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Thursday, 8 February 2024

In this edition:

Mosquito numbers peak
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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, or 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.
Enrol now: Rochester/Elmore FBR workshop series

Farmers in the Rochester and Elmore communities have an opportunity to attend a series of free Farm Business Resilience (FBR) workshops starting in early March.

The workshops are designed to help participants better prepare for and manage the impacts of a changing climate.

Agriculture Recovery Officer Elizabeth Alsop said the four workshops focus on key elements for achieving individual farm business goals by supporting the development or updating of existing farm business plans.

‘Expert presenters include Senior Agribusiness Consultant Jane Foster (from ORM Pty Ltd), who will lead the first workshop on business planning for success, and Agriculture Victoria Seasonal Risk Agronomist Dale Grey, who will present on climate risk in the fourth workshop.

‘Participants attending three or more of the workshops, will be offered a one-on-one business planning session with Senior Agribusiness Consultant Jane Foster.’

Previous FBR participants have endorsed the value of the program, for instance: ‘it has shown me that by putting my ideas on paper I can see what my future looks like’ and ‘I feel confident that I can now chip away … and I have a better idea of where to turn should I need additional information or support.’

The workshops will be held throughout March and cover key farm management topics:

  • Friday 8 March: Planning for success – identifying and managing risks, strategic planning and setting business goals (Presenter: ORM Consultant, Jane Foster)
  • Thursday 14 March: Business success – financial management, budgeting and profitable decision making (Presenter: Agriculture Victoria Farm Business Economist, Sam Henty)
  • Thursday 21 March: People success – managing people on-farm, succession planning and farm safety (Presenter: Agriculture Victoria Biosecurity and Business Resilience Officer, Helen Chenoweth)
  • Thursday 26 March: Climate risk and natural resource management – understanding and identifying climate risk and natural resource management on-farm (Presenters: Agriculture Victoria Seasonal Risk Agronomist Dale Grey and Land Management Extension Officer, Martin Hamilton).

Register your interest in attending the Rochester/Elmore workshops HERE

Primary producers from other regions can also register their interest in future Farm Business Resilience workshops at the same link.

For more information, contact Elizabeth Alsop on 0457 838 537 or

A practical guide for older farmers and their families
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When looking at the overall picture of farm incidents in Victoria and Australia, there are two standout statistics.

Ag industry workers over 60 years of age were involved in 41.8% of farming fatalities nationally in 2022, and nearly 40% of all the of the ag industry workplace fatalities involve the farmer themselves, or their immediate family members.

The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) recognises there is a clear need to engage with older farmers in its mission to improve the safety outcomes for the Victorian farming sector.

More importantly, the VFF shares a mutual desire with farming families across Victoria, to do as much as we can to ensure that older farmers remain as safe and healthy as they can, for as long as possible.

This handbook is realistic about what is possible, and is written from a place of compassion by people who are in the industry, and who have a deep understanding of the challenges in this space.

Conversations about ageing and succession are not easy ones to have, because they touch on identity, legacy and the rights of the individual vs. the family vs. the community.

This handbook also acknowledges that the pathways for farmers as they age are not clear-cut.

There is no one ‘right way’, only a whole lot of options from which to choose the best path for each family or situation.

Download the free booklet here.

Partnership Against Pests
Partnership against pests

Do you have a great idea to upskill your community to help combat established pests and weeds in Victoria?

Our new Partnerships Against Pests grants will provide funding between $10,000-50,000 for initiatives including educational events, communication tools and products to boost community awareness.

Applications close 19 February 2024.

Learn more HERE

Are you feeding your livestock sufficiently?
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Agriculture Victoria is advising livestock owners to assess their livestock feed situation, as failing to provide proper and sufficient feed to livestock is an offence under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986.

Agriculture Victoria Senior Officer of Animal Welfare Morgan Cassell said producers need to make appropriate decisions regarding their livestock and ability to provide adequate feed.

