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Barwon South-West Ag news
Friday 8 December 2023
In this edition:
National online biosecurity training hub now open!
national biosecurity training hub

Australia’s first one-stop shop for online biosecurity training is now open and available to anyone looking to increase their understanding about biosecurity.

Agriculture Victoria has partnered with Plant Health Australia (PHA), the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, and Animal Health Australia (AHA) to create the National Biosecurity Training Hub.

Agriculture Victoria Executive Director Dr Katherine Clift says biosecurity and emergency animal disease preparedness is a top priority for Victoria.

‘Victoria faces intensifying biosecurity risks – driven by climate change, increasing trade and travel, and changing land use,' Dr Clift said.

‘Small actions can have big impacts on preventing and managing the harms caused by pests and diseases. The things we do, or don’t do, can touch everything we value.'

Dr Clift said biosecurity was a matter for all Victorians, not just people on farms and the training hub is a great way for people to increase their understanding and knowledge.

‘We can all help prevent pests from getting into Victoria, contain outbreaks before they get out of hand, and manage established pests and weeds,’ she said.

The National Biosecurity Training Hub (the Hub) offers a central location with a database of online biosecurity training resources to help reduce the duplication of effort and costs associated with developing and delivering biosecurity training.

The Hub unifies and streamlines training to give national visibility of biosecurity-related training across government, industry and community in a single location.

The Hub is a centralised platform that supports biosecurity prevention, preparedness, response and recovery by providing users with access to the latest biosecurity-related training materials and courses suited to different industries, levels and skill sets.

Designed with learners in mind, the Hub is easy to navigate with a library of plant, animal and aquatic biosecurity training that is searchable using a topic, keyword, location, preferred method of delivery.

The quality assurance protocols in place ensure each course listed meets the required standard.

The Hub can be found at and features 64 online training courses with plans for continuous expansion.

Organisations with biosecurity training packages interested in contributing to the Hub are encouraged to make contact with PHA via

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.

New dairy research gets to the root of soil health

The Victorian Government is working closely with Victoria’s dairy industry to improve soil health through a new innovative research program.

Minister for Agriculture Ros Spence and Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture Michaela Settle visited Fernleigh Park Pastoral in Fiskville recently to launch the $7 million DairySoil project, coinciding with World Soil Day celebrations.

The DairySoil project will introduce cutting-edge farming practices to help reduce industry’s use of synthetic fertiliser, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, and increase productivity and resilience to climate change.

This program will utilise state-of-art sensors to measure, map, retain and recover the moisture and nutrient levels needed to produce reliable and sustainable soil.

In partnership with Dairy Australia and the Gardiner Foundation DairySoil is spearheading the initiative as part $42.5 million DairyFeedbase 23-28 program.

The DairyFeedbase 23-28 project is supporting transformational programs across soils, forages and animal nutrition over the next 5 years.

From researching soil health and pasture composition changes, to measuring and reducing methane emissions, the DairyFeedbase program will aim to increase the profitability and productivity of dairy farms while minimising their impact on the environment.

The projects will also link to other national research underway and make the most of Victoria's world-class facilities at Agriculture Victoria’s Ellinbank and Hamilton SmartFarms and the AgriBio Centre for AgriBiosciences in Bundoora.

For more information visit,

Free financial counselling with RFCS
free financial counselling with the rural financial counselling service

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.

Find your closest service or call 1300 771 741.

Unlocking the keys to soil carbon
a birds eye view of yellow and green paddocks

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.

Agriculture Victoria Senior Soil Scientist Professor, Roger Armstrong, said data collected from the last soil monitoring campaign in 2018, prior to recent wetter years, showed that soil carbon was declining to varying degrees across all crop rotations.

‘The crop rotation that had the least decline in soil carbon was one that included a high frequency of legumes in its rotation,’ said Professor Armstrong.

‘Crop rotations weren’t able to halt the slow decline of soil carbon, even when zero tillage residue retention systems were adopted.

‘Since 2018 however the Wimmera region has returned to a series of better seasonal conditions so it will be interesting to see how the different rotation and tillage systems we are examining have impacted on soil carbon.

‘Soil is a precious resource that underpins the profitability and sustainability of farming and soil carbon is another challenge for farmers to manage alongside changes in climate, cropping systems and the market.

SCRIME is part of Agriculture Victoria’s long-term trial network and this round of soil carbon monitoring is a co-investment between Agriculture Victoria and the Wimmera Catchment Management Authority (WCMA).

The management of SCRIME is assisted by an advisory committee including Agriculture Victoria researchers Roger Armstrong, Felicity Pritchard, Ash Wallace, Joshua Fanning and Hari Dadu, WCMA CEO Dave Brennan, Longerenong College teacher Nick Wachsmann, Wimmera grower Trish Flynn and agricultural consultant John Stuchberry.

‘SCRIME and other Agriculture Victoria’s long-term trial experiments are a unique research asset in Australia that allow researchers and growers to assess how different farming practices affect productivity, water use efficiency and soil across a range of seasons, something not possible in short-term experiments,’ said Professor Armstrong.

A taste you can trace – episode 8
a taste you can trace episode 8

Having a good traceability system in place means that if a food safety issue were to occur, your business can respond quickly and more efficiently.

In this episode, Dr. Adele Yates from Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) explores food safety standards and the difference between recalls and incidents, using examples of recent food safety events.

🎧 🎧 🎧 🎧Listen online via the AgVic website:

Farm fire preparedness tip – stock containment
Two farmers looking over a fence at sheep. The text reads: farm fire preparedness toolkit animal welfare

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.

Matching soil performance indicators to farming systems survey

Researchers at Federation University Australia in partnership with the Soil CRC are looking into decisions that farmers in different areas make about soil indicators to inform and support their farming practices.

Farmers are invited to participate in a survey that will help this research.

A short video introducing this research is available here.

The survey takes approximately 10 minutes to complete.

Further information about the research is available here: Plain Language Information Statement.

Enquiries or to request a hard copy of the survey please contact Dr Nathan Robinson, Federation University Australia by email or telephone (03) 5327 8436.

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

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.

Recording: Managing fire risk on farms - tools, tips, resources and a seasonal update
agriculture victoria climate webinars

Presented by:

  • Dale Grey, Agriculture Victoria
  • Kylie Macreadie, Agriculture Victoria.


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 recording, Kylie highlights farm preparedness activities, along with tools and templates available in the new Fire Preparedness Toolkit.

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

Sign up to the Weed Spotter newsletter
Weed spotter newsletter

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

Latest technologies featured at Gippsland farm day

National experts and specialists will present on the latest technologies being used at Jelbart Farm at a feature event near Leongatha next Wednesday, 13 December.


New community forestry support offered to workers

The Victorian Government is giving community foresters and their workers access to more transition support, with the Community Forestry Support Package now open to help workers transition out of native timber harvesting.


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.


The Curdies River co-ordinating committee

The Curdies River Coordinating Committee has been established to provide a transparent and effective platform for knowledge sharing, consultation, and collaboration in relation to improving the health of the Curdies River and its tributaries.

The Committee wants to hear from the community about how you value the Curdies River and its tributaries.

This will help guide the work they do to make the Curdies River a healthy river for all to enjoy.

Complete the survey here.

Counting the future benefits for orchards

Orchard researchers are continuing to find new applications for an Agtech device called a ‘Cartographer’ at Agriculture Victoria’s Tatura SmartFarm.


Celebrating Victoria’s robust biosecurity system

As the country celebrates National Agriculture Day, it’s crucial to recognise the exceptional efforts of Victoria’s Biosecurity System.

Recent 2022-23 performance data paints a clear picture of the essential work conducted by Agriculture Victoria staff on the ground.


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.

Farm Safety Dining Table Talks webinar

DATE: Wednesday 13 December

TIME: 6:30 - 9 pm


Farmers are invited to join MOFS Senior Farm Safety Advisor John Darcy, for a webinar version of his sought after Farm Safety Visit Dining Table Talk.

This is a free online event for all Victorian farmers. VFF members and non-members are all welcome.

John will deliver his full dining table presentation, covering the following topics and many more:

  • How to use OH&S policies and procedures in your business
  • How to involve your employees in establishing a good safety culture
  • Understanding your legal duties, and how you can tackle them in a practical and methodical way.      

Register here or email more information.

Getting the most out of the Bureau and Agriculture Victoria’s seasonal climate forecasts products - webinar
plan, prepare and respond - five seasonal climate forecasting tools webinar

DATE: Wednesday 13 December

TIME: 12 - 1 pm


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

The Bureau of Meteorology has 5 seasonal climate forecasting tools to provide more insight into the possibility of extreme weather events.

In this webinar, Dale Grey, Seasonal Risk Agronomist, will share 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, will highlight Agriculture Victoria's climate update information, newsletters, soil moisture monitoring reports and climate and weather courses.


  • Dale Grey, Seasonal Risk Agronomist.
  • Graeme Anderson, Climate Specialist

For more information about this webinar, including assistance joining the webinar, email

Sustainable Dairies Program

WestVic Dairy, Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CMA) and Agriculture Victoria are conducting a 4–day workshop including a Fertsmart workshop to better understand nutrient budgeting and management, including effluent use and storage.

Participants will receive 5 free soil tests and 2 free effluent tests.

Results from these tests will be used to create comprehensive nutrient and effluent use plans, including farm maps outlining nutrient status, soil types, management zones and application areas.


  • Day 1 – 12 December
  • Day 2 – 13 December
  • Day 3 and 4 – February 2024.

Time: 10 am – 2:30 pm

Location: Timboon – to be confirmed.

For more information email Libby Swayn or call on 0459 612 681.

2023/2024 State and Territory Landcare Award

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

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

The objective is to honour individuals, groups and organisations that are making outstanding contributions to caring for the environment in their local communities for the benefit of all Australians today, and for generations to come.

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 for their work to restore, enhance and protect the natural environment in their community. 

Find out more from the Landcare Australia website.

Moyne Shire – Make It Work Program
make it work

Make It Work is a collaboration between Commerce Moyne and Moyne Shire Council, the program aims to assist local business address the current worker shortage.

Make It Work has a growing database with over 100 people who are willing to work, some for a few months at a time while they travel through the region, some for longer periods.

The easy-to-use database can be filtered by industry, you can view each worker’s experience, qualifications, and contact information.

Many of the workers have expressed interest in agricultural work, they come with experience in various trades, and hold many licenses and certificates need for work on the land.

An added benefit of the Make It Work program is that subsidised site fees are available at 6 of the Moyne Shire’s Caravan Parks to help accommodate your new workers.

To start viewing and connecting with these willing workers, register today at Make It Work Program  Commerce Moyne.

Raising the Roof 2024 – save the date
raising the roof 2024 save the date, hunter valley NSW

Presented by Dairy Australia and Agriculture Victoria, Raising the Roof is the only Australian dairy industry event dedicated to intensive farm systems.

WHEN: 27 – 29 February 2024

WHERE: Hunter Valley, New South Wales


For more information email

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 2024.

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.



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