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Barwon South-West Ag news
Thursday 14 December 2023
In this edition:
seasons greetings stay safe and enjoy Victoria

Thank you for your support throughout 2023, wishing you and your families a jolly holiday season.

Barwon South West Ag News will be back on deck on Thursday 1 February 2024.

Registration for emergency fodder
emergency fodder transport pre-registration application

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

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

Dr Jeff Cave, Agriculture Victoria 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.

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.

Victoria launches Australian Warning System (AWS) community education initiative
a man in uniform showing a boy a book in a classroom

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.

Recording: Getting the most out of the Bureau of Meteorology and Agriculture Victoria's seasonal climate forecast products
a landscape of a stormy sky

View the recording

Duration: 62 minutes (including questions)

Passcode: Climate

This webinar was originally presented on Wednesday 13 December 2023 at 12 pm AEST.

Presented by:

  • Graeme Anderson, Agriculture Victoria
  • Dale Grey, Agriculture Victoria.

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.

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.

Happy, healthy pigs webinar recording now available
a pig in straw

Thank you for registering for the Happy, Healthy Pigs Summer Preparedness webinar.

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 page on the Agriculture Victoria website.

Report an unusual or emergency animal disease

Emergency animal disease hotline

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 Report an unusual or emergency animal disease page.

A taste you can trace episode 9: Blockchain - increasing productivity and traceability from farm to consumer
a taste you can trace episode 9

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:

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.

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

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

Presented by:

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


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 Co-ordinating 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.


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.

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.

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 the 21 December at 12:30pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time 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.
Adaptive skills for your farming future - Lake Bolac

Grain and mixed farmers are invited to a short course for your farm business future.

DATE: 14 - 15 February 2024

WHERE: Lake Bolac Football Netball Clubrooms, 137 Frontage Rd, Lake Bolac

TIME: 8:30 am for 9 am start to 3 pm

Numbers are limited so please REGISTER ONLINE HERE.

This activity is free.

Presenter: Dr Kate Burke

Kate is an independent farm consultant who has a PhD and extensive experience in crop agronomy and dryland agriculture.

Her expertise is sought by large corporate enterprises but she mostly enjoys working with farmers that have a commitment to improvement. Using an evidence-based approach, Kate will guide you towards ‘excellent farming’.

Topics include:

  • Key profit drivers and high-level benchmarks
  • Income vs cost of production and impact of rotation
  • Calculating basic financial benchmarks
  • Understanding your personal appetite for risk
  • Understanding your production potential to assess variation in profit
  • Managing climate variability and farm financial performance
  • Scenario planning for the 2024 season and beyond.
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 licences and certificates needed 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.



'Like' our Agriculture Victoria Facebook page.


Follow us on X (formerly Twitter) @VicGovAg


Subscribe to the Agriculture Victoria YouTube channel. 


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