Livestock owners and managers should ask:

  • what are the nutritional requirements for the class and number of livestock I keep?
  • how much feed do I currently have on offer and is it meeting my livestock’s energy and protein requirements?
  • how much supplement feed do I need to be feeding?
  • will I have enough? Will I be able to source more?
  • what alternative options do I have; agistment, destocking?

‘If you aren’t sure of any of the answers to these questions, you need to seek advice or do your research.

‘There are many free resources and tools available to help and once you know the answers you can then make an informed decision, plan and take action.’

For information on feeding livestock visit Agriculture Victoria’s Feeding Livestock website

‘You will find information on sheep and cattle nutrition, tools to help calculate feed-on-offer and interpret feed test results and templates to create a feed budget.

Otherwise, you can also put in a call to your local Agriculture Victoria Livestock Extension Officer on 136 186,’ Ms Cassell said.

'Agriculture Victoria will investigate any allegation which concerns an owner or person in charge failing to provide proper and sufficient feed to an animal.’

Anyone wishing to make a specific complaint regarding livestock welfare can contact Agriculture Victoria at or on 136 186.

The Horticultural Netting Program – NOW OPEN
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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.

Be on the lookout for blue-green algae in farm dams
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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

Have flood waters impacted your farm water supply?
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Floodwaters have the potential to impact farm water supplies.

Farm dams and channels can become contaminated after floods, with potential for water quality issues to develop over time.

Learn more about how to manage contaminated farm water supplies on the Agriculture Victoria website

Victoria’s inspiring Rural Women’s Award finalists

Four trail-blazing Victorian women are in the running for the 2024 Agrifutures Rural Women’s Award.

The Award celebrates Australia’s rural women leaders from across a range of industries, including Victoria’s $20.2 billion agriculture sector, who use their skills to benefit their communities and rural Australia, and inspire others.

The Victorian winner will be announced in April and will receive $15,000 towards their project. They will also go on to represent Victoria at the National Award, a Gala event at Parliament House in September. The national winner will receive a further $20,000 towards their project, and the national runner-up $15,000.

In 2023, Victoria’s Glenmore-based co-founder of Grown Not Flown, Nikki Davis, took out the National prize. She said the award felt like recognition for the challenges she has faced as a female founder working across both the agriculture and technology sectors.

‘I am not a natural farmer, I don’t know how to fix a fence, and I would prefer to stay indoors when it is windy outside,’ Ms Davis said.

‘What I am good at is problem solving, working with technology and data, and believing that we can change the world with our ideas.’

This year’s finalists are:

Georgina Morrison, from Hamilton, formed the Creative Toolkit to help position rural Australia as a hub for competitive creatives. The online academy aims to empower rural creatives to expand their profitable skillsets.

Grace Larson, from Kyneton, formed The Sisterhood Project to mitigate the barriers of distance and affordability for parents and carers in rural areas. The Project aims to deliver free access to essential paediatric first aid training for vulnerable groups, to help curb higher child mortality rates in rural Australia.

Reeanjou Ram, based in Melbourne but raised in Fiji, founded iTrazo Tracetech to help bridge the gap between Australia’s rural producers and their metropolitan consumers. iTrazo offers digital traceability services to mitigate transport risks for producers and better inform customers.

Sarah Holmes, from Mildura, founded EnviroEDU to promote environment, conservation and sustainability awareness in rural and regional communities. EnviroEDU aims to educate children at the grassroots level to help contribute to conserving our natural ecosystems.

In addition to the Victorian AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award, the Victorian Government is supporting women in agriculture and rural communities more broadly with a suite of programs that provide leadership skills and support resilience and connection for women across rural Victoria.

For more information about the award visit the Agriculture Victoria website.

Have your say on Victoria’s new animal protection laws
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The draft bill for a new Animal Care and Protection Act has been released for public comment.

This is the final opportunity for feedback before the bill for a new act is finalised.

The new act would replace the current Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986.

A new act would explicitly recognise animal sentience and set minimum care requirements for animals in Victorian law for the first time.

The approach to cruelty offences would be strengthened, and the legislation would support co-regulation to reduce the regulatory burden on industries.

Activities like farming, pest control, hunting, fishing and racing would be able to continue under the new laws.

Reforming the laws will protect animals from cruelty while supporting Victorians to continue to interact responsibly with them and will help maintain trust in our animal-based activities and industries.

Regulations setting out requirements for specific species and activities involving animals would support the act.  A new act would not come into force for at least two years to enable development of the new regulations.

The first consultation on the regulations has opened alongside the draft bill consultation.

The consultation is open until 8 March 2024.

Have your say at Engage Victoria.

Podcast – Hear about farming through flood in episode 2 of 'After the flood'
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Murray Van der Drift talks about how his family dealt with flood waters approaching their farm from three directions.

Murray emphasises the importance of relationships within your community and being prepared to listen to what's going on up stream.

Listen via the AgVic website

Beware of water weeds
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As two of the world’s most invasive water weeds, salvinia and water hyacinth threaten our food growing communities and environment.

These weeds may look attractive, but they are highly invasive and quickly cover waterways.

If you suspect you have water hyacinth or salvinia on your property, please email a photo to, or call us on 136 186.

You can also make a report via the Agriculture Victoria website

Expert panel to assist Australian dairy farmers in strategic infrastructure investments
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An exceptional gathering of 35 global and local industry experts is set to impart their wealth of experience and insights at the forthcoming 'Raising the Roof 2024' event.

Hosted by Dairy Australia and Agriculture Victoria, the event is scheduled from Tuesday, February 27, to Thursday, February 29, at the picturesque Hunter Valley in New South Wales.

As the exclusive Australian dairy industry event dedicated to intensive farm systems, 'Raising the Roof 2024' aims to equip Australian dairy farmers with global best practices through the expertise of leading experts worldwide.

This year's panel includes distinguished speakers from as far afield as Germany and the United States of America, including Karl Burgi, Alain Houle, Michael Heinrich, Scott Blevins and Dr Mike Wolf.

In addition to international speakers, the event will feature respected local professionals in intensive farm systems and successful Australian dairy farmers who have seamlessly transitioned to feedpads and contained housing.

Karen Romano, Dairy Australia’s National Feeding and Farm Systems Lead, emphasised the unique learning opportunity presented by the event, providing access to technical specialists on global best practices and insights from farmers who have successfully upgraded their farm systems.

'Dairy Australia is dedicated to empowering dairy farmers with business planning and risk management tools to enhance decision-making and improve profitability,' said Romano.

'Given that investments in infrastructure, such as contained housing systems and feedpads, are substantial for most farm businesses, seeking the right advice is crucial before making such a significant financial commitment.'

'Raising the Roof 2024 brings together knowledge leaders from across Australia and around the globe to assist Australian dairy farmers in making informed decisions and avoiding unnecessary expenditures on systems or infrastructure that may not suit their local conditions or long-term plans,' added Romano.

The panel includes a diverse representation of technical professionals and Australian dairy farmers who have successfully transitioned their farms to intensive systems, providing a practical perspective to complement technical insights.

The complete list of speakers for 'Raising the Roof 2024' can be found here.

The event will also feature presentations and discussions with industry leaders, as well as both virtual and in-person farm visits showcasing the latest innovative thinking in a variety of intensive farm systems.

Tickets for the event are selling rapidly. For more information and to secure your attendance, click here

In case you missed it

Recruitment drive for food safety boards

State food safety regulators PrimeSafe and Dairy Food Safety Victoria (DFSV) are looking for 11 new board members and applications are open now.


Want to learn about biosecurity in your backyard?

Victorian small-scale property and livestock owners can now access a new resource to help navigate the world of livestock and farming..


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.

Farming fundamentals for new landholders
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Are you a new landholder with a small farm in the City of Greater Bendigo and surrounds? Are you planning to buy livestock?

Come along to a free, practical and hands-on day on the fundamentals of farming.

