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Gippsland Ag New banner; black angus beef cows looking directly
Thursday 16 November 2023
In this edition:
Image of cows in a paddock with the text 'latest ag news'
Farm fire preparedness tip – emergency access
A family and a dog standing at a gate on a farm, looking out into the paddock. The text reads: farm fire preparedness toolkit: emergency access

Will emergency services know where to come in the event of a fire?

As part of your fire season planning, make sure roadside numbers are visible, vegetation around gates, culverts and bridges has been cleared, and gates are wide enough and easy to open.

Check out the tips and templates for developing your farm fire preparedness plan in the Farm Fire Preparedness Toolkit. 

Download a copy of the toolkit.

Protecting Victoria’s abalone from virus outbreaks

A significant leap forward has been taken that will help keep Victoria’s abalone, a marine snail, safe and healthy.

A comprehensive new Code of Practice, that has been developed in close consultation with industry stakeholders, is a milestone initiative poised to ensure the safety and sustainability of Victoria’s abalone populations.

'This Code of Practice, a collaborative effort with key industry players who catch, process and grow abalone, represents a significant enhancement of biosecurity measures in place for Victoria’s abalone industry,' Agriculture Victoria Principal Veterinary Officer, Aquatic Animal Health Dr Tracey Bradley said.

'This important initiative represents a crucial step toward securing the wellbeing and future of our abalone population.'

The primary goal of the Code is to minimise the risk of outbreaks and the spread of abalone viral ganglioneuritis (AVG), a viral disease that affects the nervous system and can lead to weakness and death of abalone.

This objective will be achieved through the adoption of standardised operating procedures across the industry.

AVG presents a significant threat to both wild and farmed abalone populations, underscoring the urgency of effective control measures.

The virus first made its appearance in southern Victoria in late 2005, without previously being recorded in Australia. During that time, it was declared a notifiable disease under the Livestock Disease Control Act 1994.

'It’s imperative that we do everything possible to protect our abalone from this disease,' Dr Bradley said.

'Given the recent incidents of AVG affecting abalone in the Portland area, it’s more important than ever to prioritise collaboration across the industry.

'The Code of Practice provides clear guidelines and procedures to prevent the devastating impact of AVG.'

The virus can spread through water but is fragile and doesn’t last long outside of a host.

It is essential for everyone involved in catching, growing, or processing abalones to adhere to the Code of Practice.

For more information, visit: Abalone Disease.

Helping Victorians choose a pet with confidence

The Victorian government is helping Victorians find a puppy from a reputable breeder, ensuring the highest animal welfare standards for their new best friend.

Minister for Agriculture Ros Spence recently launched the new Commercial Dog Breeder logo, which will be displayed by approved commercial dog breeding businesses in Victoria.

Potential dog owners looking to buy from a commercial dog breeder in Victoria should look for the new logo, which signifies the business is compliant with standard of care requirements – giving Victorians certainty that they are dealing with a legitimate commercial dog breeder.

The logo is a key element of the Victorian government’s reforms on dog breeding and pet shop industries to better regulate the sale of dogs and cats.

Victorian dog breeders with more than 10 fertile female dogs are required to apply for commercial dog breeder approval and the new logo will help to give customers renewed confidence that their puppies are ethically sourced.

The welfare of our animals and wildlife remains a priority for the Victorian government, receiving $18.5 million in the Victorian Budget 2023/24. This includes $7 million towards the Animal Welfare Fund grants program, recognising the role companion animals play in the lives of Victorians.

For more information on the new Commercial Dog Breeders logo visit

Gains for breeding program from US trip
Dr Abeya Tefera at the Genomic Prediction Breeding course at the University of Florida

The pulse breeding program at Agriculture Victoria’s Horsham SmartFarm is reaping the benefits from a researcher’s recent study trip to the United States.

Agriculture Victoria Molecular Plant Breeder, Dr Abeya Tefera, attended a Genomic Prediction Breeding course at the University of Florida with a special focus on applied artificial intelligence (AI) followed by field visits to the University of Minnesota.

