Forward this email | View in web browser
Gippsland Ag News
Thursday, 1 December 2022
In this edition:
Flood information
Increased risk of Japanese encephalitis
Image of two pigs in hay. Image text reads Japanese encephalitis, flood waters have increased the risk of Japanese encephalitis for animal health

Flooding and heavy rainfall have increased the risk of a range of mosquito-borne diseases in Victoria, including Japanese encephalitis (JE).

JE can cause illness in susceptible animal species including horses and pigs.

In pigs, the most common clinical signs are mummified and stillborn or weak piglets while horses usually show no signs of illness but can present with fever, jaundice, lethargy, neurological signs and anorexia.

For mosquito control advice visit the Farm Biosecurity website.

Plus, for information about protecting yourself from JE, please follow the Victorian Department of Health or visit Better Health.

Chemical safety after floods
Chemical storage bins

Landholders in flood affected areas may face a range of issues related to the storage and use of chemicals:

  • Weed, pest and fungicide spraying may increase after floods. There may also be increased need for chemicals used on livestock, for diseases such as flystrike. Follow the label and ensure you don’t use chemicals past their expiry date.
  • Floodwaters may result in different pests or diseases to those you usually manage. To minimise risks please only use chemicals according to the label instructions.
  • Comply with any “DO NOT” statements, including those relating to spraying near waterways or on saturated ground.
  • Be cautious when using spraying equipment on flood-affected areas as it may be less stable than normal.
  • As large areas are saturated there may be an increased need for aerial spraying. 
  • If chemicals are contaminated or damaged due to flood waters, dispose of them appropriately e.g. via subsidised programs like ChemClear (contact 1800 008 182).

For more information on dealing with floods visit

Financial support for flood-affected farmers
hay rolls submerged in floodwater; text: Primary producer recovery grant available now

A support package is available for flood-affected farmers:

  • Primary Producer Recovery Grants: Up to $75,000 grants to cover the cost of recovery and get businesses up and running again. Note: This replaces the $10,000 Primary Producer Flood Clean-Up, Relief Grants announced on 19 October. Producers that have received a Primary Producer Flood Clean-Up Relief Grant of $10,000 can now apply for up to a further $65,000 under the Primary Producer Recovery Grant, bringing the total to $75,000.
  • Rural Landholder Grants: Up to $25,000 grants to cover the costs of disaster impacts for small-scale producers.
  • Primary Producer Concessional Loans: Up to $250,000 to restore or replace damaged equipment and infrastructure, or to cover the short-term business expenses.
  • Primary Producer Transport Subsidies: Up to $15,000 to support the transport of emergency fodder or stock drinking water, and the movement of livestock.

To apply for support or for more information, visit the Rural Finance website

Rural Financial Counselling Service
Map of Victoria

The Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) has an experienced team ready to assist primary producers and small rural businesses in recovery planning.

Additional funding has been made available for these services as a result of the floods, and the significant impact on the agricultural sector.

Financial counsellors can help develop financial forecasts and business plans required for lenders or investors, plus connect with support agencies and services.

RFCS provides free financial counselling to farmers and small related businesses who are in, or at risk of, financial hardship. They can also assist with filling in forms and grant applications.

For more information or to book an appointment find your nearest RFCS HERE - Rural Financial Counselling Service locations | National Emergency Management Agency (

Report flood damage
hay rolls submerged in flooded paddock

We are urging flood-affected farmers to report their losses and damages by calling 1800 226 226.

For some practical tips after a flood go to the Agriculture Victoria website.

Remember, if you have urgent animal welfare needs call the VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226.

Taking care of yourself
Farmer health banner image

Have you been taking care of yourself?

During an emergency, people tend to exist in a survival state to get through the incident, using up considerable emotional reserves. 

If you’ve been working hard for long periods, missing meals and sleep, take some time to take care of yourself.

Recognise the signs of stress and reach out for support if you need it.

For a comprehensive list of health support agencies, click here

Practical tips for flood-affected farmers
Image of flooded paddock with hay rolls submerged

Go to our website for a range of practical flood recovery information for farmers, and helpful information on what to do immediately after a flood, including the following:

Managing animals in wet conditions

Floods resource directory                                                

Find out more HERE                              

Call for producer help – Anthrax ICT kit project for sheep

Dr Jeff Cave, Senior Veterinary Officer

Anthrax has been the cause of sudden deaths in livestock at some point in time in most districts in Victoria.

