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Sultana grapes at harvest point Mildura
Thursday 21 March 2024

In this edition:

Support and resources for fire affected farmers
bale loader working in paddock

Agriculture Victoria is working with Victorian farmers and industry to prepare for, respond to and recover from natural disasters, including fire, floods and storms.

This includes delivering technical information and supporting events to support farm business recovery on topics such as:

  • grazing, cropping and pasture management
  • irrigation and horticulture system rehabilitation
  • soil erosion management
  • land management
  • animal health and nutrition
  • farm mapping and planning
  • water quality
  • weed management.


Support is also available through the Rural Financial Counselling Service.

Farmers and small related enterprises who are experiencing, or are at risk of, financial hardship can call 1300 771 741 for free and confidential financial counselling.

Whole farm planning course for fire affected farmers

Farmers affected by the recent Bayindeen – Rocky Road bushfire are invited to attend a 4 to 6 - week whole farm planning course at Beaufort starting on Thursday 11 April.

Agriculture Victoria Land Management Extension Officer Clem Sturmfels said the course has been specifically designed to assist farmers affected by the recent fires.

‘It offers participants a chance to get away from the farm, share their knowledge and ideas and prepare a new plan for the farm.

‘Whole farm planning (WFP) involves laying out your farm based on its natural features, soil, slope and climate.

‘A whole farm plan is a detailed map of a property showing features such as soil types, land classes, water supply, fencing and laneways’, Mr Sturmfels said.

Mr Sturmfels said the aim of WFP is to make farms more productive, efficient and sustainable whilst at the same time protecting natural assets such as the soil, water and the natural environment.

‘We have had very positive feedback from people who have completed the course, saying it helps them to re-design their paddocks, as well as sharing some time off the farm with others each week.’

He said participants who take part in the course will be given a large, laminated map of their farm as well as being offered a newly developed computer mapping program called QGIS My Farm Plan.

Date: starts Thursday 11 April

Time:   10 am – 3 pm

Where: Beeripmo Development Centre, 1 Lawerence Street, Beaufort

Register online

For more information contact Clem Sturmfels on 0429 018 879 or email.

Future of Victoria's distillery industry in safe hands

Aspiring Victorian distillers now have the opportunity to benefit from a new pilot training program focused on cutting edge distillation techniques and industry safety as part of the $20 million Distillery Door Program.

The $1.2 million pilot education pathway for distillers is being delivered by the National Distilling Institute in collaboration with the Spirits Victoria Association and the Australian Distillers Association.

The initial courses will be a Certificate IV in Artisan Fermented Products and micro-credential courses for safety in distilleries.

The first session was held at Starward Distillery in Port Melbourne recently and will be followed by sessions at regional distilleries in Geelong, Ballarat, Mornington and the High Country throughout April.

Over the next 18 months, the first round of students will complete up to 22 different subjects where they will gain expertise in areas ranging from how to blend spirits and filter fermented beverages, to how to perform basic safety tests and control food contamination and spoilage.

Further development will involve a Certificate III in Food Processing (Distilling) and funding of up to $2000 per distillery for staff to attend other micro-credential courses.

Victoria is the distillery capital of the nation with more than 180 distillers that employ over 9,000 people in rewarding jobs across regional and metropolitan Victoria.

This program is part of the $20 million Distillery Door Program which promotes Victoria’s world-class distilling industry through supporting skills development, boosting visitor economy, improving infrastructure and safety, and increasing export capability.

It's never you until it is
image of hay machinery with police tape in foreground

Farmers urged to stay alert to risks of fatigue in danger period.

Sheep and cropping farmer Jack Armstrong knows that in agriculture it pays to be proactive with safety, particularly when it comes to managing the risks of fatigue during peak periods.

Read the media release here.

Update: Dingo unprotection order

From 14 March 2024, a new dingo unprotection order will continue to allow the control of dingoes where they threaten livestock along the boundaries of specified public land and on most private land across the state.

The new unprotection order will no longer apply in the north-west of the state due to the risk of extinction of the local dingo population.

Farmers in the north-west can apply for an Authority to Control Wildlife, which permits the use of lethal control in circumstances where no other options are available. Beyond the change in the northwest of the state, there will be no change to the existing arrangements for dingo conservation and management across the rest of the state, with the new unprotection order remaining in place until 1 October 2024.

Dingoes remain listed as a threatened species under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 and are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975. 

The dingo unprotection order only permits control activities on specified private land and within a 3km buffer zone on public land in the east of Victoria.

For further information visit

Modernising student experience for future farmers
longerenong new buildings

The Victorian Government is helping more Victorians pursue a career in agriculture through the $50 million Agricultural College Modernisation Program.

New state-of-the-art facilities are now open to students of Longerenong College, one of three of Victoria’s agriculture colleges to benefit from $20 million in funding for upgrades to student accommodation and teaching amenities.

Longerenong College received $6.5 million to construct student accommodation for 45 students.

Click here to learn more.

After the Flood podcast series - episode 5
person in blue suit and jumper using a laptop outside

Episode 5 - Overcoming tragedy and shifting attitudes with Brad McEwan

Your mental health is important.

Some days are better than others, and we all need a helping hand sometimes.

Beyond Blue Ambassador, Brad McEwan, discusses how personal trauma can be the hardest part of recovering from a disaster and why a sense of community is important on this road to recovery.

🎧 🎧 Listen via the AgVic website

Consultation on animal welfare laws closes soon
Illustration of animals in traiangle shape on aqua background

The Victorian Government has extended the consultation period on the draft Bill for the new animal care and protection laws.

Victorians now have until Monday 25 March to have their say on the Bill – which will replace the current Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (POCTA Act).

Executive Director of Animal Welfare Victoria, Dr Trevor Pisciotta, said the extension gives interested people and organisations more time to make a submission, following recent extreme weather events.

‘We’ve been committed to engaging with key stakeholders and the Victorian community throughout these reforms – this is the third and final round of consultation.’

‘Regional communities have already strongly influenced the form of the Draft Bill, which will help to maintain the trust of our trading partners, consumers and the community in Victoria’s animal-based activities and industries’, Dr Pisciotta said.

In addition to the three consultation rounds, Agriculture Victoria has consulted with more than 50 organisations representing people involved with animals or with an interest in animals and the law. The feedback has been carefully considered and contributed to the reform process to date.

Dr Pisciotta said the POCTA Act is nearly 40 years old and does not always reflect current community expectations, developments in animal science or changing industry practices.

‘Demonstrating a high standard of animal welfare is critical in supporting Victorian industries to maintain access to important markets. For most Victorians, there will be no major changes to the way they operate daily.’

‘These laws will strengthen Victoria’s reputation as a humane and responsible producer of food – while being fit-for-purpose for modern day farming practices’, Dr Pisciotta said.

Key changes include minimum standards of care and requirements around husbandry procedures – which already feature in the existing codes of practice and Australian Standards and Guidelines for Animal Welfare.

The proposed laws recognise animal sentience – that animals can have positive and negative experiences. Being explicit about this won't change how Victorians need to treat their animals, or whether they can be owned or used by humans. It won't create any legal rights for third parties, and it won't give animals legal rights.

Dr Pisciotta encourages interested community members, groups and organisations to make a submission and complete a survey about future regulations.

‘Please visit the Engage Victoria website, where you will find supporting materials to help you make a submission, including a guide to the draft Bill and a list of Frequently Asked Questions,’ Dr Pisciotta said.

For more information and to make a submission visit Engage Victoria.

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Horticultural Netting Program closing soon

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.

AgTech Innovators: Series 2 Episode 3
person standing in paddock with hair blowing in wind

When Tenacious Ventures makes an investment, they consider three crucial factors: the team, the technology, and the traction.

Co-founder Sarah Nolet says assessing these elements can be challenging, however, if they make the right choices, it can have a significant impact on the success of an AgTech startup. 

Listen online via the AgVic website

Reminder – phaseout of 3G network
image of network equipment with solar panel

Victorian farmers are reminded of the upcoming phaseout of the 3G network.

Starting from 30 June, the 3G network will be phased out in rural Victoria.

If you use devices that rely on a 3G SIM card for connectivity it's important to understand how this may impact your farm operations.

Reach out to your technology providers to ensure your devices are compatible with the upcoming changes.

Stay ahead of the transition to ensure seamless connectivity on your farm.


Resources at the ready for Mallee farms to improve soil

Mallee farmers are encouraged to take advantage of Agriculture Victoria’s new online resources and upcoming paddock walks to learn how to reduce erosion and make their soil more productive.

View the 'Building drought resilience' explainer video here and see what's on for paddock walk details.

Manage green bridge to reduce virus/aphid risk in canola

Grain growers are urged to eliminate green bridge growth (volunteer crop or weed growth) now to mitigate the threat of aphid-borne viruses such as turnip yellows virus (TuYV) in the coming growing season.

Read the article in full on the GRDC website here.

Help implement Victoria’s new Biosecurity Strategy

Agriculture Victoria is calling for applicants to join the Biosecurity Reference Group and help implement Victoria’s new Biosecurity Strategy.

To submit an expression of interest to join the Biosecurity Reference Group visit by 5 pm Wednesday 3 April.


2024 Livestock Biosecurity Funds grants program

The Victorian Government is bolstering Victoria’s biosecurity system with funding for projects that help prevent, monitor, and control pests and diseases in livestock.

Applications close on 15 April, to apply visit


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What's On

Details about Agriculture Victoria events can now be found in one spot on our website.

Visit to find out what's on.

Managing vulnerable Mallee soils paddock walk and pit inspection
Tractor pulling harrow through stubble

25 March
2.30 – 5.30 pm

Meet corner Calder Hwy and Chapman Rd by 2.30 pm to travel to paddock.

26 March
9.30 am – 5.30 pm

Meet corner Cemetery Rd Cowangie and Mallee Hwy by 9.30 am to travel to paddock.

To register click here.


Agriculture Victoria has partnered with Birchip Cropping Group and Mallee Sustainable Farming and invite you to join us and our host farmers for a paddock walk at our demonstration sites focussed on managing vulnerable Mallee soils.

With soils expert Dr Cassandra Schefe from AgriSci, we will examine a soil pit and explore results and observations from these sites which look at the value of using bentonite clay and compost for soil improvement.


Dr Cassandra Schefe - AgriSci

  • understanding vulnerable soils in the region 
  • soil pit investigations
  • understanding and managing soils on your farm as part of building drought resilience.

Roger Harrower - Agriculture Victoria

  • using bentonite clay and compost to improve water retention and support crop growth
  • results from the 2023 paddock demo sites.

Dr Yolanda Plowman – Birchip Cropping Group (Ouyen event) and Nick Paltridge – Mallee Sustainable Farming (Murrayville event)

  • results from their managing vulnerable soils 2023 farm trials and other trials in the region.
Landcare - fire and gorse webinar
fire and gorse and person in firefighting apparel runing with Landcare logo

Register via this link for an upcoming webinar on fire and gorse, delivered in collaboration with the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA), Country Fire Authority (CFA) and the Victorian Gorse Taskforce (VGT).

WHEN: Tuesday, 26 March - 5:30 to 7 pm

The presentation will cover:

  • What exactly is gorse and where does it thrive?
  • Legal obligations surrounding gorse management
  • Understanding the fire risk associated with gorse
  • Effective control strategies for gorse control and/or eradication
  • Real-life case studies illustrating successful interventions.
Canola establishment, cereal disease and hay update
image of young canola plant advertising upcoming Ag Group breakfast

27 March
8 am – 10:30 am

Wallup Hall
Wallup Hall Road


Wimmera farmers and advisers are invited to a pre-sowing meeting at Wallup to hear about stubble management for canola establishment, the latest on cereal diseases and an update of new hay facilities.

Stubble management for canola

Agriculture Victoria Senior Research Agronomist Dr Ashley Wallace and Regional Manager Grains South-west Felicity Pritchard will present results from crop and land management surveys and the first year of stubble management for canola establishment trial. This project is funded by GRDC and Agriculture Victoria.

Cereal disease update

Agriculture Victoria Senior Research Pathologist Dr Hari Dadu will provide an update on inoculum levels and fungicide strategies for cereal crops for the 2024 season, with stripe rust and Septoria to be problematic this season.

Hay processing

Paul Johns and Scott Summers will provide an update of the new hay processing plant being built near Warracknabeal (to be confirmed).

Breakfast will be provided. This activity is free and registration is not required. For further information, contact Felicity Pritchard on 0448 146 604 or Tim Inkster on 0427 372 739

BestWool/BestLamb and BetterBeef 2024 conference
banner with Black Angus and sheep advertising upcoming sheep and beef conference

19 - 20 June



Plans are underway for the Agriculture Victoria BestWool/BestLamb and BetterBeef conference and dinner to be held in a new location this year in Ballarat on 19-20 June.

The conference will be held over 2 days:.

  • 19 June Best Wool/BestLamb
  • 20 June BetterBeef.

Further details will be coming as plans are finalised.

AFREN webinar on Net Blotch
image of net blotch in barley

4 April
from 1pm



A free GRDC AFREN webinar for barley growers.

Hear from Agriculture Victoria Cereal Pathologist Dr Hari Dadu and Dr Tara Garrard Department of Primary Industries and Regions for an update on monitoring of net and spot form net blotch resistance to fungicides.

➕ Plus strategies to manage disease pressure and minimise resistance risk on farm.

▶️ Thursday 4 April 2024 at 1 pm

Register via this link.

2024 Landcare Forum

The 2024 Landcare forum will be held from Wednesday 8 to Friday 10 May in Bendigo. 

Find out more at

Drip Monitoring and Maintenance Course
irrigation drip line under grape vines

23 April
8.30 am to 12.30 pm

AgVic Mildura SmartFarm 
308-390 Koorlong Ave


Get the most out of your system and join Agriculture Victoria for a free half day session on drip monitoring and maintenance aimed at maximising farm profitability and efficiency.


Jeremy Giddings (DEECA) and Peter Henry (Netafim) 

Topics :

  • understanding design and specification sheets 
  • monitoring, measuring pressures and discharges 
  • flushing, chlorination and acid injection 

To register or for more information, please contact Maxine Schache on 0428 507 855 or email

RSVP by 17 April and please bring your irrigation design to this session. 

Interpreting soil moisture monitoring equipment

13 June
9 - 11 am

Robinvale Resource Centre
72 Herbert Street

14 June
9 - 11 am

Mildura SmartFarm
Corner Koorlang Avenue and 11th Street


Agriculture Victoria, in conjunction with Green Brain, is offering a half day workshop for irrigators looking to have a greater understanding of interpreting soil moisture monitoring data.

Attendees are encouraged to bring their login details and share their data with the group if appropriate.


  • Soil water principles
  • Understanding graphs
  • Summed and split-level graphs
  • Setting refill and fill points
  • Graph responses
  • Integration / data presentation
  • Your data

To register, contact Jeremy Giddings, Agriculture Victoria Regional Manager Irrigation, Mallee on 0427 02 285 or email

Numbers strictly limited.

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