The course brought together scientists from the private sector and public organisations who are interested in learning more about different prediction frameworks and how to integrate layers of data for plant and animal breeding.

Dr Tefera enjoyed fostering new ties with international peers for future collaboration and the skills he learnt have already helped inform new AI processes to study crop development and isolate climate resilient lentil and field pea varieties.

‘Our current advanced breeding strategies are already seeing rapid gains in genetic improvement and now with AI, we can incorporate additional data such as climate and crop development processes to selectively breed resilient traits into new varieties,’ said Dr Tefera.

‘Plants from our hi-tech glasshouses are photographed in the Plant Phenomics Victoria facilities at the SmartFarm and then we use Meta AI’s Segment Anything program to map varietal characteristics, such as boron toxicity and disease susceptibility; this can then be applied across thousands of lines within Horsham Smart Farm’s pulse breeding program.

‘Compared to manual methods AI is making this process more accurate and speeds up the delivery of newer and more resistant varieties within our breeding program.

‘Our research is all about accelerating genetic gain to create higher yielding and more resilient varieties and this new application of AI is a true feather in the cap for our breeding program.’

Dr Tefera’s research is a co-investment between the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and Agriculture Victoria.

Further information here.

Pawsitive news for Victoria’s pets

The Victorian government is improving Victoria’s animal welfare services and providing free or low-cost pet desexing services to pet owners in need.

Minister for Agriculture Ros Spence recently visited Second Chance Animal Rescue in Craigieburn to announce the successful recipients of the third round of the Pet Desexing and Equine Rehabilitation grants.

The overpopulation of dogs and cats poses a significant threat to our environment and also puts pressure on Victoria’s animal shelters – these grants tackle this problem by ensuring all Victorians – no matter their income, can desex their pets.

The new round of grants includes $500,000 to support councils and not-for-profits to deliver free or low-cost desexing programs for cats and dogs and $330,000 to organisations that rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome horses.

Since 2021, the Victorian Government has delivered more than $1.5 million in Pet Desexing grants to 32 organisations across the state.

Second Chance Animal Rescue has been awarded $75,000 in the latest round of the Pet Desexing Grants program and aim to host a series of free ‘desexathon’ days – with the goal of desexing 340 cats.

Minister Spence also officially opened applications for Round 11 of the Animal Welfare Fund Grants Program – offering grants of up to $200,000 to support animal shelters, community foster care networks, expand or upgrade their equipment or services – while also helping veterinary clinics provide low-cost services.

Eligible organisations can now apply for funding for projects that benefit companion animals such as rabbits, caged birds and ‘pocket pets’, in addition to cats and dogs.

Since 2014, the Animal Welfare Fund has awarded more than $10 million to not-for-profit animal shelters, foster care organisations and community vet clinics to improve companion animal welfare in Victoria.

The Victorian Budget 2023/24 builds on Victorian government’s strong support for animal welfare and pets, with an additional $20 million to deliver more dog parks, establish a new wildlife hospital and support animal welfare organisations.

Applications for Round 11 of Grants are open until 9 December 2023. To apply, visit

A taste you can trace - Episode 7
A taste you can trace podcast episode 7, a small cartoon truck drives along a path past the stops of farm, food transformation, wholesaler, distribution, retailer and consumer.

Traceability can help reduce food waste along the supply chain, ensuring fresh produce arrives at the end of its journey in top condition.   

In this episode, Luke Wood from Escavox discusses the tech used to follow food around the globe and how traceability can transform export businesses.  

Listen online via the AgVic website.

Barley loose smut seasonal update recording now available
Barley loose smut webinar recording available online

Hear cereal grain pathologists Hari Dadu and Andrea Hill present on key topics including:

  • why has 2023 had higher levels of loose smut compared to other years?
  • what is the carryover risk?
  • what is the best management strategy?

Watch the recording here.

Watch now - webinars on managing seasonal variability
Screenshot of a webinar taking place on spring/summer climate update

Missed our recent webinar series or want to rewatch a session?

Click below to catch up on best preparing your farm for the changing seasons.

Free financial counselling with RFCS
A person standing in a paddock looking at the sunset. The text reads free financial counselling with the Rural Financial Counselling Service. 1300 771 741.

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 the Rural Financial Counselling Service website or call 1300 771 741.

Keep your bees and hives healthy this summer
Bees in a hive. The text reads: keep your bees and hives healthy this summer.

Keep your bees happy, healthy and productive as the weather warms up - bee aware of the biosecurity basics:

  • Be aware of biosecurity threats, such as Varroa mite
  • Practice good hygiene and sanitation
  • Check your apiary and monitor hives and the health of the honeybee brood frequently
  • Respect and be aware of laws and regulations established to protect the honeybee industry, Australian agriculture, and the local region
  • Report anything unusual to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.

For the latest information, visit

Biosecurity basics here:

Irrigation incentives available in Central Gippsland (MIA)

Funding is now available for initiatives that help you achieve water, labour and cost savings along with wider environmental benefits.

The proposed irrigation upgrade must be on an approved farm plan to be eligible.

Eligible projects:

Re-use systems: 

  • Maximum size 1 ML for every 10 ha of catchment
  • Incentive of $400/ha (ex. GST) up to a maximum 50% of project costs.

Best practice surface irrigation: 

  • Incentive of $200/ha (ex. GST) up to a maximum 50% of project costs.

Flood to pressurised (spray) irrigation conversion: 

  • $600/ha incentive (ex. GST) up to a maximum 50% of project costs.

Check out this chat with Rob Hornby, who recently converted his farm from flood irrigation to a system using pipe and riser technology.

For more information please contact one of our irrigation extension officers:

Alexis Killoran: 0428 387 869 or

Caelan McIntosh: 0476 885 716 or

In case you missed it
Image of a sunset with the text 'in case you missed it'

Victoria’s top MSA producers announced

Some of Victoria’s tastiest beef has been recognised in the 2023 Meat Standards Australia (MSA) Excellence in Eating Quality Awards, by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA).

The awards recognise producers from across the country who consistently deliver beef of superior eating quality, based on the parameters of the MSA program.

Read the full media release here.

Farm biosecurity simplified with new animations

Victorian livestock owners can brush up on their farm biosecurity knowledge using a series of easy-to-follow animations.

Agriculture Victoria has released a series of new animated videos, highlighting a range of important biosecurity information in a simple format.

Read the full media release here.

Livestock committee recruitment drive now open

The Victorian Government is calling for a wide range of industry professionals to apply for positions on Livestock Advisory Committees to improve animal health, strengthen the state’s biosecurity and support business management.

Read more here.

2023/2024 State and Territory Landcare Awards

Nominations for the 2023/2024 State and Territory Landcare Awards are now open!

In each state and territory, the Landcare Awards will be granted to recognise the achievements that encompass climate action, environmental leadership, sustainable agriculture, First Nations, Women in Landcare, youth, Coastcare and children.

Nominating is free. You can nominate yourself, or you can nominate someone you know who should be recognised.

Nominate here.

What's on
Image of a group of people at an event in a green paddock listening to a presenter with the text '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.

EAD Preparedness webinar 2: waste disposal

When: Monday 20 November, 10 – 11 am

Register your place here. 

If an EAD outbreak is declared, Agriculture Victoria is responsible for the destruction and disposal of animal carcasses as required, including those that can be buried on-farm.

To eradicate an EAD, it is important to quickly dispose of carcasses after they are destroyed, as well as dispose any infected animal products, materials and wastes, as soon as possible, to reduce the risk of the disease spreading.

It is important that disposal is done in a way that minimises the spread of disease and any adverse effects on the environment, public health and the community.

On-farm burial is the first preference where possible, as it removes the risk of spreading the disease that may occur if carcasses and other products were taken off-farm for disposal.

The extent to which on-farm burial can be used will depend on the size, location and characteristics of the farm and the number of carcasses that need to be buried.