Deaths of livestock due to Anthrax mostly occur in the warmer months although history has shown that they can occur at any time of year.

Therefore, Anthrax should be at least considered whenever there is any sudden death of livestock, particularly if blood is seen around the animal’s nose, mouth, and anus.

In any flock of sheep, the sudden deaths of sheep are not unusual, particularly during periods of abundant pasture growth.

Generally, those deaths are due to more common diseases such as clostridial diseases, which can be readily prevented through vaccination, although other causes, including Anthrax, should be considered.

Agriculture Victoria is calling on the support of private veterinarians and sheep producers to supply samples from cases of sudden death in sheep as part of the anthrax immunochromatographic test (ICT) validation project.

The anthrax ICT is a well-established and reliable tool for field diagnosis of anthrax in cases of sudden death in cattle. 

This important project, funded by the Victorian sheep and goat industries, will allow the validation of the use of ICT kits in sheep to be completed. This will further support their use in routine field (pen-side) investigation of anthrax in cases of sudden death in sheep, as is currently the situation for cattle.

Private veterinarians are being provided with a financial incentive to conduct this work. Furthermore, Agriculture Victoria’s animal health and welfare staff may approve further financial support for the disease investigation, including a producer subsidy through the Significant Disease Investigation Program.

Samples from up to 10 sheep that have experienced sudden death can be submitted. Only carcasses that are less than 48 hours old can be sampled. A sampling of multiple carcasses per investigation is strongly encouraged.

Please contact your local Agriculture Victoria District Veterinary Officer or Animal Health Officer if you have any questions about the ICT validation project in sheep or the Significant Disease Investigation Program.

Traceability Hub Launch
green vine with text: join us for the online luanch of the Traceability Information Hub; Register Now

Are you an agribusiness looking to build or improve your supply chain?

Join us for the online launch of the Agriculture Victoria Traceability Information Hub.

Where: Online
When: Friday 16 December from 10-11 am

The Hub is a new resource for industry to access traceability information. It provides a central, online place to inform, educate and connect businesses along the supply chain.

Register NOW to attend

Blue-green algae in farm water supplies
Blue-green algae image; text reads: livestock owners be alert for blue-green algae

The recent flooding event combined with warmer weather conditions has produced favourable conditions for blue-green algae to thrive in farm water supplies and standing flood water.

Senior Veterinary Officer Dianne Phillips said livestock owners need to remain alert – ingestion of blue-green algae can result in the poisoning of livestock.

“As there is no specific treatment for blue-green algae poisoning, producers should check standing bodies of water and farm water supplies daily for blooms, as this remains the most effective way of preventing stock deaths.

“Blue-green algal blooms typically appear as surface scum that looks like a suspension of green paint, often with an earthy smell. However, the colour may range from pale green to dark brown,” Dr Phillips said.

Deaths can occur when stock drink toxins produced by the blue-green algae, often when it is concentrated on the down-wind side of a water supply and has formed a dense, surface scum.

Animals that have consumed blue-green algal toxin may appear ill very rapidly, develop a staggering gait, collapse, begin to convulse and die – typically within 24 hours – depending on the toxicity of the bloom and the concentration of the toxin.

Those that don’t die immediately, often suffer from severe liver damage. This may lead to the development of jaundice (the yellows) or photosensitisation over the next few days. Livestock that recover from these ailments often suffer from chronic ill-thrift.

If a suspicious bloom is noticed, the water supply should be isolated as quickly as possible, and a safe alternate water supply provided.

“Where possible producers should identify an alternative water supply, prior to their primary source of livestock drinking water being affected by a bloom. There may not be time to identify an alternative water source once the primary water supply is affected,” Dr Phillips said.

“We recommend laboratory testing of the water supply for the presence of blue-green algae and a post-mortem or examination of dead or sick animals by a veterinarian.”

Contaminated water should not be used to irrigate vegetables and fruit or come in contact with plants being grown for food, particularly fruit and vegetables that are mostly eaten raw such as apples, grapes, tomatoes, strawberries, cabbages and other salad greens.

Dr Phillips said dogs are also prone to poisoning as they can swim in farm water supplies and should be kept away from suspect water sources.

Further information on blue-green contamination in your livestock water supply is available on the Agriculture Victoria website here.

An information note ‘Managing contaminated stock water’ is also available on the Agriculture Victoria website, which steps through how to manage flood contaminated stock water supplies.

