Forward this email | View in web browser
Northern Ag News Banner
Thursday 16 November 2023
In this edition:


Regional Drought Resilience Plans – have your say
have you say, Loddon Campaspe, Mallee and Ovens Murray regional drought resilence plans

Agriculture Victoria has been working with members of the Ovens Murray, Loddon Campaspe and Mallee communities to prepare a draft Drought Resilience Plan for the region.  

The Drought Resilience Plans propose themes, outcomes, and actions to better prepare the region for future droughts and help them to thrive in challenging times.

We invite all local community members to have their say on the draft plans by visiting EngageVic website before December 10 2023.

We encourage all interested parties to ‘follow’ the Regional Drought Resilience EngageVic page for updates.

The Ovens Murray, Loddon Campaspe and Mallee Drought Resilience Plans are the final 3 plans to be developed across Victoria’s 9 regions as part of the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund in partnership with the Victorian Government. 

Community feedback on the draft Plans for the Ovens Murray, Loddon Campaspe and Mallee regions is currently being sought.

Plans for Great South Coast, Barwon and Central Highlands are currently being finalised following input from community members.

Plans for Gippsland, Goulburn and Wimmera Southern Mallee have been published and are available to view online.

More information on the plans, the Regional Drought Resilience Planning Program and the Future Drought Fund is available on the Agriculture Victoria website. 

For more information on the development of Regional Drought Resilience Plan in the Ovens Murray region contact Rod Hayes.

For the plans in the Loddon Campaspe and Mallee contact Richard Soppe.

Responses close 10 December.

Future Drought Fund public consultation meeting in Shepparton
Two men one in akubra in front of farm machinery outside

Future Drought Fund public consultation meeting in Shepparton

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, including in Shepparton from 9-10:30 am on Friday 1 December 2023.

Please register your interest in attending at Future Drought Fund Public Consultation in Shepparton on Eventbrite 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.

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.

Gains for breeding program from US trip
man with backpack on stairs with sign, photos of lentils, people sitting in a large lecture theatre

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 SmartFarm’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

Keep your bees and hives healthy this summer
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:

Farm fire preparedness tip – emergency access
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 on developing your farm map in our Fire Preparedness Toolkit.

Find and use our Farm Fire Preparedness Toolkit 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 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 the 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

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

Australian Women in Agriculture 2023 Conference
Women in ag conference banner image

The Australian Women in Agriculture National Conference is coming to Bendigo in November.

Please join us to celebrate the role of women in the agricultural industry.

The conference provides a platform for women to connect, learn, and grow.

A variety of speakers that will inform, influence, innovate and inspire.

  • 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.

It addresses important topics such as leadership, sustainable farming practices, and personal growth.

Ultimately, the Women in Agriculture Conference is a testament to the resilience, innovation, and influence of women in shaping the future of agriculture.


  • 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

A taste you can trace – episode 7
a taste you can trace episode 7

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:

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 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

Barley loose smut webinar recording now available
image of barley loose smut disease on plant

If you missed the Barley loose smut seasonal update for Vic and WA last month, you can watch the webinar at your leisure here.

Hear cereal grain pathologists Hari Dadu and Andrea Hill present on key topics including:
➡️ why has 2023 has had higher levels of loose smut compared to other years?
➡️ what is the carryover risk?
➡️ what is the best management strategy?

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).


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.


Prevent parasite impacts on your pig herd health

Agriculture Victoria has found roundworm (Ascaris suum) in one-third of pig herds tested as part of a free new animal health program.


Biosecurity matters for contractors

As the winter crop ripens rapidly in the southern state’s grain belt, thoughts of managing the harvest are front of mind for grain growers.


Nominations for the 2023/2024 State and Territory Landcare Awards

Now in its 32nd year, the State and Territory Landcare Awards stand as a prestigious biennial national Landcare Awards program.

Find out more from the Landcare Australia website.

Nominations close Friday 1 March 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.

