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Beef and Sheep Networks Newsflash
26 August 2022
In this edition

What's On

What's New



Beef and Sheep News

Ag Recovery

Quick Links

Heading: What's On

PLEASE NOTE: The events listed below may be subject to last minute cancellation in the event of an emergency or advice from Victoria’s Chief Health Officer.

Event Details


When and where: 

  • Hamilton Thursday 8 September
  • Bendigo Friday 16 September
  • Ellinbank Tuesday 20 September
  • Bairnsdale Thursday 22 September
  • Glenthompson Wednesday 28 September

Time: 10 am – 3 pm


On-farm biosecurity planning workshops

Agriculture Victoria is delivering a series of free workshops for livestock producers to understand the disease, pest and plant biosecurity risks in their area, the impact they may have on their business, and to develop an on-farm biosecurity plan. Walk away from this workshop with your farm biosecurity plan in hand.

Visit the Agriculture Victoria website to register for these free workshops or for more event information contact Morgan Cassell, Livestock Industry Development Officer on 0427 681 714 or email.

This project received funding from the Cattle Compensation Fund / Sheep and Goat Compensation Fund as part of the 2021 Livestock Biosecurity Funds Grant Program, which exists to provide grants to bolster the state’s biosecurity and assist in preventing and managing pests and diseases.

Event Details


Where and when: 

  • Hamilton Wednesday 7 September
  • Ellinbank Wednesday 21 September

Time: 10 am – 3 pm


Traceability and the NLIS database producer workshops

Agriculture Victoria is delivering a series of free hands-on workshops for producers to understand their livestock traceability requirements and how to use the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) database to complete property-to-property transfers.

Visit the Agriculture Victoria website to register for these free workshops or for more event information contact Morgan Cassell, Livestock Industry Development Officer on 0427 681 714 or email.

This project received funding from the Cattle Compensation Fund / Sheep and Goat Compensation Fund as part of the 2021 Livestock Biosecurity Funds Grant Program, which exists to provide grants to bolster the state’s biosecurity and assist in preventing and managing pests and diseases.

Event Details


When: Wednesday 31 August

Where: Online Zoom webinar

Time: 7.30 – 8.30 pm


NLIS for Victorian agricultural shows and livestock events webinar

Do you organise, facilitate, or manage agricultural shows or livestock events?

Join us to understand what agricultural show and livestock event operators must do to meet their livestock traceability requirements.

Visit the Agriculture Victoria website to register for this free webinar or for more event information contact Morgan Cassell, Livestock Industry Development Officer on 0427 681 714 or email.

Event Details


When: Thursday 1 September

Where: Online webinar

Time: 8 – 9 pm

To register for this webinar or for more information visit the ISC website. 


Integrity Systems Company (ISC) upcoming event: 

Webinar: Biosecurity, traceability and the NLIS database – what you need to know 

ISC is hosting this webinar in partnership with Agriculture Victoria and both organisations will be able to answer
questions and supply resources to help you use the
integrity system programs.

Event Details


To register for these events or for more information visit the VFF website.


Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) upcoming events

Manangatang branch biosecurity update

Learn about the potential implications of foot-and-mouth disease to livestock farms and all other farming businesses in the area. Hear from Agriculture Victoria speakers, Veterinary Officer Dr Berwyn Squire and Animal Health Officer Robyn Leishman.

When: Wednesday 31 August
Where: Manangatang Hotel, 45 Wattle Street, Manangatang VIC
Time: 6.15 pm
Cost: $42

Stock Sense: Peri-urban workshop

Free workshop on a range of livestock health, welfare and biosecurity topics.

When: Saturday 3 September
Where: Geelong Lawn Tennis Club, 12-20 Sommers Street, Belmont
Time: 9 am – 12 pm

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Heading: What's New

Foot-and-mouth disease and lumpy skin disease awareness webinar recording

Agriculture Victoria delivered two webinars on foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and lumpy skin disease (LSD) awareness on Monday 1 and Thursday 4 August. The webinar raises FMD and LSD awareness through a presentation and discussion with Victoria’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Graeme Cooke and Victoria’s Senior Veterinary Officer, Dr Jeff Cave.

The webinar recording can be accessed online. The passcode is FMD.LSD22!

The Victorian Government (through Agriculture Victoria) is partnering with industry, livestock producers, supply chain participants, other levels of government and the community to raise awareness of FMD and to promote good biosecurity practices.

The Agriculture Victoria website provides a range of information, which can be shared within your network including:


Creating a biosecurity plan online workshop recording

Agriculture Victoria delivered an online workshop on creating a biosecurity plan hosted by the BestWool/BestLamb and BetterBeef Networks on Thursday 11 August. The online workshop featured an Agriculture Victoria panel of technical specialists in sheep, goat, dairy, and beef, as well as veterinarians and biosecurity officers. The workshop included a refresher on livestock traceability requirements and walked participants through how to create an on-farm biosecurity plan.

The webinar recording can be accessed online. The passcode is biosecurity22!

You can access how-to guides and videos using the links below:

We encourage you to share these recordings and the Newsflash across your networks using the forward option at the top of this email.

In addition to this you can find information on upcoming events at the Agriculture Victoria website. Follow Agriculture Victoria on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates and share posts relevant to your information needs.

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Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is an acute, highly contagious viral disease of domestic and wild cloven-hoofed (those with divided hooves) animals, including cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, deer and buffalo. If there was an outbreak in Australia of FMD the impact on our livestock industries would be devastating. For example, a multi-state outbreak of FMD could cost Australia $80 billion over 10 years. 

Australia is particularly vulnerable, as so much of what we produce relies on export to high value international markets (over 70 per cent of our livestock products are exported). Put simply, we produce far more than we consume domestically.  

Victoria is Australia’s largest producer of food and fibre products. We produce 26 per cent of the total Australian food and fibre export value, therefore Victorian livestock industries have a high dependence on export markets. An outbreak of FMD would be a major constraint for international trade of Australian livestock and livestock products and would cause serious production losses.

FMD is endemic throughout the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and most of South America. Indonesia confirmed FMD infection in April 2022, despite having previously eradicated FMD in 1986. An intensive vaccination campaign is underway to prevent further spread. Australia remains FMD free. 

FMD is one of the most contagious animal diseases. It spreads rapidly between susceptible animals. A significant risk of entry into Australia is through the illegal entry of meat and dairy products infected with the FMD virus and subsequent illegal feeding to pigs (swill feeding). 

The FMD virus is secreted in the breath, saliva, mucus, milk, semen and faeces of infected animals. Animals can transmit the disease for up to four days before clinical signs of the disease appear, and become infected through inhalation, ingestion and direct contact. Once introduced into an animal population, FMD spreads most commonly through the movement of infected animals. The FMD virus is also extremely transmissible on materials; it can be moved from one area to another on vehicles, equipment and people (including on clothing and footwear).

Infected pigs can breathe out very large quantities of the virus. Cattle are very susceptible to, and able to be infected by breathing in small quantities of the virus. 

In sheep the signs of FMD can be absent or very mild, and undetected infected sheep can be an important source of infection. 

FMD does not usually kill adult animals, but it can kill young animals due to heart damage. It is a very debilitating disease, causing serious production losses, animal welfare issues and impacts on production and trade. Clinical disease commences with fever followed by the appearance of vesicles (fluid-filled blisters) between the toes and on the heels, on mammary glands and especially on the lips, tongue and palate. These blisters often erupt to leave raw, painful ulcers that take up to 10 days to heal.

Foot lesions leave animals lame and unable to walk to feed or water. Tongue and mouth lesions are very painful and cause animals to drool and stop eating. Infected adult animals usually begin eating again after a few days, but young animals may weaken and die, or be left with foot deformities or damage to the mammary glands.

There is a national plan – AUSVETPLAN Disease Strategy for FMD – which is a nationally agreed approach to managing an outbreak of FMD. 

The most important people in identifying and notifying FMD are usually stock owners and others who work with livestock. They should notify suspicious symptoms immediately to their local vet or the 24-hour Emergency Animal Disease Watch hotline – 1800 675 888 – to allow further investigation.

Practical steps farmers can take now to reduce the risk of an emergency animal disease impacting their farm include:

  • Have a biosecurity plan and review it regularly with your family and employees so it stays up to date. 
  • Ensure your Property Identification Code (PIC) details are up-to-date, and timely uploads of livestock movements on the National Livestock Identification Scheme (NLIS) database. PICs are free and easy to get or update on the Agriculture Victoria website. 
  • If you own or manage a property where livestock are kept, ensure that visitors clean and disinfect their boots and wear clean clothing before allowing them onto your property. 
  • Minimise the level of contact visitors have with your livestock. 
  • Wash down equipment and vehicles before leaving any property where livestock are kept.

For more advice on practical steps you can take to improve biosecurity on your farm visit:

FMD is a notifiable exotic disease and any suspected or confirmed cases must be reported immediately to Agriculture Victoria on the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline 1800 675 888 (24/7) or to your local Agriculture Victoria animal health and welfare staff.


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With the current exotic disease threats to Victoria and Australia, you may be wondering whether Agriculture Victoria has already been on the lookout for diseases, such as foot-and-mouth disease.

During the past 12 months across the northern region of Victoria, Agriculture Victoria has overseen the investigation of 194 emergency animal disease exclusions.

One hundred and one of these were associated either with the recent outbreak of Japanese encephalitis, or surveillance to demonstrate Australia’s freedom from Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (Mad Cow Disease).

However, there were another 93 investigations in which 16 different emergency animal diseases were excluded, including those with which Australia is most concerned.

On at least a dozen occasions there was sufficient concern for Agriculture Victoria’s staff to personally courier samples to the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness (ACDP) in Geelong to help ensure a rapid diagnosis.

During those investigations, in addition to Japanese encephalitis, an outbreak of anthrax was identified, as were some diseases unusual to Victoria. This included an outbreak of Bovine ephemeral fever (three-day sickness).   

Most of these investigations have occurred through the Victorian Significant Disease Investigation (SDI) Program in which private veterinary practitioners carry out a subsidised disease investigation.

Disease conditions that are eligible for a subsidised disease investigation include those in which there are:

  • an unusual or atypical manifestation of disease, including high morbidity, mortality and/or rate of spread
  • an initial investigation fails to establish a diagnosis or veterinary treatment does not produce the expected response
  • findings suggesting a possible effect on trade, public health, biodiversity or the viability of a farm, industry, or region.

Payment of subsidies is conditional on approval being given by Agriculture Victoria.

Early detection of emerging or exotic diseases is key to their effective management.

When there is a genuine suspicion of an exotic or emergency disease Agriculture Victoria will undertake the disease investigation and cover the full cost of the investigation.

In summary, early detection of new or exotic diseases depends on farmers, private vets and the government working together:

  • producers and animal owners should call their vet when an unusual disease occurs in their stock
  • veterinary practitioners must remain vigilant and consider the possibility of new, unusual, or exotic diseases
  • unusual disease incidents should be fully investigated, and appropriate samples should be submitted to veterinary laboratories.

If you suspect an exotic or emergency disease, please contact your local veterinarian, Agriculture Victoria Veterinary or Animal Health Officer, or in NSW your Local Land Service, or the Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.

For more information on the Significant Disease Investigation program and emergency animal diseases visit the Agriculture Victoria website.

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Heading: BestWoo/BestLamb

BestWool/BestLamb is a partnership between Agriculture Victoria and Australian Wool Innovation Limited, which provides a network facilitating information exchange that enables producers to implement improvements in key aspects of their business.

Lyndon Kubeil, Senior Sheep Specialist 0418 532 085 or email

Alison Desmond, Project Leader Sheep Industry Development 0409 424 274 or email

BWBL Lamb logo, AWI logo
Group of people looking at dung beetles in field

Dung beetles have been the focus of on-farm demonstrations underway with the South West Prime Lamb Group (SWPLG). Johno, Brigita and Dean Keiller hosted dung beetle demonstrations on their property ‘Cashmore Park’ near Portland.

The Keillers were interested in the nutrient cycling qualities of dung beetles and had released several colonies around 10 years ago to establish more species on their farm.

Read more about the Enhanced Producer Demonstration Site and the group’s findings on the Agriculture Victoria website.

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Sheep measles, hydatids and bladder worms are all animal health issues that can be managed by breaking the lifecycle of the tapeworm. 

All three conditions require a dog as a host for part of the tapeworm’s lifecycle. Break the lifecycle by regularly worming your dog with a wormer containing an active ingredient against tapeworm.  Do not allow your dog access to dead stock, remove raw offal from your dog’s diet and feed your dog an approved commercial dog food. These steps will break the tapeworm lifecycle and reduce the incidence of sheep measles, hydatids and bladder worm in your sheep.
Check out this Short Cuts video for tips on how to manage and prevent carcase damage, economic loss, disease and welfare issues in your sheep farming business as well as keeping you and your family safe from zoonotic diseases, such as hydatid disease.  

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Heading: BetterBeef
BetterBeef logo

BetterBeef is an Agriculture Victoria coordinated producer and service provider network with a focus on increasing the profitability and sustainability of beef enterprises. It aims to grow and support a strong producer network featuring genuine partnerships with the private sector in co-design and delivery.


Amanda Davis, Acting BetterBeef Project Leader
0407 947 580 or email


The occurrence of calving difficulty varies between seasons and properties, but under Victorian conditions up to 30 per cent of heifers may require assistance at calving.

Other costs associated with calving difficulty are:

  • veterinary fees
  • cost of labour to supervise and assist heifers during calving
  • reduced herd fertility (due to the longer time required by assisted heifers to conceive again).

Although it is not possible to eliminate calving difficulty, several steps can be taken to reduce occurrence to a minimum.

Find out what steps can be taken on the Agriculture Victoria website.

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The objective of condition scoring is to obtain a simple and reliable estimate of the body fat reserves of live cattle. The condition score provides an estimate of fat reserves that is independent of size and is a more reliable description of condition than liveweight alone.

Condition scoring can aid cattle management in two ways:

  • Breeding cows — assessing the body condition of breeding cows at critical stages of their production cycle directs management of the nutrition of those cows not in the desired condition
  • Fattening animals — knowing the condition of fattening cattle allows selection of those with a particular level of fat cover.

Find out more on condition scoring techniques, descriptions and application on the Agriculture Victoria website.

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Heading: Beef and Sheep News

The Feeding Livestock website has many useful resources on feeding livestock and on pasture for beef and sheep. Here is a snapshot of some items that might interest you.

News Items:

Imprint Feeding – train lambs while on mum
Whether or not you intend to feed grain to lambs after weaning or at some stage later in life, training them whilst they are on their mums can save a lot of time later on.

Grass tetany – be prepared
Grass tetany is caused by either a magnesium (Mg) deficiency or an interference with the absorption of Mg and results in high death rates in affected animals. It may occur at any time but generally occurs over the winter months in southeastern Australia, with peaks during times of cold, wet and windy weather conditions.


Hay and Grain
The hay and grain reports are commissioned by Dairy Australia to provide an independent and timely assessment of hay and grain markets in each region. Reports are updated 40 weeks per year and can be used by farmers to inform their purchase decisions or audit past decisions. Wheat prices are for the relevant stockfeed wheat available in the region (ASW, AGP, SFW1 or FED1) and F1 for barley. Hay prices are based on shedded hay without water damage, of good quality and colour. There is a wide variation in quality for hay, so prices are indicative of a mid-range product.

Myth buster videos:

Do livestock self-medicate?
Watch our short five-minute myth buster video!


Pasture growth rates
Interested in looking at some estimated/guides to pasture growth rates. This guide shows some general estimates and several regional/varying pasture types produced through EverGraze.

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You can’t afford NOT to have the VicEmergency App installed on your mobile! The app aligns with the VicEmergency website to provide a centralised location for farmers to access timely emergency information and warnings, which is extremely valuable in the event of natural disasters.

View this AgTech Byte to learn more about the app, creating a profile, and setting up your watch zone.

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The Livestock Biosecurity Funds Grant Program aims to fund projects and programs that prevent, monitor, and control diseases, thereby enhancing animal health, biosecurity and market access for the benefit of Victorian cattle, sheep, goat, swine and honey bee industries. The Minister for Agriculture approved 18 successful projects worth $3.5 million across the Cattle Compensation Fund, the Sheep and Goat Compensation Fund and the Swine Compensation Fund.

Find out more about each project on the Agriculture Victoria website.

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Heading: Ag Recovery Support

An updated recovery guide is now available to help farmers rebuild and provide a one-stop reference to the support available. The guide includes steps to take immediately after the fire and for short-term recovery and longer-term rebuilding. It covers re-fencing, dealing with erosion and flooding, pasture recovery, pest and weed control and preparing for the next season.

The printed booklet is available from Agriculture Victoria, by contacting our agriculture recovery managers (details noted below) or phone 136 186. Or access the digital version online.

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The Victorian and Commonwealth Government are supporting landholders impacted by fires and floods across Victoria.

For more information on bushfire recovery programs or recovery from floods/storm events, visit the Agriculture Victoria website.

Regional Agriculture Victoria recovery managers;

  • North East – Kylie Macreadie 0428 975 728 or email
  • Gippsland – Darren Hickey 0457 609 140 or email.

Visit the Bushfire Recovery Victoria website or 1800 560 760.

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Rural Financial Counselling Service

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

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 call RFCS Gippsland on 1300 045 747 or RFCS North East on 1300 834 775.

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The Regional Weather and Climate Guides project is part of the Commonwealth Government Drought Assistance Package.

The project aims to improve the resilience of farming businesses by providing localised facts about the likelihood, severity, and duration of key weather variables in regions across the country.

The weather and climate information will be delivered through a set of guides corresponding to Australia's Natural Resource Management regions.

The project is a collaboration between the Bureau of Meteorology, the CSIRO, and FarmLink Research.

The guides have been developed in collaboration with representatives from each NRM region to ensure the information is tailored to the needs of local farmers and agribusinesses.

For more information visit the Bureau of Meteorology.

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Heading: Quick Links
Feeding Livestock Website

For tools, calculators, resources and livestock feed planning guides, visit the website.

Logo: feeding livestock website
Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) wool market review
Image: AWI logo

For weekly commentary on the wool market from AWI trade specialists, visit the website.

Market reports and prices
image: MLA logo

Meat and Livestock Australia’s (MLA's) market information service provides producers with accurate, timely and independent market information, allowing them to make profitable business decisions.

For the latest cattle market reports, visit the MLA website.

AgVic Talk Podcast: listen now to the top rated episodes

AgVic Talk podcast series delivers knowledge and information in a format that suits the way farmers and agricultural professionals work and live today.

Latest episode: Dealing with change with Daryl Hoey and Dale Grey

For all things climate and farming listen to Agriculture Victoria's My Rain Gauge is Busted podcast series.

Latest episode: How to be certain when the outcome is uncertain

AWI podcast - The Yarn No. 217

Barber's pole worm: Clear and present danger

Worm control in sheep has become a major issue and the spread and frequency of Barber’s pole worm in flocks is alarming. A parasite that rewrites the books for control and the world champion in terms of resistance according to those who know, and we are about to hear from three of them.

Tune in to gain insights into what AWI and Woolmark are doing across research and development and marketing.

Listen to The Yarn podcast.

Follow AWI on social media for the latest on sheep and wool.

@Facebook, @Twitter and @Instagram

Image: The Yarn - AWI podcast
The Fast Break Seasonal Climate Update

For the latest edition of The Fast Break - an update of seasonal climate drivers and outlooks.

The Fast Break details oceanic and atmospheric climate driver activity over the last month and summarises three month model predictions for the Pacific and Indian Oceans, rainfall and temperature for Victoria.

Image: The Fast Break
Livestock and animals
Agriculture Victoria logo

Visit Agriculture Victoria’s website for the latest information and resources relating to livestock and animals.

Workshops and events

Agriculture Victoria is delivering workshops, farm walks and online information sessions. Visit the Agriculture Victoria website for a list of upcoming events.

Rural Financial Counselling Service

The RFCS provides free financial counselling to farmers and small related businesses who are in, or at risk of, financial hardship. Counsellors can also assist applicants to apply for the Farm Household Allowance (FHA).

For more information visit the RFCS website or contact your local recovery support officer by searching the RFCS online directory

National Centre for Farmer Health

The National Centre for Farmer Health (NCFH) provides health and safety education and advice to farmers and their families via the Online Ag Health program. 

For more information visit the National Centre for Farmer Health or contact Cecilia Fitzgerald on (03) 5551 8533

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