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Wednesday 24 April 2024
In this edition:
Workshops to support Gippsland farmers

Farmers in East Gippsland and the Bass Coast wanting to be better equipped to manage the impacts of drought and a changing climate are encouraged to register for 2 upcoming Farm Business Resilience Program workshops.

Agriculture Victoria, in partnership with the ION Group, is inviting farmers, farm managers and employees, to join the free workshops to improve their knowledge and skills in farm business resilience.

Agriculture Victoria Horticulture Program Manager, Aimee McCutcheon, said the workshops will cover a range of topics to support local farm businesses after multiple recent weather events.

‘The workshops are suitable for farmers in the horticulture (including nursery and gardens), meat and wool and apiary industries in the East Gippsland and Bass Coast areas.

‘We encourage farmers from various backgrounds to attend, regardless of their knowledge level, as there will be many opportunities to learn new things and develop skills to take back to the farm.

‘Farmers will be supported to develop or update existing farm action plans to achieve their individual business goals.

‘This program will assist you to set up your farm for success, now and into the future,’ Ms McCutcheon said.

Sessions will cover business planning, risk management, farm finances and profitable decision making, managing people on farm, farm safety and wellbeing, climate adaptation and natural resource improvement including soil, water, crops and pastures. Session times are as follows:

  • Bass Coast: 
    Monday 6 to Wednesday 8 May – block 1
    Monday 20 to Wednesday 22 May – block 2
    Register for Bass Coast
  • East Gippsland: 
    Monday 27 to Wednesday 29 May – block 1
    Monday 17 to Wednesday 19 June – block 2
    Register for East Gippsland

The workshops are delivered by Agriculture Victoria through the Farm Business Resilience Program and are jointly funded through the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund and the Victorian Government’s Future Agriculture Skills Capacity Fund.

For further information on the sessions please contact Scott Botten on or 0499 413 423.

Agriculture Victoria leader Julie Simons makes the Top 50

This week Agriculture Victoria’s Director Biosecurity Strategy, Preparedness and Coordination Dr Julie Simons was recognised as one of Victoria’s Top 50 Public Sector Women.

Julie’s achievement acknowledges her significant contribution to policy, science, and operations within the Victorian Public Sector over the past 3 decades.

Most recently, Julie has been overseeing the Victorian Government’s Emergency Animal Disease (EAD) Preparedness program to rapidly boost the government’s readiness to respond to a major EAD event such as foot-and-mouth disease.

Agriculture Victoria Executive Director Biosecurity Dr Katherine Clift congratulated Julie on her achievements.

‘Julie is a compassionate, innovative, and impactful leader who dedicates herself to developing Victoria’s rural regions and our agriculture sector, with a focus on drought, natural disasters, and emergencies.

‘Her most recent leadership in the Emergency Animal Disease space has delivered solid outcomes for Victoria’s agricultural sector – making sure we are better prepared in the face of emerging biosecurity threats.’

‘Julie has passion in bringing people together across government, industry and community to tackle challenging issues and deliver positive solutions for Victoria’s agriculture sector,’ said Dr Clift.

Since its inception in 2017, IPAA Victoria’s Top 50 Public Sector Women awards program has acknowledged and celebrated the women leaders at all levels of government – Commonwealth, State and Local – who lead high-performing teams, groundbreaking policy and uphold values of integrity, diversity and inclusion, and transformation.

This year’s ceremony celebrated 50 women winners who comprise senior executives and leaders across many areas of the public sector.

The cohort of women leaders was selected through a rigorous judging and due diligence process.

For more information about the IPAA Victoria’s Top 50 Public Sector Women awards program, including a list of recipients, visit the IPAA website.

New Chair for Horse Traceability Taskforce

Victorian biosecurity specialist and former Queensland Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Ron Glanville will lead the National Horse Traceability Implementation Taskforce as its new Chair.

The newly established taskforce will focus on implementing a national horse traceability system, continuing the work of the National Horse Traceability Working Group, which provided final recommendations to Australia’s agriculture ministers in 2022.

The proposed National Horse Traceability System will assist in responding to future biosecurity incidents and natural disasters involving horses, donkey and mules.

Endorsed as Chair by the National Biosecurity Committee, Dr Glanville will lead the Taskforce, which includes a diverse committee of 17 members who have an interest or expertise in animal health, biosecurity or traceability.

Dr Glanville has extensive experience in responding to biosecurity incidents, including the 2007 equine influenza outbreak. He said a national horse traceability system would bring significant benefits, particularly during outbreak or emergency situations.

‘I am looking forward to working with representatives of Australia’s horse industry to progress the introduction of the National Horse Traceability System,’ he said.

‘Having seen the impact of diseases such as equine influenza and Hendra on the horse industry, I understand the important role that traceability plays in the containment of endemic and exotic diseases.

‘Thanks go to the National Horse Traceability Working Group, under the exemplary leadership of Chair Stuart McLean, for developing a strong foundation that the taskforce will work from.'

The National Horse Traceability Implementation Taskforce is being supported by Agriculture Victoria as its secretariat. The first meeting of the taskforce will take place later this month.

For more information visit the Agriculture Victoria website.

Anthrax outbreak in the Goulburn Valley has concluded

Dr Jeff Cave, Agriculture Victoria Senior Veterinary Officer

There was recently a small outbreak of anthrax on 2 properties east of Shepparton. You may be asking, ‘what made this a small outbreak rather than a large one?’

The first reason was the property owner realised something unusual had happened in the form of the sudden death of one of their cattle and promptly called their veterinarian. 

The veterinarian was quick to realise anthrax was a possibility and had access to a pen side test known as an immunochromatographic test (ICT) which gave a rapid preliminary diagnosis.

From there the carcass was secured and the remainder of the herd was moved to another paddock to reduce their risk of contracting anthrax. The herd was also vaccinated with an anthrax vaccine as quickly as possible.

The anthrax bacterium has the feature of being hardy and resistant to most disinfectants. The only way of destroying the bacterium in a carcass is to incinerate it, which was carried out by Agriculture Victoria using a specialised incinerator. Decontamination of the death site was carried out using the chemical glutaraldehyde. 

A small number of additional deaths occurred on the same property before the cattle had developed immunity through the vaccination and these deaths were dealt with in the same way. 

A death due to anthrax also occurred on a neighbouring property which necessitated the need to vaccinate susceptible livestock on other neighbouring properties and properties that were seen to be at risk. 

So where did it come from? Several properties in the affected area have a history of anthrax dating back to the 1960s and 1980s. The anthrax bacterium can lie dormant in the soil for decades until environmental conditions are favourable for it to become infective and create a new outbreak. 

Anthrax was introduced to Australia in the 1800s in infective meat and bone meal from India. 

The countryside was seeded with anthrax through deaths that occurred due to anthrax along travelling stock routes. 

In those days rapid response through, pen side testing, vaccination, disposal through incineration, disinfection, and isolation were not an option and anthrax outbreaks became mass mortality events. 

This helps answer the question of what made this a small outbreak rather than a large one.

Applications open for Livestock Advisory Committees
A group of sheep. The text reads: applications open for Livestock Advisory Committees

Are you a skilled sheep, goat or cattle industry professional looking to grow your networks?

The Sheep and Goat and Cattle Compensation Advisory Committees are recruiting!

We’re looking for applicants with knowledge across a range of expertise including:

  • the sheep, goat or cattle allied industries, including across the supply chain
  • biosecurity or market access
  • quality assurance and food safety
  • finance, legal practice or business management
  • agricultural, animal or veterinary science
  • public policy.

For more details and to apply visit the Ag Vic website.

Episode 2: Farm with a Difference with Jill Noble
A woman smiling at the camera, there are sheep behind her in a pen. The text reads: agvic talk listen now

Terms like Property Identification Code and National Livestock Identification System are important when it comes to livestock biosecurity.

Jill Noble from Hallston Valley Farm has this front of mind every single day as she farms with a difference.

Jill’s business not only holds and sells sheep, but also provides farm experiences for parties, disability providers, and tiny home cabins for romantic getaways.

Listen to Biosecurity Basics via the AgVic website. 

Calf breeding survey
A calf

This survey about the Australian genetic evaluation system will help Data Gene plan for the delivery of breeding values (ABVs) that improve calf health. Calf ABVs are still in the research stage but early results suggest that it is possible and practical to breed for healthier calves.

This survey asks questions about your operation, your breeding trait priorities and how you would like calf breeding values to be presented. It will take 10-15 minutes to complete.

Complete the survey here.

The cherry traceability journey!

Watch our creative animation video and join us on the journey of our Cherries Traceability Pilot.

Witness the route of your cherries from the farm, via the supply chain, to your shopping cart. It's an eye-opening look at how our Cherries Traceability Pilot has made Australian cherries traceable.

With RFID systems in Year 1, we automated cherry tracking from orchard to packing shed, ensuring efficiency and accuracy at every step.

In Year 2, we introduced the GS1 Digital Link enabled QR code revolution, allowing you to scan, trace, and experience the full story of your cherries, all the way from farm to consumer.

We’ve supported all of this with global GS1 standards, to help harmonise supply chains digitally all around the world.

But that's not all! We've added an exciting cherry-picking game so the fun doesn't stop at the checkout.

Your cherries, your story, your experience – all thanks to the Cherries Traceability Pilot.

Watch the video here.

Episode 8: Navigating flooded vineyards with Matt Partridge
Episode 8: Navigating flooded vineyards with Matt Partridge

Being hit with 6 floods in a single season is the unimaginable reality De Bortoli Wines faced in 2022. 

Matthew Partridge, Operations Manager, talks about turning this adversity into an opportunity. 

The business implemented new strategies to adapt to the changing climate whilst ensuring the wellbeing of its most important asset, their staff.

Listen via the AgVic website.

WorkSafe - telehandler licence survey

Use a non-slewing telehandler with capacity over 3 tonnes? There's a new licence and tailored training coming.

Complete the survey and help work out training locations. Your responses will be kept confidential.


Recording: Victoria's seasonal climate outlook and soil moisture update for autumn

In this webinar recording, Seasonal Risk Agronomist Dale Grey provides an update on Victoria's climate outlook for autumn. Dale focuses on the current seasonal climate outlook and climate driver activity.

Dale Boyd provides a seasonal update of the cropping and soil moisture conditions as measured by the Agriculture Victoria moisture probe network. This includes a review of the distribution of summer rain and how the season is tracking compared to last year and other years in the monitoring period of the probes.

View the recording here.

Password: Climate

This webinar was originally presented on Wednesday 17 April 2024.

All climate webinar recordings can be found on our website.


Queensland fruit fly home gardener survey
A child and an older lady watering a garden. The text reads: Queensland fruit fly home gardener survey. Tell us how you manage QFF in your garden.

Has the word got out to home gardeners in your region about Queensland Fruit Fly and its management?

Please take Agriculture Victoria’s short 5 minute online survey to help them to understand the answer to that question.

The survey is being conducted throughout the three key horticultural regions of Goulburn Murray, Greater Sunraysia and the Yarra Valley.

All responses are anonymous and the feedback collected will help create resources to further support home gardeners to manage Queensland fruit fly.

The survey is open until 30 June 2024.

To participate please follow the link.

Advance your career with a Farming and Agriculture Sector women’s leadership scholarship

Partial scholarships of $1,000 - $5,000 are available to help women in select industries participate in our world-class leadership courses.

Courses are available for women at all levels.

Apply by Friday 26 April 2024.

Enquire at Farming and Agriculture - Women & Leadership Australia or call 1300 938 571.

Emerging leader in Victorian agriculture award - nominations now open

The Melbourne Royal Emerging Leader in Victorian Agriculture Award recognises an individual who has made or is making a significant contribution to their respective field over a 12-month period.

Nominations for the 2024 Melbourne Royal Emerging Leaders in Victoria Award are now open!

Download the nomination form here and send the application to

Applications close Thursday 1 August.

The recipient will work, volunteer or significantly contribute within the agricultural industry, and must demonstrate how they will use prize money to further their development.

This award is available to those within Victoria between the ages of 18 and 35.

AgTech Innovators season 2, episode 6: From golf carts to cattle with Darren Wolchyn
AgTech Innovators podcast. From golf carts to cattle with Darren Wolchyn

Using a solar-powered GPS fleet management system is a pretty novel way to keep track of cattle.  

Hear from Darren Wolchyn, CEO of Smart Paddock, as he describes how this AgTech start-up raised funds and sought investment to support this innovation.

Listen online via the AgVic website.

Fresh insights on food safety: A research survey of fresh produce stakeholders in Australia and New Zealand

The Fresh Produce Safety Centre (FPSC) - ANZ invites you to participate in a research survey aimed at improving food safety standards within the Australian and New Zealand Fresh Produce Industry. 

Your participation will help to better understand industry needs, gather insights, and identify opportunities for outreach, support and research. 

By sharing your experiences and perspectives, you can help in tailoring food safety engagement strategies to meet the specific needs of growers, food safety managers, supply chain stakeholders, researchers, and experts. 

Together, we can strengthen collaboration, elevate industry standards, and ensure the safety and quality of fresh produce for consumers. 

The research survey includes 25 questions and will take approximately 15 minutes to complete. Complete it here.

Victorian Landcare Grant applications closing soon!

Landcare and other environmental volunteer groups and networks can apply for:

  • $20k grants for projects that help protect and restore the natural environment
  • $500 support grants to assist with administrative and operational expenses of groups and networks.

Landcare recommends all eligible groups submit an application for the $500 Support Grant. These grants can be used to assist with costs such as insurance, incorporation and operational needs, meetings and events or newsletters, websites and other communication.

Applications close: 5 pm Tuesday, 30 April.

Your application can made through your regional Catchment Management Authority. For more information visit here.

Fox and wild dog bounty
A fox. The text reads: fox and wild dog bounty resumes. Victoria's bounty collections will resume on 4 March 2024.

Victoria’s bounty collections resumed on 4 March 2024.

Please continue to check our website for the latest information, collection centres and dates.

Click here.

For any assistance, please speak to our bounty collection staff on collection days or call our customer service centre on 136 186.

Free financial counselling with RFCS
A person standing in a paddock looking at the sunset. The text reads free financial counselling with the Rural Financial Counselling Service. 1300 771 741.

Have you been impacted by recent floods, storms, 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 visit the Rural Financial Counselling Service website or call 1300 771 741.

In case you missed it
Image of a sunset with the text 'in case you missed it'

Supporting biosecurity in Timor-Leste and Victoria

Five Agriculture Victoria staff have returned from Timor-Leste, where they gained valuable experience in managing and preparing for emergency animal diseases as part of the Victorian Government’s animal health partnership with the neighbouring country.

Read the full media release here.

Interstate grain and hay must pass Vic biosecurity laws

Livestock producers are reminded they must adhere to biosecurity laws when importing grain and fodder from interstate.

Read the full media release here.

EOI for on-farm demonstration opportunity – now open

Is there a technology, innovation or research finding that your producer group is keen to test on-farm?

Agriculture Victoria, in partnership with Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), is conducting a new producer demonstration program with the opportunity to establish five new on-farm demonstration projects.

Expressions of interest close on Monday 13 May 2024.

Read the full media release here.

What's on
Image of a group of people at an event in a green paddock listening to a presenter with the text 'what's on: online and on-farm events'

Details about Agriculture Victoria events can be found in one spot on our website. Log on to the Events page to keep in touch with upcoming events.

Managing your career and employing labour - Dr Nollaig Heffernan

When: Tuesday 30 April - 10:30 am to 2 pm 

Where: Morwell Bowling Club, 52 Hazelwood Road, Morwell. 

Register here.

Join GippsDairy for an interactive session with Dr Nollaig Heffernan.

Dr Heffernan, a well-known Independent Management Consultant from Ireland, specialises in leadership and organisational psychology.

Dr Heffernan's dual discipline background has been invaluable in helping companies and organisations to improve their performance through both their processes and their people.

In this session, attendees will cover a combination of what it means to employ staff and staff retention, as well as information on how you can manage your career.

Farm environmental tracker workshop

GippsDairy, in partnership with Saputo, is running a series of workshops to deliver the Farm Environmental Tracker tool.

This program assists farmers to understand, benchmark and action improvement on their farms environmental performance by covering a range of topics from animals to energy to effluent and biodiversity.

When: Thursday 2 May, 10 am - 2 pm

Where: Agriculture Victoria, 1301 Hazeldean Road, Ellinbank.

Register here.

Agroforestry, harvesting and marketing your product field day

The Bass Coast Landcare Network, supported by VicForests and Gippsland Agroforestry Network, are hosting a field day on agroforestry, harvesting and marketing your product.

The field day will visit the Glen Alvie property of Jon and Margaret Hauser who have been growing and managing timber plantations of their property for 20 years.

Expert consultant, Clinton Tepper from Just Add Trees, will also be joining to talk about the original design methodology and what changes would be made at the planning stage if it was done today.

Biosecurity measures will be in place on the day. Please ensure your vehicles and footwear are clean prior to the event.

When: Friday 3 May. 10 am for a 10:30 am start - concluding at 2 pm.

Where: Property of Jon and Margeret Hauser. Address details provided upon registration. 

Morning tea and a light lunch provided.

For further information and to register for this event please email

Please RSVP by Friday 26 April.

Farm Business Resilience Program workshops - East Gippsland and Bass Coast

Register now for our free Farm Business Resilience Program workshops.

These sessions, created in partnership with ION Group, are designed to better prepare farmers for and to manage risk, adapt to change, and strengthen their farm businesses.

Topics include:

  • Business planning and risk management
  • Farm finances and profitable decision making 
  • Managing people on farm, farm safety and wellbeing
  • Climate adaptation and natural resource improvement including soil, water, crops and pastures.
Cows in a paddock. The text reads: farm business resilience workshop, Bass Coast.

As part of the program, participants will have access to a one-on-one with a professional to develop their farm business plan.

  • Monday 6 to Wednesday 8 May - block one 
  • Monday 20 to Wednesday 22 May - block two

Register for the Bass Coast sessions here.

Farm Business Resilience Workshop, East Gippsland

As part of the program, participants will have access to a one-on-one with a professional to develop their farm business plan.

  • Monday 27 to Wednesday 29 May - block one
  • Monday 17 to Wednesday 19 June - block two 

Register for the East Gippsland sessions here. 

Register now for the Dairy Innovation Open Day

Discover the future of farming at the Dairy Innovation Open Day, hosted at Agriculture Victoria's Ellinbank SmartFarm on Thursday 9 May from 8:30 am to 3 pm.

This event is hosted by Agriculture Victoria, Dairy Australia, and the Gardiner Foundation as part of the $42.5 million DairyFeedbase program.

Immerse yourself in the latest state-of-the-art research focused on farmers, and learn about animal feeding and nutrition, soil and pasture management, and on-farm climate adaptation from the experts themselves.

Not only will you gain invaluable knowledge, but you'll also have the opportunity to connect with other farmers, industry professionals, and suppliers.

This is a free event, but registrations are essential. Visit the Dairy Australia website to register now.

When: Thursday 9 May, 8:30 am - 3 pm 

Where: Agriculture Victoria, 1301 Hazeldean Road, Ellinbank.

Register here.

Rabobank Financial Skills Workshops

These interactive workshops will provide practical, hands-on advice for understanding financial statements and banking requirements and explore topics such as taxation versus management accounting, essential business management ratios and understanding key components of a business’s financial profile. 


  • Thursday 16 May – 8:30 am – 3:30 pm – Warragul
  • Friday 17 May – 8:30 am – 3:30 pm – Leongatha

Register your place here.
You do not need to be a Rabobank client to attend.

Morning tea and lunch provided.

Best Wool/Best Lamb and BetterBeef industry conference and dinner
Save the date information for the Best Wool/Best Lamb and BetterBeef conference and dinner

Save the date!

The Best Wool/Best Lamb and BetterBeef conference will be held over 2 days, 19 and 20 June in Ballarat. 

Stay up to date via our events page.

Southern Australia Livestock Research Council Livestock Conference
Sheep in a paddock. The text reads: save the date: livestock 2024 conference.

Livestock 2024 is the third biennial conference delivered by SALRC. This year's theme is environmental challenges and opportunities for Australian livestock industries.

Location: Atura Hotel, Albury NSW. 

Date: Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22 August.

Tickets on sale soon. 

Click here to register for conference updates.

Subscribe to Gippsland Ag News

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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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