Kyneton Show

18 November
9 am to 4 pm

Kyneton showgrounds

  • Talk to our animal health staff about farm biosecurity and emergency animal diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease. Also talk to our staff about climate resilience and recovery.
  • Discuss your on-farm biosecurity plan and pick up a biosecurity sign.
  • Pick up a kids' activity pack to learn more about biosecurity practices on your farm.
  • Come and see our sheep sculpture painted by local Bendigo based indigenous artist, Kristie Witt, and our goat sculpture painted by Gippsland based artist, Lucy Hersey.

For more information email Celeste Tai or call 0499 938 678.

Dairy Australia summer forecast webinar
Image of dairy cows on bare ground

22 November
12:30 pm



This summers’ climate: What can we expect?

Dairy Australia is running a free one-hour webinar on Wednesday 22 November at 12:30pm to provide farmers with information on the summer season forecast and regional summaries of soil moisture.

Dale Grey, Agriculture Victoria Seasonal Risk Agronomist will cover the following topics:

  • 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.

Join the webinar on Zoom by registering here

EAD Preparedness webinar 2: waste disposal

DATE: Monday 20 November

TIME: 10 – 11 am


Agriculture service providers, industry bodies, agencies, and councils are invited to Agriculture Victoria’s webinar series on Emergency Animal Disease (EAD) Preparedness.

During the webinar series, expert speakers from Agriculture Victoria will present important topics, including current risk outlook for an EAD incursion, key response activities following an EAD detection and the importance of farm biosecurity planning.

You are encouraged to attend the webinars to learn what you can do to help protect Victoria’s livestock industries and raise awareness within your organisation and support your community.

Please extend this invitation to other relevant people in your organisation.

Webinar 2 – Waste Disposal

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.
MLA Update – See you in Bendigo on 23 November
MLA banner image

Agriculture Victoria will be at the MLA Update in Bendigo.

The MLA Updates are coming to Victoria and will be on in Bendigo on 23 November.

The MLA Updates is working around an umbrella 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.

This year’s venue is the Fosterville Gold Exhibition Centre at the Bendigo Showgrounds.

MLA’s AGM will also be held from 3:30pm onsite at the showgrounds.

For more information click HERE and to register click HERE

Full day workshop - Equiculture - Healthy Horses, Healthy Pastures
Horse image

Horse owners are invited to attend a full-day Equiculture workshop with internationally acclaimed author and presenter on best practice ‘equine lifestyle’, Stuart Myers, on Sunday 26 November. 

The workshop focuses on how to manage horses and the land they live on. Learn how to make decisions that will improve your life and the life of your horse/s.

In the workshop horse owners will learn how to use their horse's natural and domesticated behaviours, combined with good pasture management principles to improve and maintain their properties.

This includes how to manage pasture to encourage biodiversity and ground cover and manage horse health issues such as laminitis and obesity. 

It will also cover how to best design your property to maximise outcomes for your horses and the natural environment, including soil health and water quality.

Furthermore, by understanding best practice horse management you will learn about the aesthetic and financial benefits you can gain for your property – i.e. improved ground cover, reduced feed bills, lower parasitic (worm) burdens, and fewer weeds to control.

DATE: Sunday 26 November

TIME: 10:30 am – 4:30 pm

WHERE: Latrobe University, Wodonga 

To register for the workshop please click HERE

For further information please contact Gervaise Gaunt or 0409 027 115.

For more information on Stuart Myers, click HERE

Managing fire risk on farms – tools, tips, resources and a seasonal update
managing fire risk on farms - tools tips resources and a seasonal update

DATE: Tuesday 28 November

TIME:  12 noon - 1 pm


Every farm and farming business is unique, being well prepared for bushfires can assist farm businesses to recover faster.

Planning and preparing for the bushfire season includes identifying risks and undertaking tasks to prepare your farm ahead of the season.

In this webinar, Kylie will highlight farm preparedness activities, along with tools and templates available in the new Fire preparedness toolkit page.

Dale will discuss what the current drier climate drivers of the El Nino and the positive Indian Ocean Dipole are up to as well as current soil moisture, remote sensed plant growth and grass curing.


  • Kylie Macreadie, Land Management Extension Officer
  • Dale Grey, Seasonal Risk Agronomist.

For more information about this webinar, including assistance joining the webinar send us an email.

Seasonal outlook and local soil moisture conditions event

You're invited to this free event hosted by the Gecko Clan Landcare Network.

Understand the seasonal outlook, local soil moisture conditions, and hear about what effect a summer El Nino will have on your farm.

Agriculture Victoria experts Dale Boyd and Dale Grey will present on the current and forecast conditions for our region.

DATE: Thursday 30 November

TIME: Doors open at 9:30 am for a 10 am start, concluding at midday

WHERE: Benalla Lakeside Community Centre (off Arundel Street)

COST: Free


For phone bookings and enquiries text or call Landcare Facilitator Claire Birch on 0448 908 690.

Arcadia’s native fish hatchery tour

DATE: Tuesday 5 December

TIME: 11 am - 2 pm

WHERE: VFA  Arcadia, 200 Ross Road, Arcadia


Have you ever wondered about the similarities between aquaculture and land-based production systems?

Join us for a social day off the farm as we visit the VFA native fish hatchery in Arcadia and tour around the newly developed facilities, built as a part of the Target One Million project.

Take some time off to enjoy a day out and catch up with some neighbours!

Lunch is supplied. 

Buses available from Rochester and Cobram.

  • Bus 1: Rochester to Arcadia (via Kyabram and Tatura)
  • Bus 2: Cobram to Arcadia (via Numurkah and Shepparton).

The event is free and open to all farmers.

For more information contact Tanya Dobrijevic on email or call 0429 353 649.

How good is this year’s fodder? Towong and Murrindindi

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 2 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 to discuss options to keep your stock as productive as possible.

To register for the free feed tests:

  • Scan the QR code, follow the link or fill out the accompanying paper form
  • The registration form will include the process of sample collection and submission.

TOWONG - webinar

DATE: Thursday 7 December

TIME: 12:30 pm

Applicants for the free feed tests will be automatically invited to the webinar.

For webinar invite only, please contact Toni Dakis.

Learn about:

  • Feed test result interpretation  
  • Feeding Livestock website  
  • Basic feed budgeting
  • Flood recovery support.

MURRINDINDI - Feed Test Workshop

Agriculture Victoria and Murrindindi Shire Council are offering 2 free feed quality tests for Murrindindi farmers to check the quality of their feed sources.

There is 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 to discuss options to keep your stock as productive as possible.

To register for the free feed tests follow this link.

The registration form will include the process of sample collection and submission.

DATE: Tuesday 12 December

TIME: 5:30 pm

WHERE: Molesworth Hall

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

NE Vic Women in Dairy - Christmas catch-up

Come along and join us for our Christmas catch up, morning tea.
NE Vic Women in Dairy are all about forging connections and friendships that go the distance and being there to support one another through the good times and the difficult times.  

Please RSVP via the QR Code corresponding to the day you would like to attend, or call Cindy Lucas on 0427 192 421 or Meaghan Daly on 0427 507 583.

Raising the roof 2024 - Save the date!
Raise the roof banner image

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

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.

The line-up of international expert speakers is currently being finalised and tickets will be on sale soon.

Save the date, spread the word, and get ready to elevate your dairy game at Raising the Roof 2024!

  • Learn from international experts about the latest thinking in dairy farming
  • Hear from farmers who have already transitioned to intensive systems
  • Find out about the latest feeding and housing infrastructure resources
  • Forge strong connections with other farmers and industry stakeholders through networking.

EVENT DETAILS 27-29 February, Hunter Valley, NSW

SAVE THE DATE Tickets on sale soon.

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.

Subscribe to Northern Ag News

Enjoying the Northern 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 X (formerly Twitter) @VicGovAg


Subscribe to the Agriculture Victoria YouTube channel. 


Privacy | Email: