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Thursday, 14 December 2023

In this edition:

Season's greetings banner image

Thank you for your fabulous support throughout 2023, and wishing you and your families a jolly holiday season. Northern Ag News will be back on deck on Thursday, 1 February 2024, fa la la la, la la la la!

Registration for emergency fodder
Emergency fodder banner image

It’s shaping to be a long, hot summer and that means more risk of bushfires.

With the support of the Victorian Government and as part of the Emergency Fodder Support Program, we’re reminding truck transport operators to pre-register their details with us.

In the event of a bushfire or other significant emergency, we may call on those registered to help deliver fodder to where it’s needed most.

Register your details here

After the flood – new AgVic Talk podcast series – Intro
agriculture victoria agvic talk

Welcome to After the flood: stories of farmer recovery and resilience, season 7 of AgVic Talk. 

This season zeroes in on the practical aspects of preparing for, responding to, and recovering from natural disasters. 

In this introduction episode, Victoria’s Rural Assistance Commissioner, Peter Tuohey, says listeners will hear from farmers who’ve weathered floods, how they’re recovering and what they’ve learned along the way.  

The series has been produced by Agriculture Victoria in partnership with the National Centre for Farmer Health.

🎧🎧Listen online via the AgVic website.

After the flood podcast – Episode 1
agriculture victoria agvic talk

A realistic cash-flow budget, a good recovery plan (and a fair bit of built-in resilience), helped Ulunja farm – a 95-hectare Manuka tea tree plantation on the Murray River – navigate the October 2022 floods. 

Despite the blow of losing most of the plantings, the farm’s manager Chris Steele has remained positive about the future of the First Nations agriculture enterprise.

Listen via the AgVic website.

Do or not to do – the value of post-mortems

Dr Jeff Cave, Senior Veterinary Officer

A post-mortem may provide an answer to the reason an animal died. In a herd or flock situation it may also provide a useful guide to an underlying health issue.

A question I’m often asked is ‘for how long after an animal has died can it be post-mortemed and still give useful results?’

The simple answer is, if possible, it’s best to carry out a post-mortem as soon as an animal dies. In fact, a humanely euthanised ill animal may provide the most useful results when dealing with a herd or flock disease issue.

An animal’s body begins to undergo changes the moment it dies.

The first notable change comes with the cessation of normal biochemical processes in the body. As a result, a blood biochemistry test will give invalid results.

A veterinarian will often want to sample blood from several sick animals to overcome this deficiency. Interestingly, the fluid in the eye remains largely unchanged for some time after death. You will often see a veterinarian collect eye fluid during a post-mortem for this reason.

Next, the animal’s body begins to decompose. The rate at which this occurs varies according to the body part.

The gastrointestinal tract is the first body organ to decompose.

The rate of decomposition will also vary according to the ambient temperature. Therefore, an animal’s body decomposes more rapidly in summer than in winter.

On a hot day an animal’s body may decompose to the point of being useless for a post-mortem in under 6 hours. On the other hand, on a cold winter’s day an animal that died the previous evening can still provide a valuable post-mortem the following morning.

With decomposition comes changes both visually and microscopically. This makes it difficult to interpret whether a change seen is due to the decomposition process or the underlying disease.

Fortunately, when a veterinarian collects a tissue sample its microscopic appearance can be preserved using formalin solution.

Similarly, the rate of decomposition of fresh tissues will decrease with refrigeration. Keeping samples refrigerated if veterinary help isn’t immediately available will enhance their usefulness. Freezing however will destroy tissue structures and lose the opportunity of identifying infectious agents.

For further advice please contact your local veterinarian or Agriculture Victoria veterinary or animal health officer, or in NSW your Local Land Services.

Climate webinars – Recording: Getting the most out of the Bureau of Meteorology and Ag Vic's seasonal forecast products
Weather image

Presented by Agriculture Victoria's Graeme Anderson and Dale Grey.

Understanding the likelihood of an extreme weather event can assist farmers to plan, prepare and respond through better on-farm decision making.

The bureau has 5 seasonal climate forecasting tools to provide more insight on the chance of extreme weather events.

In this webinar recording, Dale Grey, Seasonal Risk Agronomist, shares the 5 new tools which can provide information on the chance of unseasonal and extreme temperatures and rainfall for the weeks, months or seasons ahead and how farmers can use them to plan operations.

Graeme Anderson, Climate Specialist, highlights Agriculture Victoria's climate update information, newsletters, soil moisture monitoring reports and climate and weather courses.

Passcode: Climate

To listen, click here

This webinar was presented on Wednesday 13 December 2023.

All climate webinar recordings can be found on our website. Visit:

Free financial counselling with RFCS
RFCS banner image

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 click here or call 1300 771 741.

Victoria launches Australian Warning System (AWS) community education initiative
Victoria launches Australian Warning System (AWS) community education initiative

Victorians will have access to a range of education materials to better understand warnings for bushfires, floods, storms and extreme heat.

The Australian Warning System education initiative launched recently, includes information on different hazard icons, warning levels and action statements to help the community understand what they need to do to stay safe in response to emergencies.

The 3 warning levels (advice, watch and act and emergency warning) are the same for bushfires, floods, storms and extreme heat.

The community education initiative features well-known ABC presenter, Justine Clarke, and the voice of Chilli from children’s TV show Bluey, Melanie Zanetti, and includes videos, story books, audio books, posters, social media content, radio advertisements and more.

It has been developed by Emergency Management Victoria, on behalf of Victoria’s emergency services.

This follows the national implementation of the Australian Warning System coordinated by the Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council (AFAC).

EMV has worked with emergency service agencies to ensure materials are fit for purpose, with a key focus on distribution across the state – particularly in high-risk areas.

All materials can be viewed via the online stakeholder kit here.

Farm fire preparedness tip – stock containment
man and lady looking over a gate at sheep in a yard

Where will you place your stock during an emergency?

It’s crucial to have a refuge paddock or stock containment area ready for your livestock during emergencies, with adequate feed and water for their safety. 

Use the Fire Preparedness Toolkit and web resources to start planning for stock containment areas, emergency feeding and water budgeting – available at

Find and use our Farm Fire Preparedness Toolkit here.

Happy, healthy pigs webinar recording now available
Pig health webinar recording banner image

Thank you for registering for the Happy, Health Pigs Summer Preparedness Webinar hosted by Agriculture Victoria.

Below are the key topics from our speakers.

If you would like a link to the recording please email:

APIAM Bendigo veterinary consultant Jonathan van Dissel

To contact Jonathan about any pig health questions email:

  • The most common question is what do I feed my pigs? Pigs require a very broad and balanced diet but they also love a consistent diet.  Monitor pigs’ weight and adjust accordingly
  • Check your paddocks to make sure there’s nothing that will make the pigs ill
  • Water is crucial, particularly leading into summer
  • Wallows – very important that they’re more liquid than mud and soil types matter
  • Prepare for summer with shade and misting systems
  • Jonathan is often asked about overgrown hooves.  It’s good to investigate if there’s a problem with the hooves
  • Good biosecurity is important. Get in touch with Agriculture Victoria for help with biosecurity plans.

Agriculture Victoria Principal Veterinary Officer Dr Regina Fogarty

To contact Regina about Japanese encephalitis, property identification codes or other animal diseases email:

  • If you have livestock on your land, including pigs, you must have a Property Identification Code.  The PIC is how Agriculture Victoria contacts you if there’s a bushfire, flood or disease outbreak. PICs are free and easy to update.  Visit:
  • Keep an eye out for notifiable pig diseases.  These include exotic diseases such as foot and mouth disease and African swine fever and non-exotics such as Japanese encephalitis. Visit here:
  • There is government support for significant disease investigations, for vets and laboratories. Visit
  • Be vigilant about mosquito control to protect your pigs and yourself from Japanese encephalitis.  More information at

Agriculture Victoria Principal Veterinary Officer, disease surveillance Dr Dianne Phillips

To contact Dianne about pig health or the free worm testing and biosecurity plans please email:

  • Agriculture Victoria has a free worm testing and biosecurity planning program for pig owners
  • Biosecurity plans will help you to identify the pests, weeds, toxins and pathogens that may be a risk to your pigs. Agriculture Victoria staff can visit your property and help you write the biosecurity plan.  It will help to keep your animals safe
  • While staff are visiting your property they will test your pigs for worms and provide advice about how to manage them
  • If you would like Agriculture Victoria’s help on worm testing and biosecurity plans then email
  • To find out more about the free worm testing program visit the Biosecurity plans and worm testing program on Agriculture Victoria website.

Report an unusual or emergency animal disease

Report any unusual signs or suspected cases of emergency animal disease immediately to the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888.

Early reporting increases the chance of effective control and eradication.

For more information about what to include in a report visit the Agriculture Victoria website here Report an unusual or emergency animal disease page

A taste you can trace – episode 9
a taste you can trace episode 9

Blockchain – increasing productivity and traceability from farm to consumer.  

Blockchain, a new type of computing system, allows for information to be added and verified at any point along the supply chain. 

To explore this concept and gain a greater understanding of what blockchain is, Jason Potts, Professor of Economics at RMIT University, joins us for this AgVic Talk.

Listen online via the AgVic website:

Harvester and crop fires
avoid crop fires, think twice before using farm machinery on hot dry windy days

We know farmers want to protect their communities as well as their own equipment and harvest, so we urge them to consider these tips before undertaking work this weekend:

  • Postponing paddock work during the highest fire-risk periods
  • Run regular maintenance checks on farm machinery
  • Monitor weather conditions throughout the day and stop operations if it changes.

You are required by law to have a nine-litre water-pressured extinguisher on hand.

Visit the CFA website for more information on preventing harvester fires

Sign up to MyCFA to get local information on how to plan and prepare for fires and other emergencies in your area.

Please note: For emergency warnings always go straight to VicEmergency

Sign up to the Weed Spotter newsletter
Image of Hyacinth

The Weed Spotter newsletter provides updates on the latest in weed news in Victoria, recent infestations found and removed, and where to go to report suspected weeds in your area. 

Subscribe to the Weed Spotter newsletter here.

In case you missed it

Unlocking the keys to soil carbon

A new round of soil research is underway as part of a long-term Agriculture Victoria experiment based at Longerenong which hopes to resolve soil carbon decline in cropping systems.

The Sustainable Cropping Rotations in Mediterranean Environments (SCRIME) experiment started 25 years ago to examine the impact of different crop and pasture rotations and tillage systems on agricultural productivity in medium rainfall climates in southern Australia.


More work for our harvest workforce

The Victorian Government is investing in Victoria’s forest contractor workforce – creating more regional jobs and further strengthening the state’s bushfire management.

Minister for Environment Steve Dimopoulos recently announced the government will offer VicForests harvest contractors with secure five-year Forest and Fire Management Services Agreements, starting from 1 July 2024.


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.

Managing cows through a hot summer – new nutrition research

DATE: Thursday, 21 December

TIME: 12:30 – 1:30 pm


Dairy Australia is running a free one-hour webinar on Thursday 21 December at 12:30 pm to provide farmers with information on the best ways to manage dairy cows through this coming hot summer.

The webinar will feature Dairy Scientist and heat stress expert, Dr Josie Garner.

Topics covered include:

  • Practical strategies to manage cows during heat events
  • An overview on new nutrition research to mitigate heat stress via dietary interventions
  • Short and long term heat stress management.
How good is this year’s fodder? Event in Towong in January

How does this year's fodder stack up for energy and protein?

Will it meet your livestock’s need?

Agriculture Victoria and Riverine Plains are offering a free feed quality tests for Towong and farmers to check the quality of their feed sources.

There are a limited number of tests available, so we’re encouraging farmers to register now.  

After the results have been returned, Agriculture Victoria will host a webinar on Wednesday, 24 January at 12:30 pm to discuss options to keep your stock as productive as possible.

Please register by 12 January.

To register for the free feed tests:

  • Click this link or fill out the accompanying paper form
  • The registration form will include the process of sample collection and submission.

For more information contact Agricultural Recovery Officer at Toni Dakis or on 0428 975 728.

Creating an Animal Movement Record workshop - Feb 2024

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

Raising the roof 2024 – Save the date!
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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

Australian Dairy Conference in February 2024

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

Program details and more information to be released throughout 2023.

Find out more here.

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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.


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