Free biosecurity learning modules for farmers
Image of a finger pointing at a digital screen; Text; Biosecurity eLearning modules for farmers

Farmers across Victoria will benefit from a series of free online learning modules, helping them protect their animals from diseases and biosecurity threats.

Available through Agriculture Victoria’s website, the three learning modules have been released: foot and mouth disease awareness, lumpy skin disease awareness and come clean, stay clean, go clean – when visiting farms.

Each module should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.

For further information about the online learning modules CLICK HERE.

Livestock Biosecurity Funds Grants Program
a person in a bee suit standing next to hives in among almond trees

There’s still time to apply for our Livestock Biosecurity Funds Grant Program.

Victoria’s Livestock Compensation Committees are seeking projects that boost biosecurity for the cattle, sheep and goat, swine and honey bee industries.

Applications close Friday 23 December.

Discover more HERE

What's on – online and on-farm events

Details about Agriculture Victoria events can be found in one spot on our website. Log on to the Events page to keep in touch with upcoming events.

Helping your clients out of the mud

Stressful periods like floods and extended wet conditions can result in farmers themselves getting a bit stuck and needing support to operate at their best.

As agricultural service providers, you naturally become an important part of the immediate and ongoing recovery support network available to your farmers through these tough times, but you may not feel equipped with the skills to navigate these challenges.

The National Centre for Farmer Health has developed a training webinar to enable trusted advisors and service providers to recognise and respond to farmers exhibiting significant signs of stress, to refer farmers to appropriate assistance and helpful resources, and also how to look after yourself during difficult times.

This webinar will be run on multiple occasions across the coming months.

The next webinar is at 9–10 am on Wednesday 7 December.

To register, contact the National Centre for Farmer Health at or on (03) 5551 8533.

Omeo farm safety briefing – making our farms safer project

When: Wednesday 7 December, 12.30 – 2.30 pm

Where: Golden Age Hotel, Omeo

Register at Eventbrite

The VFF is hosting a Making Our Farms Safer briefing. Farm Safety Advisor Richard Versteegen will provide an overview of the latest farm safety information including an understanding of OHS requirements on-farm. 

Topics include farm machinery safety and supporting mental health on the farm.

For more information, email or visit

Stock Sense: peri-urban workshop

When: Wednesday 7 December, 9 am – 1 pm

Where: Pakenham Livestock Exchange, Exchange Dr, Pakenham

Register here

Stock Sense is teaming up with expert speakers to present at a FREE workshop on a range of livestock health, welfare, and biosecurity topics. Come along to learn more about different aspects of the supply chain, including a livestock handling demonstration.

Topics include:

  • Livestock handling demonstration
  • Saleyard tour
  • LPA and auditing
  • Fit to load standards
  • NLIS and traceability
  • Biosecurity and diseases.

For more information, contact the Stock Sense team at

Upcoming Sheep Connect webinar

Register for this free webinar on the Sheep Connect website

Are your bugs bogging you down?

WHEN: Thursday 8 December

WHERE: Online via GoTo

TIME: 1 – 2 pm

Energy Webinar – Smarter electricity management: Doing more with less
Farmer on-farm image

Do you want to find more practical ways to reduce your electricity costs?  We are hosting an online forum to explore practical measures for increasing energy productivity and reducing your electricity bill.

When: Wednesday 14 December, 11.30 am.

Smarter electricity management - see how your smart meter data can help you find for your farm (and home):

  • cheaper electricity deals
  • awareness of your electricity tariff to save money
  • how best to use solar and batteries
  • energy saving opportunities.

Join our webinar to find out all this and more money saving ideas.

Energy expert David Coote will be presenting on energy saving opportunities and best use of solar and batteries and much more.

Please register here or contact Kelly Wickham for information on 0456 772 641 or

Recent webinar recordings
  • Flood recovery: Feed budgeting – with Fiona Baker, AgVic. Passcode: Livestock
  • Flood recovery: Animal health – with Dr Rachel Gibney, AgVic. Passcode: Livestock
  • Cash flow budgeting – with Carmen Quade, AgriFocused. Passcode: CASHFLOW
Subscribe to Gippsland Ag News

Enjoying the Gippsland Ag News? Then why not forward to a friend or subscribe yourself.

It's easy – simply click this link.

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:

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


'Like' our Agriculture Victoria Facebook page.


Follow us on Twitter @VicGovAg


Subscribe to the Agriculture Victoria YouTube channel. 


Privacy | Email: