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Thursday 26 October 2023

In this edition:

Free financial counselling with RFCS
person in peaked cap looking at sunset

Have you been impacted by recent floods, fires or dry seasonal conditions?

The Rural Financial Counselling Service provides a free and confidential financial counselling service to eligible farmers and small related enterprises who are experiencing, or at risk of, financial hardship.

They can help you to access available support, analyse your business situation, negotiate with lenders and develop strategies to improve your financial position.

To find your closest service visit or call 1300 771 741.

Beekeepers – know how to do an alcohol wash
screenshot of alcohol wash video

There are 3 tests commonly used to detect varroa mite and other pests, including alcohol wash, sugar shake and drone uncapping.

While sugar shake and drone uncapping are useful detection methods, alcohol washing has been found to be more effective at detecting varroa mite.

Make sure you understand safe handling techniques before opening a  hive. It's essential that you wear protective clothing when collecting  bees for testing.

Learn more about alcohol testing for varroa mite here.

Wimmera Pulse Field Day 2023 highlights
man and women in hat and sunglasses in front of crowd

Big thanks to everyone who joined us at this whole of industry event.

Great feedback from the crowd regarding presentations on:
👏 Latest varieties for sowing including two new releases available in 2025 from our Ag Vic Research lentil and pea breeding teams
😱 Pulse diseases to watch out for this season and how to manage them
🌐 Marketing options including local to global exports including AGT Foods who flew in from Toowoomba
😎 The CSIRO national pulse agronomy project.

We look forward to seeing you all at the next event. Watch the video highlights here.

Be aware of hydatids

Dr Jeff Cave, Senior Veterinary Officer

You may have recently read that a living roundworm, suspected to have come from the faeces of a carpet python, was pulled from brain of a woman in New South Wales.

It was the first documented case of the parasite infecting a human.

Needless to say, she was extremely unlucky. However, there are other, more common parasites that can infect both animals and humans known as zoonotic parasites.

A zoonotic parasite of significant risk to rural communities in south-eastern Australia are hydatids.

In the past, hydatids were a significant cause of illness in Australian rural communities.

This was largely due to the practice of feeding the offal of sheep to farm dogs, the absence of treatment of tapeworm in farm dogs, and the close physical connection between farmers and their dogs.

Abattoir surveillance data has shown that the risk of hydatids is still present, with one peer reviewed study showing that hydatid cysts were found in 8% of cattle carcasses at a major abattoir in eastern Australia.

To understand how you may become infected with hydatids it is useful to understand the hydatid lifecycle, which has two stages.

The adult hydatid tapeworm lives in the intestine of dogs and dingos (and foxes to a lesser extent).

The adult tapeworm produces eggs that are passed in the dog or dingo’s droppings.

When sheep, kangaroos and cattle ingest the eggs in contaminated dog or dingo droppings they become infected.

The hydatids then develop into its immature stage as watery cysts in the soft tissues such as the liver and lungs of those animals.

When a dog or dingo ingests raw offal or dead stock that contain the immature cysts, they become infected completing the lifecycle.

Humans can become infected in the same way as a sheep, cow, or kangaroo if they are in close contact with infected dogs.

Children are at particular risk due to their close contact with dogs and their tendency to transfer eggs to their mouths.

When a person becomes infected, cysts may develop in the liver, lungs, or brain.

The consequences of this may be fatal. The only treatment in humans is by radical surgery to remove the cysts.

Hydatid disease can be prevented by following several important steps:

  • Worm dogs regularly with an all wormer that is effective against the hydatid tapeworm
  • Never feed raw offal to dogs
  • Promptly dispose of all dead stock
  • Keep dogs kennelled or chained when not working to prevent them finding offal or dead stock
  • Restrict dog’s access to household vegetable gardens and wash all vegetables thoroughly
  • Wash your hands after handling dogs and before eating, smoking etc.

These steps are tried and proven and were used in a coordinated way to successfully eradicate hydatids in both New Zealand and Tasmania.

Biosecurity matters for contractors
dirty tyre

Jim Moran - Grains Industry Biosecurity Officer

As the winter crop ripens rapidly in the southern state’s grain belt, thoughts of managing the harvest are front of mind for grain growers.

Contractors employed to assist with your harvest management activities need to be aware of your farm biosecurity standards and expectations, to manage the risk of introducing hitchhiker pests, weeds, and diseases onto your property.

Regardless of the contractor’s expertise in spraying, windrowing, harvesting, transporting, or storage, it’s essential your biosecurity standards are included and agreed to as part of the contracting process.

By including clear and precise wording in the contract it can minimise assumptions about the biosecurity activities to be undertaken, how they will be done, what proof is required, and what penalties apply if they aren’t observed.

Contractors should be committed to maintaining biosecurity practices that protect both your business and theirs from the risk of biosecurity events.

Essential contractor responsibilities include:

  • meeting all state-based quarantine requirements and general biosecurity obligations
  • training their staff in biosecurity awareness and procedures
  • arriving clean and leaving clean
  • supplying agreed-upon evidence (written or photographic) of pre-arrival cleanliness and pre-exit cleanliness of all their machinery and equipment
  • signing in and signing out all staff, equipment, and machinery.

Quotes from contractors should consider:

  • time required for cleaning before arrival on your property
  • time required for cleaning before departure from your property
  • fees and charges relating to required biosecurity documentation and inspections when travelling interstate.
  • Property owners should consider providing contractors with the location of suitable washdown areas and cleaning equipment to clean footwear, machinery and equipment appropriately.

Have the conversations about biosecurity with contractors early and often to avoid non-compliance with your farm biosecurity expectations. Make it impossible to fail to prevent any nasty surprises.

The promotion of biosecurity practices within the grains industry has resulted in an increase in on-farm and industry wide knowledge about best practice biosecurity management techniques.

With recent examples of how fast a weed, pest or disease can spread there’s every motivation to ensure accountability for anyone visiting and working on your farm to meet your biosecurity practices and standards.

It’s important for grain growers and all land managers to take ownership of biosecurity at their farm. It’s no longer unusual to have conversations about biosecurity with people, before they enter the farming property.

All farmers are encouraged to place a biosecurity sign at the farm’s main gates, as a reminder that biosecurity matters and is everyone’s responsibility. Establishing the requirement for all visitors to contact you prior to entry allows you to enforce your biosecurity requirements.

Grain Producers Australia Chair and WA grain producer, Barry Large, said everyone needs to stay vigilant on biosecurity to help protect vital grain market access and safeguard farm businesses against damaging pests and diseases.

Mr Large said the Australian Custom Harvesters Association, that represents professional contract harvesters across Australia, included biosecurity in recommended standard contracts with a pragmatic and common-sense approach.

‘GPA supports this approach, with biosecurity terms included in contracts, when engaging a contractor to work on your farm,’ he said.

‘This will ensure we lift standards to strengthen biosecurity protections, with greater accountability and shared responsibility, to support the profitability and sustainability of grain producers and our industry.’

For free biosecurity gate signs, Farm Biosecurity Manuals, Monitoring Grain Storage Manuals, and biosecurity fact sheets, please contact Agriculture Victoria on 136 186.

For exceptional biosecurity resources, tactics and other information, please visit:

Parts of this article were inspired by Contractor agreements: A guide to biosecurity, published in VineHealth Australia e-newsletter 25 September 2023.

Prevent parasite impacts on your pig herd health
pig in straw

Agriculture Victoria has found roundworm (Ascaris suum) in one-third of pig herds tested as part of a free new animal health program.

Agriculture Victoria Principal Veterinary Officer Dianne Phillips and her team have undertaken testing on 45 herds statewide to help raise awareness of the risks to herd health.

‘The large roundworm is found in the small intestine of pigs and left untreated, it can reduce growth rates by up to 10% in piglets, particularly in the 6-12 week old age bracket,’ Dr Phillips said.

‘Roundworm parasites can block the small intestines and bile duct of heavily infested pigs.’

Roundworm eggs can survive on pastures and even concrete floors for up to 10 years, which presents a further risk to pig herds.

‘The best thing you can do for your herd is to get them tested – we have spaces available and it’s a great chance for pig owners to ask staff any questions they may have,' Dr Phillips said.

Agriculture Victoria aims to test 200 small, medium and largescale herds across the state as part of the biosecurity program funded through Victoria’s Swine Compensation Fund .

Faecal samples are collected for free roundworm and whipworm testing and results reported back with information about treatment and management options.

‘There have been no whipworm detections in the pigs tested to date, which is great news for owners,’ Dr Phillips said.

‘Whipworms (Trichuris suis) are found in the large intestine and can cause bloody diarrhoea, with affected pigs losing up to 20% bodyweight and suffering 10% mortality rate.’

Strongyle eggs, potentially from a number of internal parasites, have been detected in over 50% of the sites tested – if left untreated, they can reach high numbers and impact pig health and welfare.

As well as providing free worm testing, Agriculture Victoria staff have helped pig owners to identify and reduce animal health risks through developing an on-farm biosecurity plan.

‘An effective biosecurity plan is key to keeping out pests, disease, weeds and contaminants from your property, many of which can seriously impact pig health and welfare,’ Dr Phillips said.

‘Implementing an effective biosecurity plan is the key to reducing risks to pig health, including emergency animal diseases such as foot and mouth disease and African swine fever.’

To register your interest for the free worm testing program and gain hands-on help with developing a tailored biosecurity plan, email the team at .

For more information, visit Biosecurity plans and worm testing program or contact your local animal health officers.

A taste you can trace podcast – episode 5
a taste you can trace podcast episode 5

The Implementing Food Traceability Program looks to help and support growers to be the most efficient and cost-effective that they can be when it comes to traceability.

In this episode, Rose Elphick-Darling from Deakin University’s Food Traceability Lab delves into the help that is on offer.

Listen online via the AgVic website:

Final collections for fox and wild dog bounty

The Fox and Wild Dog Bounty collections are ending in the north-west region. 

Submit entire fox scalps for a $10 reward and/or entire wild dog body parts for a $120 reward.

Visit for information on other collection points and to learn more.


180 Horsham-Noradjuha Road, Horsham

Collection type:
Fox only


Collection dates:

Wednesday 1 November

Time: 1:30 - 3:30 pm


Gregory Street, Ouyen

Collection type:
Fox only
Wild Dog by appointment 



Collection dates:

Tuesday 31 October 

Time: 2 - 4 pm

St Arnaud

4 Montague Street, St Arnaud

Collection type:


Collection dates:

Thursday, 2 November.

Time: 10:30 am – 12:30 pm


Swan Hill

7 Quin Drive, Swan Hill

Collection type:
Fox only



Collection dates:

Tuesday 31 October

Time: 8:30 – 10:30 am

Visit for information on other collection points and to learn more.


New resources for grain farmers as dry finish looms

Victorian grain growers have a suite of new resources to help them prepare for, and deal with the effects of late frosts and a potential dry finish to the growing season.

Read the media release in full here.

Echuca farmer pleads guilty to livestock offences

An Echuca goat farmer has pleaded guilty to 4 charges under the Livestock Disease Control Act 1994 at the Echuca Magistrates’ Court recently.

Read the media release in full here.

Keeping Victoria safe from emergency animal diseases

Agriculture Victoria’s Significant Disease Investigation program is playing a critical role in protecting Victorian livestock from emergency animal diseases, with subsidies provided to vets for nearly 370 investigations last financial year (2022-23).

Read the media release in full here.

Mallee CMA - Win sensational prizes for your bird snaps!

During October, Mallee CMA (MCMA) is highlighting some of the amazing bird species you may encounter while enjoying the wetlands and national parks within the MCMA region.

To learn more and enter their competition, please fill in the form here.

Entries close 5 pm Friday 3 November 2023.

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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.

Loose smut webinar
loose smut of barley

30 October



This webinar will provide an update on the current loose smut situation in Victorian and West Australian barley crops including the best management strategies for 2024.

Join Andrea Hill (DPIRD), Hari Dadu (AgVic), and Geoff Thomas (DPIRD) as they provide the latest information about loose smut, particularly relating to the current situation in Victoria and Western Australia.


  • Why 2023 has had higher levels of loose smut compared to other years
  • What is the carryover risk?
  • What are the best management options/strategies?

For more information, email or call 0428 625 236.

To register for this free event, click here.

Pathways to export - Austrade Digital Services for Exporters
image of fingers typing on a keyboard

30 October
2 - 3 pm

Online workshop


Are you a Victorian agri-food business and thinking about or currently exporting?

Join us for an exclusive interactive online workshop for both experienced and new exporters who want to discover Austrade’s digital services.

Austrade has recently launched improvements to its Go Global toolkit that make it easier to use, along with two new tools:

  • The export rules finder allows you to find specific market requirements for their products, including certificates, licences, registrations and permits.
  • The tariff finder allows you to look up taxes, preferential and most favoured nation tariff rates, and FTAs to export their goods to more than 160 markets.

The Go Global Toolkit can inform your expansion and diversification strategy with market insights, export rules and an export plan builder.

Register your interest here.

Managing vulnerable soils agronomy and crop walks
image of paddock

Monday 30 October
10 am - 12 pm

Corner Calder Highway and Chapman Road

Tuesday 31 October
10 am - 12 pm

Corner Cemetery Road Cowangie and Mallee Highway


Agriculture Victoria invites you to join us and our host farmers for a crop walk. We will explore results and observations from our demonstration sites looking at the value of using bentonite clay and compost as part of managing vulnerable Mallee soils and discuss seasonal and regional crop observations.

This is a free event.

No registration required. 

For more information Darryl Pearl on 0417 432 711 or email

MLA updates – Bendigo, 23 November
MLA updates 23 November 2023 Bendigo Victoria

Come to MLA Updates 2023. A mixture of presentations and interactive displays will outline MLA investments and progress against the MLA Strategic Plan 2025 at the event.

MLA Updates 2023 will be held on Thursday 23 November at Fosterville Gold Exhibition Centre at the Bendigo Showgrounds, 42 – 72 Holmes Road, Bendigo.

The MLA Annual General Meeting will also take place at this venue on 23 November.

For more information click HERE

Australian Women in Agriculture Conference 2023
Event Details

24-25 November




Save the date. All welcome.

Visit or check social channels to learn more.

AWIA program with woman on tablet in front of cows and woman laughing with teacup
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Call 136 186 from anywhere in Australia for the cost of a local call (except for mobiles and public telephones).

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All contact points can be found at:

Don't forget to check out Agriculture Victoria's social media sites for up-to-date information and news.



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