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Sultana grapes at harvest point Mildura
Thursday 7 March 2024

In this edition:

Support and resources for fire affected farmers
bale loader working in paddock

Agriculture Victoria teams have been on the ground supporting farmers with animal welfare and making impact assessments following the recent fires.

Agriculture Victoria State Agency Commander Banjo Patterson said the immediate focus was any urgent animal welfare needs caused by the fires.

‘If your property has been impacted by fire and you have urgent animal welfare needs, please contact the VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226.’

As of 4 pm on Sunday there were approximately 270 livestock and 2,400 hectares of grazing pasture lost, and 1,700 kilometres of fencing impacted due to the Bayindeen-Rocky Road fire.

Farmers and primary producers affected by the recent fires are encouraged to activate their post-fire plans and actively manage their livestock needs.

Mr Patterson said after a fire has come through on your property it’s important to have a plan to deal with the aftermath, both in the first few days and following weeks.

‘A good place to start is the Agriculture Victoria website which has plenty of information about what to do immediately and in the longer term’, he said.

There is practical advice around personal health and wellbeing, water management, soil and pasture recovery, fencing, pest control and financial support.

An emergency feed and water budget to help you determine your livestock’s short-term needs is also available to download.


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.

Fall armyworm commands growers' attention
Fall Armyworm on corn leaf

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.

Agriculture Victoria Plant Pests and Diseases Manager Chris Pittock said a collaborative effort between government, industry and the community is crucial to effectively manage pests such as Fall armyworm.

‘If agronomists and farmers find Fall armyworm on their property, they should seek professional advice for treatment and management.

‘Given this pest is established in some parts of the state – we have adapted our practices to manage it. We have been able to watch what has happened in the northern states and learn from their experiences.’

‘Detections of concern to us would be if the pest is found outside of central Victoria near the Murray River, and some parts of Gippsland.’

Agriculture Victoria has been leading the State response for the National Fall armyworm project, which is coordinated by Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QDAF).

The project aims to support Australian growers with the latest information and tools to manage FAW.

Early detection of FAW is important to ensure producers are making decisions in observance with best practice methods of control, and to reduce the likelihood of resistance occurring in the pest.

For the most up-to-date information on how to identify and prevent FAW, check out the Fall Armyworm Beatsheet.

Agriculture Victoria is monitoring the distribution of Fall armyworm across Victoria.  You can report a sighting by contacting the Customer Contact Centre on 136 186 or by completing the Online Reporting Form.

About Fall armyworms

  • Fall armyworm has adapted to warm tropical and sub-tropical areas in northern Australia and can migrate rapidly and be spread by storm events
  • Fall armyworm feed on maize, sweet corn, sorghum and sugarcane, and experiences in Queensland have also shown a high preference for feeding on corn, even though wheat, millet and sunflowers were nearby
  • Adult moths are 32 to 40mm in length, wing tip to wing tip, with a brown or grey forewing and a white hind wing
  • Male fall armyworms have more patterns and a distinct white spot on each of their forewings.
  • Eggs are pale yellow in colour and clustered together in masses which often contain 100 – 200 eggs per mass. Egg masses are usually attached to foliage with a layer of mould/silk-like furry substance
  • Newly hatched larvae are light coloured with a larger darker head and then develop white stripes lengthwise as the larvae darken and grow to about 34mm in length.

For the latest information on FAW from across Australia:

Fall armyworm - The Beatsheet

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries - Fall armyworm research, development and extension for horticulture

Prepare for hot weather this weekend
cow in paddock

With parts of the state expecting extremely hot weather over the weekend, it’s important to ensure your animals have access to sufficient shade and lots of cool water to avoid heat stress.

Stay safe and follow VicEmergency for updates.

Click here for more information for caring for animals during extreme heat.

Paddock Practices: Check retained canola seed before sowing

First published on 22 February 2024, this information has been updated on 4 March 2024 following the release of seed testing and germination results provided to GRDC by Marcroft Grains Pathology and the University of Melbourne.

Key points

  • Growers are encouraged to check the quality of their retained canola planting seed.
  • A new report shows grey canola seed detected in seed lots from the 2023 harvest is likely caused by weather damage.
  • Pods can become susceptible to fungal infection due to post-flowering rainfall events. Rainfall combined with physical pod damage (from hail and/or frost) will increase pod and seed susceptibility.
  • Growers who detect discoloured seed should either not retain the seed for 2024 planting or ensure it is treated with an appropriate fungicide seed treatment before sowing.
  • Alternatively, clean seed should be sourced from a local seed supplier.

Read this article in full on the GRDC website here.

Help implement Victoria’s new Biosecurity Strategy

Agriculture Victoria is calling for applicants to join the Biosecurity Reference Group and help implement Victoria’s new Biosecurity Strategy.

Agriculture Victoria Executive Director Katherine Clift said the Biosecurity Reference Group would play a vital role in ensuring Victoria’s biosecurity response reflects the entire system.

‘The new Biosecurity Strategy outlines how we can work together to manage biosecurity risks and build our resilience to emerging threats,’ Dr Clift said.

‘That’s why it is important the Biosecurity Reference Group is filled with people from across Victoria’s biosecurity system who can represent the many different interests that biosecurity touches.’

Applications are invited from people from all affected groups, including Traditional Owners, agriculture, supply chain, community and environment.

The original Biosecurity Reference Group played a pivotal role in guiding the development of Victoria’s new Biosecurity Strategy.

Their expertise ensured the strategy prioritised collaboration and engagement across the biosecurity system to respond to issues, marking a significant shift in Victoria’s biosecurity policy.

Dr Clift emphasised the importance of continuing to strengthen how Victoria manages emerging biosecurity threats such as foot-and-mouth disease and red imported fire ants.

‘The renewed Biosecurity Reference Group will help guide the implementation of the strategy, including how we should measure success,’ Dr Clift said.

‘This will help safeguard our farms and parks, pets and gardens, our native plants and animals, the safety of our food, cultural integrity of our landscapes and success of our industries.

Submit an expression of interest to join the Biosecurity Reference Group visit by 5 pm Wednesday, 3 April.

Don’t forget to register online to receive updates on implementation and upcoming engagement opportunities.

After the Flood podcast series - episode 4
person outside wearing pink shirt and grey jumper

Episode 4: On the right track to recovery with Simone Murdoch and Darryl Pearl

Future planning and controlled traffic farming can help mitigate natural disasters and their long-term effects.

In this After the Flood podcast episode, Simone Murdoch chats about how her family made key decisions during a flood by removing emotion from the conversation. 

Darryl Pearl, from Agriculture Victoria, also gives some tips on controlled traffic farming and how it can benefit properties in the long-term.

Listen via the AgVic website

Consultation on animal welfare laws extended
Illustration of animals in traiangle shape on aqua background

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.

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

Tackling emerging livestock biosecurity challenges

The Victorian Government is bolstering Victoria’s biosecurity system with funding for projects that help prevent, monitor, and control pests and diseases in livestock.

Minister for Agriculture Ros Spence recently opened applications for the 2024 Livestock Biosecurity Funds grants program.

Victoria will continue to face new and emerging biosecurity risks – driven by climate change, increasing trade and travel, and changing land use – and innovative new solutions are critical to protecting Victoria’s $20 billion agriculture industry.

The Livestock Biosecurity Fund grants program supports projects that adopt new and emerging technologies to respond to livestock biosecurity issues, encourage collaboration, and deliver quantifiable benefits to the livestock industry.

Agriculture Victoria and the state’s livestock compensation advisory committees developed the grants program which is funded through duties generated by the sale of cattle, sheep, goat and pigs and their carcasses in Victoria, and using beekeeper registration fees.

Prospective applicants joined an online forum today to hear from the livestock compensation advisory committees about what they are hoping to see in applications this round.

Previously funded projects included the Victorian Farmers Federation popular producer-led Stock Sense Livestock program, which received $2.19 million over the past four years.

The program helps Victorian livestock producers adopt animal health and production practices that improve animal welfare and Victoria’s biosecurity status.

Another project supported through the program is the Electronic National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) (Sheep) tags.

This has helped maintain the low-disease status of Victoria’s sheep and goat industries and protects Victoria’s reputation in domestic and export markets as a supplier of wholesome meat and dairy products.

Applications close on 15 April, to apply visit

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Horticultural Netting Program

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.

AgTech Innovators Season 2 Episode 2
man in suit jacket smiling in front of building material

‘Walk a mile in someone's shoes’, is a mantra that also applies when it comes to supporting startups. 

Guy Franklin has walked the path of developing his own tech venture and is now supporting others to do the same. 

Being clear on who your customer is, how big the market is and why this is such a big deal, is some of the advice Guy Franklin provides in this episode of AgTech Innovators. 

Listen online via the AgVic website

Mosquitoes can spread serious diseases
illustration of mosquito biting on an orange background

The risk of mosquito-borne diseases is highest in October to late April in Victoria, as mosquito numbers peak.

Mosquito-borne diseases include Japanese encephalitis (JE).

JE is a rare but potentially serious infection of the brain caused by a virus that can spread to humans through mosquito bites.

The best way to prevent mosquito-borne diseases is to avoid mosquito bites.

  • Cover up – wear long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing as mosquitoes can bite through tight clothing.
  • Use mosquito repellents containing picaridin or DEET on all exposed skin.  Apply over the top of sunscreen and reapply after swimming or sweating.
  • Limit outdoor activity if lots of mosquitoes are about.
  • Remove stagnant water where mosquitoes can breed around your home or campsite.
  • On holidays make sure your accommodation is fitted with mosquito netting or screens.
  • Don’t forget the kids – always check the insect repellent label. On babies, you might need to spray or rub repellent on their clothes instead of their skin.
  • Avoid applying repellent to the hands of babies or young children.
  • Use ‘knockdown’ fly sprays and plug-in repellent devices indoors.
  • Consider using a mosquito net that is treated with a residual insecticide if sleeping outdoors, including sleeping in a tent or cabin.
  • Mosquito coils can be effective in small outdoor areas where you gather to sit or eat.


Be prepared – JE is a rare but serious infection. Vaccination can protect you.


JE vaccine is free for eligible Victorians, visit your GP or local immunisation provider.

You are eligible for free JE vaccination if you:

  • live in high-risk areas of Victoria and meet additional criteria
  • live or work at properties with pigs
  • are going to high-risk areas for seasonal work.

Click here for more information on the eligibility criteria.

If you are going to high-risk areas for seasonal work, you are eligible to have a free JE vaccination, regardless of Medicare status.

Please note, while the vaccine is free-of-charge, some providers may charge an administration or consultation fee. Be sure to check if this applies to you.

Be on the lookout for blue green algae in farm dams

Recent flooding combined with warmer weather has increased the risk of blue-green algal blooms in farm dams.

Recognise the signs – blooms typically appear as surface scum that looks like a suspension of green paint, often with an earthy smell.

If a suspicious bloom is noticed, stock should be removed as quickly as possible, and a safe alternative water supply provided.

Blue-green algae can cause poisoning in livestock.

Learn more HERE

Fox and wild dog bounty resumes
image of fox facing right in long grass

Victoria’s bounty collections resumed on 4 March 2024.

Please continue to check our website for the latest information, collection centres and dates.

For any assistance, please speak to our bounty collection staff on collection days or call our customer service centre on 136 186.


Climate webinar recording available

Agriculture Victoria's climate team share some tools and resources they have developed to support the farming communities of Victoria to make sense of carbon and emissions on farm.

View the recording here.on Zoom
Duration: 62 minutes (including questions)
Password: Climate

Citizen scientists hop to it with rabbit virus tracking project

Aussies are urged to join in the longest-running citizen science survey of rabbit diseases in the world, to help keep the costly invasive pest in check.

Read the media release here.

Cat desexing grants for Victorian councils now open

The Victorian Government has committed $300,000 to run a trial program to increase cat desexing rates, address cat over-population and support vulnerable cat owners.

Councils can now apply for grants of up to $25,000 to deliver targeted cat desexing programs within their community.


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.


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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.

Victorian Apiarists Association Recreational Beekeepers Conference
honey comb dripping on poster promoting beekeeeping confereence

9 March

9 am – 5 pm

Melbourne (Cairnlea)
Victorian Croquet Centre
65 Nobel Banks Drive




Successful beekeeping in challenging times

This 1-day conference will include live hive demonstrations as well as presentations with an emphasis on meeting the challenges of beekeeping in the presence of varroa.

Agriculture Victoria apiary team members Nikki Jones and Adam Maxwell will be presenting.

Book now, places are limited.

Register here.

RiskWi$e: Strategies to navigate financial risks in cropping – Lake Bolac

13 March
5 - 8.30 pm

Lake Bolac
Lake Bolac Football Club
Lake Road


Dr Graham Lean will provide valuable insights on how to mitigate potential risks and maximise profitability in the cropping industry.

For further information and to register visit FAR Australia events page here.

Dinner is provided so registration is essential.

Feed budgets and decision making - Ararat
Man kneeling in paddock with feed budget calculator tools

13 March
10 am to 3 pm

Agriculture Victoria Ararat office
233-239 Barkly Street

Register here.


Sheep producers in the Ararat area are invited to a free farm business success workshop with Cam Nicholson, Director of Nicon Rural Services.

Cam is a consultant with over 30 years experience in feed budgeting and decision making.

Explore the tools and principles of feeding your sheep, feed budgeting and preparing for the autumn break, managing climate variability and seasonal risks.

Cam is well known for his decision making – setting trigger points for decision making such as knowing what to feed and how to decide when to sell versus supplementary feeding.

You will leave the workshop with new skills and an action plan to achieve your business goals.

GRDC Herbicide behaviour workshop – Ballarat

14 to 15 March
8 am to 1 pm

Redan (Ballarat)



This workshop will focus on the biological pathways and environmental factors that influence herbicide performance, along with interactions that may occur when products are mixed.

To find out more and to register visit the I Can Rural website here.

Genetics Australia - Today, Tomorrow and Beyond
Genetics Australia logo on green background

18 - 19 March

GMHBA Stadium
Melbourne, Victoria


The Today, Tomorrow and Beyond conference revolves around the future of cattle breeding, incorporating cutting-edge technologies, and showcasing new industry research and ideas.

The overarching objective is to inspire the next generation to leverage genetics in advancing top-tier dairy and beef operations while simultaneously reducing the carbon footprint of these industries.

Agriculture Victoria will be presenting at this conference including:

  • Professor Jennie Pryce, Agriculture Victoria Research Director Genomics and Cell Sciences, on a worldwide overview of 'Breeding for sustainability and resilience'
  • Dr Jo Newton OAM, Agriculture Victoria Research Scientist on the role of genetic improvement in creating greater integration between our dairy and beef industries.

Click here to read the program in full.

To register, click here.

Calculating carbon for sheep and beef producers
woman on smartphone in front of herd of Angus black cattle

19 March
9 am to 1 pm

Mercure Hotel and Convention Centre
613 Main Rd


Join Professor Richard Eckard of the University of Melbourne for a free workshop hosted by Agriculture Victoria to guide you through calculating emissions for your sheep or beef farm. 

The workshop will be delivered in a hybrid format for participants to attend in person or online via Zoom.

Workshop program

  • Why you need to Know your Number
  • How carbon accounting works
  • Complete the MLA Carbon Calculator for your farm, learn about key indicators and troubleshoot problems (using your laptop or one supplied)
  • Question and answer session with Professor Eckard and other Agriculture Victoria emissions specialists. 


To register click here.

Some preparation will be required. You will be supplied information and resources at registration.

For more information, please contact:

Jane Court, Agriculture Victoria on 0436 606 742 or email.

MLA Goat Roadshow Webinar

19 March
7 - 8.30 pm


Register here.


Are your goats fit to load? Are you planning to sell goats soon?

Make sure you understand your roles and responsibilities in ensuring animals are fit to travel before you start loading.

This free Meat & Livestock Australia Goat Roadshow webinar is designed to provide useful and practical insights on how to ensure your goats are fit to load before transport.

Hear from NSW DPI's Dr Petrea Wait, Agriculture Victoria’s Dr Berwyn Squire and Integrity Systems Company’s Elizabeth Bradley who will provide who will provide an overview of the Fit to Load legislation, plus on-farm advice for ensuring you meet animal welfare obligations, including the importance of checking animals prior to transport, your responsibilities and how to comply with NVD and NLIS requirements.

MLA invites goat producers to join to find out more on:

  • Understanding when an animal is and isn’t fit to make a journey
  • Preparing animals for transport
  • Individual roles and responsibilities in ensuring animal welfare
  • Practical tips and resources available
  • Livestock traceability - understanding LPA requirements around animal welfare, completing NVDs and updating the NLIS database.

Make sure you understand your responsibilities in ensuring compliance with the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for the Land Transport of Livestock.

Boort sheep producers workshop
sheep in yard

21 March
9 am to 1 pm




Sheep producers in the Boort area, come and join us and Rochester vet Dr Frankie Collett for a free interactive workshop on Thursday 21 March, from 9 am to 1 pm.

Participants will discuss local health issues, learn about their prevention and treatment options, and create an animal health plan.

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

To find out more contact Erica Schelfhorst on 0429 807 689 or register on Trybooking

Managing vulnerable Mallee soils paddock walk and pit inspection
Tractor pulling harrow through stubble

25 March
2.30 pm – 5.30pm

Meet corner Calder Hwy and Chapman Rd by 2.30 pm to travel to paddock.

26 March
9.30 am – 5.30pm

Meet corner Cemetery Rd Cowangie and Mallee Hwy by 9.30 am to travel to paddock.

To register click here.


Agriculture Victoria has partnered with Birchip Cropping Group and Mallee Sustainable Farming and invite you to join us and our host farmers for a paddock walk at our demonstration sites focussed on managing vulnerable Mallee soils.

With soils expert Dr Cassandra Schefe from AgriSci, we will examine a soil pit and explore results and observations from these sites which look at the value of using bentonite clay and compost for soil improvement.


Dr. Cassandra Schefe - AgriSci

  • understanding vulnerable soils in the region 
  • soil pit investigations
  • understanding and managing soils on your farm as part of building drought resilience.

Roger Harrower - Agriculture Victoria

  • using bentonite clay and compost to improve water retention and support crop growth
  • results from the 2023 paddock demo sites.

Dr. Yolanda Plowman – Birchip Cropping Group (Ouyen event) and Nick Paltridge – Mallee Sustainable Farming (Murrayville event)

  • results from their managing vulnerable soils 2023 farm trials and other trials in the region.
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 (DEECA) and 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. 

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