This free workshop is designed to ensure you are providing a safe and healthy environment for not only yourself and the animals you care for, but anyone who visits your farm.


  • Farm safety for small landholders
  • Correct design of yards, loading ramps and crushes
  • Farm planning
  • Welfare requirements of different livestock
  • Where, when, and why of farm infrastructure choices.

Food will be provided so registration is essential.


  • John Darcy, MOFS Farm Safety Advisor
  • Christine Gorman, Calmer Farmer Consulting.

Friday, 9 February from 8:45 am - 3 pm

Sedgwick Hall, Sedgwick

Part of the workshop will be held on-farm, please wear covered shoes and appropriate clothing for the weather, and note that some fitness will be required to move around the farm.

Attendees will be responsible for their own transport.

Click here to register

Creating an animal movement record workshop

Agriculture Victoria is delivering free hands-on workshops for cattle, sheep and goat producers to understand their livestock traceability requirements.

Participants will learn how complete National Vendor Declarations (NVDs) and how to use the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) database to complete property-to-property transfers. 

Traceability is an important tool for farmers to minimise biosecurity risks and livestock industries to maintain market access.

Date: Tuesday 13 February

Time: 9:30 am – 3 pm

Where: Benalla DEECA office, 89 Sydney Road, Benalla.


  • Victorian livestock traceability requirements
  • updating your Property Identification Code (PIC)
  • completing National Vendor Declarations (NVDs)
  • setting up, navigating and using the NLIS database
  • completing property-to-property (P2P) transfers on the NLIS database.

Workshop numbers are limited so you must register to attend.

For more information contact Kirstie Anderson, Project Leader, Innovative Sheep and Beef Networks, on 0437 990 967 or at

Back On Track: Tallangatta Community Consult
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Let’s get mental health for farmers Back on Track!

The National Centre of Farmer Health (NCFH) are seeking local input and community involvement from the Tallangatta community in an exciting new trial of a peer-led model of support for people in farming communities experiencing low mood or poor mental health.

Have your say or get involved.

Connect with fellow community members who share a common interest in mental health and wellbeing, build relationships and be part of creating a supportive network within the Tallangatta community.

NCFH will be running two sessions on Tuesday 13 February at 11 am - 1pm or 6:30 - 8:30 pm. Meals will be provided at both sessions.

For more information please get in touch with Suzy at, or on (03) 5551 8533, or visit Back On Track.

Webinars: Stock Sense Farming Essentials Webinar Series

Join Stock Sense six-part webinar series on the essential elements of farm ownership. Each session offers practical insights and expert advice to empower you on your farming journey.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to set the foundation for a successful, rewarding, and sustainable farming experience.

Starts on Friday 14 February at 6 pm and finishes on Wednesday 20 March.

Register and find out more here.

Planning autumn start up – Cohuna

Ag Vic is teaming up with Murray Dairy to put on a series of dairy autumn start-up workshops across northern Victoria.

Join us as farm consultant Phil Shannon takes us through a variety of topics that will assist in preparing you for the upcoming season.

Where and when: Bower Tavern Cohuna 59-61 King George St, Cohuna on 21 February, 10.30 am to 1.30 pm.

The workshops will cover:

  • Assessing available feed and preparing for autumn sowing
  • Managing transition from summer to autumn
  • Planning what to sow and when.

The workshop is free and open to all dairy farmers with lunch and tea/coffee provided.

Register HERE

For more information Tanya Dobrijevic on 0429 353 649 or at

Webinar: Making sense of carbon and emissions for Victorian farmers
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Victorian farm businesses are getting on with the job of growing more food and fibre, while dealing with changeable seasons and weather patterns.

We also know that more attention is being paid to the carbon and emissions performance of our agricultural industries and farms.

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


  • Heather Field, Climate Change Service Development Officer
  • Graeme Anderson, Climate Specialist
  • Alison Kelly, Farm Emissions Specialist.