Topics include:

  • Waste generated in an EAD emergency - amounts and distribution
  • Overview of waste disposal strategy
  • On-farm carcass burial guidance
  • Planning ahead for on-farm waste disposal sites using the Navigating Farm Development tool.


  • Bronwyn Green, Project Director, EAD Waste Disposal
  • Ann McDowell, Agriculture Victoria, Agriculture Sector Development Officer.
This summer's climate: what can we expect?
Cows in a dry paddock. The text reads: summer forecast webinar. Wednesday 22 November 12:30 pm.

Dairy Australia is running a free one-hour webinar to provide farmers with information on the dry season forecast and regional summaries of soil moisture.

When: Wednesday 22 November, 12:30 - 1:30 pm

Register your place here.

The webinar will feature Dale Grey from Agriculture Victoria, an expert seasonal risk agronomist with 29 years' experience providing agronomy, climate change, climate and weather analysis for farmers, agribusiness, government and the media across South-east Australia.

He authors The Fast Break climate newsletters and produces a monthly YouTube climate update called The Very Fast Break. In 2022, Dale was a recipient of a Grains Research and Development Corporations Seed of Light award for excellence in grains industry communication.

Topics to be covered by Dale include:

  • Current modelled and actual soil moisture across Victorian dairy areas - how long can soil moisture last?
  • Current modelled climate outlooks - a warmer summer but not necessarily drier
  • Historic effects of El Nino over summer
  • Heat stress Bureau of Meteorology climate forecasts for extreme heat and experimental forecasts of cow heat stress.
Future Drought Fund public consultation meeting in Traralgon
Future Drought Fund - Have your say on the next phase of investment under the Future Drought Fund

Members of the Future Drought Fund Consultative Committee are seeking your feedback on how drought resilience funding under the Future Drought Fund should be spent from 2024 to 2028.

Two documents have been released for public comment and are available on the department’s Have Your Say website:

  • a draft Drought Resilience Funding Plan 2024 to 2028 (the Funding Plan) and
  • a consultation draft of the Future Drought Fund Investment Strategy 2024 to 2028 (the Investment Strategy).

Public meetings are being held across Australia.

Where: Traralgon Bowls Club, 50 Liddiard Road Traralgon

When: 10 - 11:30 am, Thursday 23 November.

Register here. 

In addition to public meetings, stakeholders can also provide written feedback through the Have Your Say website including public submissions and short responses to a survey.

Consultation will conclude on Wednesday, 6 December 2023, at 5 pm.

Soil Moisture Monitoring Field Day
Soil Moisture Monitoring Field Day

When: Thursday 23 November, 11 am – 1:45 pm

Where: Agriculture Victoria office and Busch Organics

  • Grower focused analysis of probe located in a vegetable crop
  • Discussion / Q&A with Sentek and the growers
  • Lunch provided and networking opportunity
  • Noel Jansz (Elders agronomist) on installation and ground truthing
  • Q&A with the growers / agronomists on practical integration into day-to-day operations.

Email to register.

Agriculture Victoria office
11 am - 12:30 pm
1 Stratford-Maffra Rd, Maffra

Busch Organics
12:45 - 1:45 pm
290 Redbank Rd, Stratford

MLA Bendigo Update
MLA updates. 23 November 2023. Bendigo Victoria.

The MLA Updates are coming to Bendigo Victoria on November 23, with the theme of Sustainability from Paddock to Plate.

The day-long event will showcase solutions and technologies which embrace sustainability and help set Australia’s red meat and livestock industries up for success.

When: Thursday 23 November.

Time: 9 am to 6:30 pm, with the plenary session starting at 10 am. MLA’s AGM will also be held from 3:30 pm onsite.

Where: Fosterville Gold Exhibition Centre at the Bendigo Showgrounds, 42 – 72 Holmes Road, Bendigo. 

To register click here.

Find out more at the MLA website.

Australian Women in Agriculture 2023 Conference
Australian Women in Agriculture 2023 Conference. Seed to Success. Growing Together! 24-25 November 2023.

The Australian Women in Agriculture National Conference is coming to Bendigo to celebrate the role of women in the agricultural industry.

