to Australia’s Agriculture Ministers in 2022. 

The proposed National Horse Traceability System will assist in responding to future biosecurity incidents and natural disasters involving horses, donkey and mules.

Endorsed as Chair by the National Biosecurity Committee, Dr Glanville will lead the Taskforce which includes a diverse committee of 17 members who have an interest or expertise in animal health, biosecurity or traceability.

Dr Glanville has extensive experience in responding to biosecurity incidents, including the 2007 equine influenza outbreak.

He said a national horse traceability system would bring significant benefits, particularly during outbreak or emergency situations.

'I am looking forward to working with representatives of Australia’s horse industry to progress the introduction of the National Horse Traceability System,' he said. 

'Having seen the impact of diseases such as equine influenza and Hendra on the horse industry, I understand the important role that traceability plays in the containment of endemic and exotic diseases.

'Thanks go to the National Horse Traceability Working Group, under the exemplary leadership of Chair Stuart McLean, for developing a strong foundation that the Taskforce will work from.'

The National Horse Traceability Implementation Taskforce is being supported by Agriculture Victoria as it’s Secretariat.

The first meeting of the Taskforce will take place later this month.

For more information visit the Agriculture Victoria website.

Fox and wild dog bounty
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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.

Applications open for Livestock Advisory Committees
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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:

  • 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

Worksafe – telehandler licence survey
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Use a non-slewing telehandler with capacity over 3 tonnes?

There's a new licence and tailored training coming.

Complete the survey and help work out training locations.

Your responses will be kept confidential.


Biosecurity Basics Episode 2 - Farm with a Difference
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Episode 2: Farm with a Difference with Jill Noble

Terms like Property Identification Code and National Livestock Identification System are important when it comes to livestock biosecurity.

Jill Noble from Hallston Valley Farm has this front of mind every single day as she farms with a difference.

Jill’s business not only holds and sells sheep, but also provides farm experiences for parties, disability providers, and tiny home cabins for romantic getaways.

🎧 🎧 Listen to Biosecurity Basics via the AgVic website.

Recording: Victoria's seasonal climate outlook and soil moisture update for autumn
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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.

AgTech Innovators Series 2 Episode 6
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Episode 6: From golf carts to cattle with Darren Wolchyn

Using a solar-powered GPS fleet management system is a pretty novel way to keep track of cattle. 

Hear from Darren Wolchyn, CEO of Smart Paddock, as he describes how this AgTech start-up raised funds and sought investment to support this innovation.

Listen online via the AgVic website

Podcast – After the flood series – episode 8
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Episode 8: Navigating flooded vineyards with Matt Partridge

Being hit with 6 floods in a single season is the unimaginable reality De Bortoli Wines faced in 2022. 

Matthew Partridge, Operations Manager, talks about turning this adversity into an opportunity. 

The business implemented new strategies to adapt to the changing climate whilst ensuring the wellbeing of its most important asset, their staff.

Listen via the AgVic website.

Landcare grants close next week

Landcare and other environmental volunteer groups and networks can apply for:

  • $20k grants for projects that help protect and restore the natural environment
  • $500 support grants to assist with administrative and operational expenses of groups and networks

Landcare recommends all eligible groups submit an application for the $500 Support Grant. These grants can be used to assist with costs such as insurance, incorporation and operational needs, meetings and events or newsletters, websites and other communication.

Applications close 5 pm Tuesday 30 April

Your application can made through your regional Catchment Management Authority. For more information visit : Victorian Landcare Grants (

In case you missed it

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.


Handle with care: bobby calf transport requirements

Reminding producers of their responsibilities when transporting bobby calves.


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.

Register now for the Dairy Innovation Open Day
people looking at dairy cows feeding from a trough at Ellinbank SmartFarm

Discover the future of farming at the Dairy Innovation Open Day, hosted at Agriculture Victoria's Ellinbank SmartFarm on Thursday 9 May from 8.30am to 3pm.

This event is hosted by Agriculture Victoria, Dairy Australia, and the Gardiner Foundation as part of the $42.5 million DairyFeedbase program.

Immerse yourself in the latest state-of-the-art research focused on farmers, and learn about animal feeding and nutrition, soil and pasture management, and on-farm climate adaptation from the experts themselves.

Not only will you gain invaluable knowledge, but you'll also have the opportunity to connect with other farmers, industry professionals, and suppliers.

This is a free event, but registrations are essential. Visit the Dairy Australia website to register now.

The Unbreakable Farmer
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For more information or to RSVP click here

Indigo Valley Field Day – Managing native grasses
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Combating invasive weeds, Inglewood event
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2024 Landcare Forum
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The 2024 Landcare forum will be held from Wednesday 8 to Friday 10 May in Bendigo.

Find out more here

SAVE THE DATE – BestWool/BestLamb and BetterBeef Conference
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Plans are currently 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 two days, 19 June BestWool/BestLamb and BetterBeef on 20 June.

Further details will be coming as plans are finalised.

Livestock 2024 Conference – August, Albury NSW
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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:

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