Click here to register

For more information about this webinar, including assistance joining the webinar, at

2024 Australian Dairy Conference in February

Australia’s premier dairy event will return to the Victorian capital of Melbourne from 12-14 February.

Program details and more information to be released throughout 2024.

Find out more here.

Raising the roof 2024
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Presented by Dairy Australia and Agriculture Victoria, Raising the Roof is the only Australian dairy industry event dedicated to intensive farm systems.

Hear from international experts who are at the forefront of cutting-edge dairy farming.

Find out about global best practice, and the latest industry breakthroughs that are reshaping the future of dairy.

Learn about the tools and resources you’ll need to thrive in the ever-evolving dairy industry.

Gain invaluable insights that will empower you to make informed decisions about feedpad or contained housing infrastructure.

WHEN: 27 – 29 February

WHERE: Hunter Valley, NSW


For more information email

Riverine Plains harvest wrap ups

Each event will feature a discussion on harvest challenges and learnings, an update on Riverine Plains 2024 work and 2023 project results, a feedback session, plus a tailored segment at each event.

  • Tuesday 27 Feb: Rand - Soil extension machinery demonstration led by Chris Wiesner (Wiesners) showcasing Lemken machines. Register for Rand here
  • Wednesday 28 Feb: Katamatite - All things spraying! Weed-It, drones for spraying with Akron Australia and pre-emergent spray  discussion. Commonwealth Bank AgriEconomist: Dennis Voznesenski. Register for Katamatite here
  • Thursday 29 Feb: Murchison - Stock containment and nutrition discussion. Commonwealth Bank AgriEconomist: Dennis Voznesenski. Register for Murchison here

Riverine Plains Inc. looks forward to seeing you there!

BredWell FedWell - Introduction to breeding and feeding cattle to maximise profit
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Murrindindi, 8 March from 8:30 am for 9 am – 4:30 pm

Where: 93 Creeds Road, Murrindindi 

Hosted by Paringa Livestock, Olivia and Tom Lawson

  • Develop a customised breeding plan for your cattle enterprise aligned to your profit drivers 
  • Identify sires and select animals that help you meet your objectives 
  • Learn about feeding livestock well to achieve your objective and maximise your genetic investment.

Registration fee - inc GST, introductory price: $200pp

Limited places, register online by 23 February please cliick HERE

Delivered by Alison Gunn, Herd Solutions.

Rochester/Elmore Farm Business Resilience Course - Workshop series
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Want to build a stronger, more productive farm business?

Where: All these face-to-face workshops will be held at Pine Grove Fire Station; 2691 Whinfield Rd, Lockington.

Agriculture Victoria has the workshop series to help you build more resilience in your farm business.

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

As a bonus, if you attend 3 or more workshops, you will secure a business planning one-on-one session with Senior Agribusiness Consultant Jane Foster from ORM Pty Ltd at the end of the workshop series.

Workshop 1 – Planning for Success
Date: Friday 8 March
Time: 9:30 am – 12 pm

Topic: Join Senior Agribusiness Consultant, Jane Foster, ORM Pty Ltd, for a workshop on identifying and managing risks, strategic planning and setting business goals.

Workshop 2 – Business Success
Date: Thursday 14 March
Time: 9 am – 12:30 pm

Topic: Join Farm Business Economist, Sam Henty, for a workshop on financial management, budgeting and profitable decision making.

Workshop 3 – People Success
Date: Thursday 21 March
Time: 9 am – 12:30 pm

Topic: Dairy Biosecurity and Business Resilience Officer, Helen Chenoweth, will deliver a workshop on managing people on farm, succession planning and farm safety.

Workshop 4 – Climate Risk and Natural Resource Management
Date: Tuesday 26 March
Time: 9 am – 12:30 pm

Topic: Seasonal Risk Agronomist, Dale Grey and Land Management Extension Officer Martin Hamilton, will deliver a workshop on understanding and identifying climate risk and natural resource management on farm.


For more information contact Elizabeth Alsop on or call 0457 838 537.

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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:

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