Friday 24 November gala dinner

Friday afternoon we will kick off with drinks and canapes from 5 pm and then roll into a gala dinner from 6 pm.

Saturday 25 November conference 9:30 am to 2:30 pm

The conference features inspiring speakers, informative workshops, and networking opportunities, fostering a sense of community and support among women in agriculture.

Registration options 

  • Full package (Friday and Saturday) $180
  • Networking evening and gala dinner (Friday 24) $85
  • Conference (Saturday 25) $110
  • AWiA members - 10% discount on ticket prices.

Tickets at:

For more information visit

Healthy soils for weed management

Learn how to reduce weeds on your property through soil management.

South Gippsland Landcare Network invite you to learn from prominent soil scientist Declan McDonald on how to improve soil management to reduce weed infestation such as Ragwort and achieve a myriad of other on-farm benefits. 

Declan McDonald Declan is a Principal Soil Scientist with ReGen Soils. He has extensive experience working in agriculture and production horticulture. Skilled in Regenerative Agriculture Declan has worked closely with farmers and other land managers on a range of projects with Landcare and Producer groups. Declan has an undergraduate degree in Horticulture and a Master’s Degree focused on Sustainable Agriculture (Soils) from University of Sydney.

When: Saturday 25 November; 10 am – 12:30 pm 

Where: Hallston Hall. 2650 Grand Ridge Road, Hallston

What to bring:

  • Notepad and pen
  • Hat and sunscreen

Register your place here.

This event is funded via Agriculture Victoria’s Partnership Against Pests program.

Managing fire risk on farms - tools, tips, resources and a seasonal update
A woman kneeling in a paddock with sheep in the background. The text reads: Managing fire risk on farms - tools, tips, resources and a seasonal update

Being well prepared for fire risk can assist farm businesses to recover faster in the event of a fire.

Join our webinar to hear more about the season ahead and how to prepare your farm for the fire season, using our newly released Fire Preparedness Toolkit.

When: Tuesday 28 November, 12 – 1 pm. 
Where: Online. 

Register here.

Kylie Macreadie, Land Management Extension Officer, will highlight farm preparedness activities and Dale Grey, Seasonal Risk Agronomist, will discuss what the current drier climate drivers of El Nino and the positive Indian Ocean Dipole are up to.

For more information and to stay up to date with our upcoming climate webinars visit our website.

Feed pads, renewable energy and more!
Cows in a green paddock. The text reads: feed pads, renewable energy and more! Join national experts and specialists on the latest key technologies seen on-farm. Wednesday 13 December, 9 am to 2:30 pm. Jelbart Dairy, Leongatha South.

Join national experts and specialists on the latest key technologies seen first-hand on-farm. 

When: Wednesday 13 December, 9 am – 2:30 pm

Where: Jelbart Dairy, Leongatha South (exact location provided on registration). 

Register your place here.

This free event will include interactive elements involving our special guests – short talks, a visit to 3 locations on the property and a panel session.

Topics covered will include:

  • Reducing the environmental footprint
  • Technologies and programs in reducing methane emissions
  • Australian guidelines for loose housing, cattle shelters and feed pads
  • Related climatic past and future trends.

Our guest speakers:

  • Tim Jelbart – Jelbart Farm
  • Jennie Pryce – Agriculture Victoria
  • Karen Romano – Dairy Australia
  • Peter Best – Innovative Farm Services. 
Australian Dairy Conference – February 2024

Australia’s premier dairy event will return to the Victorian capital of Melbourne in February 2024 from 12-14 February.

Program details and more information to be released throughout 2023.

Find out more here.

Raising the Roof 2024 - save the date
Cows feeding from a trough with the text: raising the roof 2024, save the date. Hunter Valley, New South Wales. 27-29 February 2024.

Raising the Roof, the Australian dairy industry’s only major event that focusses specifically on intensive farm systems, will be held in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales from 27 – 29 February 2024.

When: 27 - 29 February 2024

Where: Hunter Valley, New South Wales

Tickets on sale soon.

For more information email

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