Forward this email | View in web browser
Northern Ag News Banner
Thursday 6 June 2024

In this edition

Avian influenza – stay informed
AI situation banner image

Movement controls are in place to prevent the spread of avian influenza in the Golden Plains and Corangamite shires.

The controls restrict the movement of birds, poultry products, poultry feed and equipment on or off properties in designated areas.

This includes:

  • Restricted Area that covers the impacted Meredith and Lethbridge properties and a broader Control Area buffer zone, which is bound by Bacchus Marsh Road in the east and the Colac–Ballarat Road on the western boundary is in place.
  • Restricted Area covering a 5 km radius around the Terang farm with a broader Control Area buffer zone covering a 15 km radius
  • housing requirement for all birds within these areas.

Stay up to date HERE

Supplementary feeding and the risks of grain poisoning
Feeding out image

Dr Jeff Cave, Agriculture Victoria Senior Veterinary Officer

Many producers will start to consider supplementary feeding their livestock with grain or pellets.

Such feeding will bring many benefits but does also carry the risk of grain poisoning.

Grain poisoning occurs when large amounts of starch are eaten and rapidly ferments in the rumen or first stomach.

This leads to the excessive production of lactic acid, which is absorbed into the animal’s body.

Hence the condition’s other name, lactic acidosis.

Grain poisoning may occur when:

  • grain or pellets are introduced too quickly
  • there’s a sudden increase in the amount of grain or pellets being fed
  • there’s a change in type of grain or pellets being fed
  • there’s insufficient feeding space leading to the dominant animals overeating
  • producers not being aware the same precautions need to be followed when feeding pellets
  • accidental overeating due to storage areas not being sealed.

The clinical signs of grain poisoning usually become apparent within 24 to 36 hours after the initial access to grain or pellets.

In mild cases, cattle and sheep may show a lack of appetite and appear quieter than usual.

In more severe cases, cattle and sheep may show weakness, lameness, abdominal pain, and diarrhoea ranging from porridge to water consistency, depending upon the severity of the condition, leading to dehydration. Grain poisoning can be fatal to livestock.

Reducing the animal’s access to grain or pellets and increasing the availability of roughage can treat mild cases.

More severe cases may need to be drenched with sodium bicarbonate to neutralise the lactic acid.

Severely affected animals are unlikely to respond well to treatment.

Following treatment, affected animals may develop hoof problems and lameness due to hoof damage caused by grain poisoning.

Like in so many conditions, the best form of treatment is prevention. Key to prevention is to gradually increase the proportion of grain or pellets at a rate which the animal’s body can acclimatise.

Feeding guidelines are readily available in drought feeding guides for sheep and cattle. Drought feeding guides are freely available from Agriculture Victoria, visit our website

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

'Late break' change to Ballarat sheep and beef event

Agriculture Victoria and its conference partners have adjusted the program for the Ballarat-based BestWool/BestLamb and BetterBeef conferences on 19-20 June in response to seasonal challenges farmers are now facing.

Agriculture Victoria technical specialist Lyndon Kubeil said staff and consultants will be available throughout the conferences to assist farmers with feed budgeting.

‘We are keen to help farmers manage this drier season by supporting them to calculate feed requirements of their various classes of stock and work out how to forward plan a feeding program,’ Mr Kubeil said.

‘This is a great opportunity to work through a customised feed budget for your farm.

‘Bring along your livestock information and feed on hand inventory to discuss with experts from 8:30 am on Wednesday before the conference starts, and throughout both days.’

The BestWool/BestLamb conference will also feature a panel session led by Dr Jason Trompf, founder of the ‘Lambs Alive’ program.

Joining Jason on the panel will be:

  • Dr Jane Gaussen, The Livestock Vet, discussing sheep health concerns for pregnant and lambing ewes such as hypocalcaemia and pregnancy toxaemia
  • Tim Leeming from Paradoo Prime presenting strategies for feeding lambing ewes, wet/ drying ewes at lamb marking and early weaning
  • Rob Inglis from Elders talking about the pros and cons of feeding maize to livestock.

Agriculture Victoria BetterBeef Leader Darren Hickey said renowned veterinarian Dr Jillian Kelly’s presentation will offer producers a better understanding of rumen function, and how to ensure stock achieve maintenance and growth targets.

‘This event presents a great opportunity to network with other farmers and industry experts and be across topical information relevant to producer needs,’ Mr Hickey said.

Early bird ticket discounts have been extended on TryBooking to Friday 7 June.

See the Agriculture Victoria website events page for details on the conferences and to download the program.

Investing in farm safety and diversity in agriculture

The Victorian Government is supporting key agriculture industry bodies to improve farm safety and support cultural safety and diversity for workers across the sector.

Minister for Agriculture Ros Spence recently announced 3 grants totalling $1.25 million have been provided to the Victorian Farmers Federation, Gardiner Foundation, and Fruit Growers Victoria.

The funding will help extend existing safety programs and contribute to new initiatives that will support cultural diversity in the agricultural workforce.

The Victorian Farmers Federation will receive $600,000 to support the continued delivery of its Making Our Farms Safer program which aims to deliver free farm safety tools and services that are accessible to all Victorian farmers.

This includes the continuation of in-person farm safety advisory services and the development of a farmer mental health handbook.

The Gardiner Foundation will receive $610,000 to increase the engagement of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities in agricultural regions.

Gardiner Foundation will match this investment, with $1.22 million going towards developing a regionally-specific approach to reaching CALD communities that can be replicated across the industry.

The project will focus on the Goulburn Valley and Gippsland regions, reflecting the labour demand in the dairy and horticulture sectors in these areas.

Fruit Growers Victoria will receive $49,402 to deliver farm safety videos relating to cool stores and working from heights in multiple languages targeting CALD workers, and a mental health webinar for fruit growers in the Goulburn Valley.

The Farming Safe and Well Program is part of the government’s Backing Victoria’s World Class Producers to Grow commitment in the 2023-24 Victorian Budget.

This investment delivers on the government’s commitment to make the Victorian agriculture sector safer and to attract and retain new cohorts into the industry.

For more information about how the government supports farm safety visit

The latest Fast Break newsletter
The Fast Break banner image

The latest The Fast Break newsletter is now available.

This newsletter details oceanic and atmospheric climate driver activity over the last month and summarises three-month model predictions for the Pacific and Indian oceans, rainfall and temperature for Victoria.

To subscribe or to view the latest issue click here

Fox and wild dog bounty

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.

Man caught with illegally shot Brown Quail
GMA image

A man from Williamstown in Victoria recently admitted in the Echuca Magistrates Court to illegally shooting a Brown Quail at Gaynors Swamp State Game Reserve near Stanhope.

The man was ordered to pay a total of $300 in court fines and was placed on a diversion program with conditions of good behaviour.

The Game Management Authority’s (GMA) Director of Compliance and Intelligence, Zac Powell, said GMA officers approached the man during a routine patrol of the area.

'GMA authorised officers inspected the man’s bag and found he was in illegal possession of a Brown Quail (non-gamebird) and did not have a Game Licence endorsed to hunt gamebirds. Officers immediately seized the firearm and the Brown Quail,' Mr Powell said.

'People hunting Stubble Quail need to have a valid Game Licence endorsed for hunting gamebirds and positively identify their target. Remember, if you are not sure, don’t shoot.'

'Those who break the law face significant fines and penalties, including losing their Game or Firearms Licence and having equipment confiscated. In some cases, offenders may face jail

'The GMA continues to patrol both private and public land across Victoria to enforce game hunting laws. If hunting on private property, hunters must ensure they have the owner’s or manager’s permission.'

Hunters and the community are urged to report illegal hunting to the GMA through its website at or by calling 136 186. If an urgent response is required, call 000.

The GMA assesses all reports of illegal behaviour and works closely with its partner agencies, to conduct enforcement and compliance operations across Victoria.

Workshops to support irrigators and designers
Irrigation system image

Agriculture Victoria is encouraging irrigation farmers to register for two upcoming irrigation workshops at Kerang and Numurkah.

These workshops are specifically for farmers involved with designing and installing new Centre Pivot or Lateral Move (CPLM) systems or aiming to optimise the performance and management of an existing system.

Agriculture Victoria Irrigation Extension Officer Nick O'Halloran said the workshops would cover design considerations to improve efficiency, financial decisions for purchasing and operating a CPLM, critical performance indicators, and much more.

‘These free workshops offer invaluable insights and practical strategies and will be facilitated by Peter Smith from Sapphire Irrigation Consulting,’ Mr O'Halloran said.

'Peter has a sound background in irrigation systems and management and delivers training courses nationally. He is strongly committed to building skills for a resilient irrigation sector.'

Location and session times are as follows:

  • Kerang: Tuesday, 25 June and Wednesday 26, 8.30 am – 4 pm each day at Agriculture Victoria, 26 Wellington Street, Kerang. To register, please contact Adam Taylor on 0439 412 366 before Wednesday, 19 June.
  • Numurkah: Thursday, 27 June and Friday, 28, 8.30 am – 4 pm each day at the Shamrock Hotel Numurkah. To register, please contact Chris Pollard on 0473 085 873 before Wednesday, 19 June.

Please see the Agriculture Victoria events page for further information.

Expressions of interest are open for sheep and cattle producer groups
EOI extended banner image

Extended to Thursday 13 June.

Expressions of interest are open for sheep and cattle producer groups interested in running an on-farm demonstration.

Find out more HERE or contact

This program is in partnership with Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA).

Boosting winter growth

Most of the state experienced an extremely dry autumn. When rain does fall, soil temperature may become the main factor limiting pasture growth.

Agriculture Victoria Livestock Industry Development Officer, Nick Linden said soil temperature, like moisture and fertility, plays a major role in controlling plant growth.

‘Covers will stop fixing much nitrogen below about 9 degrees which can provide some opportunities for response to urea.

‘Research in Tasmania shows that perennial ryegrass continues to grow down to about 5 degrees, while annual ryegrass as low as 2 degrees.

‘Australian phalaris has been shown to also grow down to about 5 degrees and a ‘guesstimate’ for more winter active cultivars is between 1.5 and 2 degrees lower,’ he said.

Mr Linden said urea and gibberellic acid (GA) provide options to increase pasture growth when nitrogen and/or soil temperature is limiting, on the proviso that good soil fertility, perennial pasture species and soil moisture are present.

‘GA is made naturally in plant roots during spring and stimulates shoot and cell elongation, promoting plant growth. The application of manufactured GA in winter stimulates plant growth and increases winter feed availability.

‘GA should be applied when air temperature is between 5 and 15 degrees, when natural levels of GA are low.

‘Several producer groups have trialled using GA with or without urea and results have varied across sites and years, so it may be worth talking to a local group or agronomist for advice on what to expect.

‘The response to urea will be slower than when pasture growth is optimal (i.e.spring) but may be worthwhile,’ he said.


Options for improving winter pasture growth presented by Lisa Warn

EverGraze calculator for responses to urea and gibberellic acid

Agriculture Victoria gibberellic acid use in phalaris pastures

Adaptive farm courses for grain growing regions

Farmers in northern and western Victoria have the perfect opportunity to prepare their business for the future with several two-day farm business courses coming up with agronomist Dr Kate Burke.

Agriculture Victoria Regional Manager Grains Services Ms Felicity Pritchard said Dr Burke’s ‘Adaptive Skills for Your Farming Future’ courses are suitable for grain and mixed farmers including multi-generational family farms who wish to develop a climate adaptive plan to suit their business goals and seasonal challenges.

‘Dr Burke has extensive experience in crop agronomy and dryland agriculture and her practical farm finance workshops are well-received and popular,’ Ms Pritchard said.

‘Attendees from the courses we held in February told us they enjoyed the interactive and thought-provoking group discussions and left the course eager to review their business plans and implement new milestones.’

Course topics include:

  • Key profit drivers and high-level benchmarks
  • Income versus cost of production and impact of rotation
  • Calculating basic financial benchmarks
  • Understanding personal appetite for risk
  • Understanding production potential to assess variation in profit
  • Managing climate variability and farm financial performance
  • Scenario planning for the 2024 and 2025 seasons and beyond.

Course dates and locations:

  • 15-16 July, Colbinabbin Hotel, Colbinabbin
  • 18-19 July, Bridgewater Recreation Reserve, Bridgewater
  • 24-25 July, Brim Sports and Social Club, Brim
  • 20-21 August, Goroke Recreation Reserve, Goroke
  • 27-28 August, Joel Joel Hall, Joel Joel
  • 7-8 September, Skipton Golf and Bowls Club, Skipton.

To book and see full course details visit or TryBooking.

These events are delivered through the Farm Business Resilience Program jointly funded by the Australian Government Future Drought Fund and the Victorian Government Future Agriculture Skills Capacity Fund.

The Pinches – National Centre for Farmer Health
NCFH banner image

We're often able to carry one or two challenges at a time and carrying a heavy load for short periods may be okay.

But the compounding effect of constant and multiple stresses at once can wear us down and impact not only our livelihoods but also our mental wellbeing.

No matter what our situation, we all feel the impact of external stressors.

While these may be out of our control and frustrating, it’s important to acknowledge them, regain a sense of control through managing what we can and prepare for what lies ahead.

Alongside our social media series, a great resource to look at is our free and very popular Managing Stress on The Farm Booklet (MSOF).

MSOF talks through the common causes of stressors on farms and offers practical ways to deal with them.

We develop interventions to improve the health, wellbeing and safety of Australian farmers, farm workers, farming families and agriculture-dependent communities focusing on prevention and early identification of risk factors associated with farming populations.

Key focus areas include chronic disease prevention and management, mental health, and occupational health and safety.

It includes the Steering Straight plan - an action plan to help you work through challenges and plan activities that help you feel better with practical, useful steps.

You can find this and other support resources here

In case you missed it

Detection of avian influenza at fourth poultry property

Avian influenza virus has been confirmed at a fourth Victorian poultry farm.

Tests have confirmed the high pathogenicity H7N3 strain at this property which is located within the current Restricted Area in the Golden Plains Shire, where movement restrictions were already in place.


Subsoil help for dryland grain growers

Grain growers considering subsoil amelioration on their farms are encouraged to visit Agriculture Victoria’s new dedicated webpage and support guide to help navigate the decision-making process.

Agriculture Victoria Land Management Extension Officer Adam Buzza said subsoil amelioration is a land management practice where organic matter is typically injected into the subsoil using a specialised deep ripping machine.


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.

Energy webinar for horticulture irrigation industry

A lifetime of pumping costs can far out-weigh the capital costs of an irrigation system, so designing, managing and maintaining an efficient irrigation system is vital to minimising costs.

Explore the opportunities to improve energy efficiency and reduce pumping costs of your pressurised irrigation system with Ag Vic’s Nick O’Halloran and Jeremy Giddings.

This energy webinar will be held on Tuesday, 11 June, 12-1 pm.

Key areas of improvement include:

  • Hydraulic efficiency: hydraulic optimization, efficient design and irrigation technology
  • Pump efficiency: pump selection & variable frequency drives (VFDs)
  • System performance and management
  • Reduce the volume of water pumped: system uniformity and irrigation scheduling.

Register now HERE or for help or information contact Sarah Clack on 0417 316 345 or

For information on other webinars in this series or other energy events please visit here

Are you a young farmer in horticulture that’s looking to upskill?
Hort bootcamp image

Agriculture Victoria is running a horticulture business bootcamp focussed on the horticulture industry that aims to support the next generation of growers, business owners and managers to improve their skills and management practices.

The bootcamp will be delivered by Agriculture Victoria and Ion Group.

Two-day in-person workshop on 12-13 June from 9 am to 2:30 pm.

Location TBC pending interest as Yarra Valley or Werribee

Online session
21 June, 10-11 am


  • In-person day 1: Farm business performance and profitable decision making
  • In-person day 2: Risk, resilience and adapting to change
  • Online session: Natural resource management.

The bootcamp is free to all participants but places are limited.

A free one-on-one session with an Ion Group consultant is available to participants who register for both the in-person workshop and online session.

To secure your spot for this bootcamp, click here to register or contact: Tanya Dobrijevic on 0429 353 649 or at

Pyramid Hill Seasonal Outlook
Pyramid Hill seasonal outlook flyer image
Kerang and Numurkah Centre Pivot and Lateral Move workshops

Agriculture Victoria is running a two-day workshop on centre pivot and lateral move (CPLM) irrigation systems facilitated by Peter Smith, Sapphire Irrigation Consulting.

The workshop is targeted at farmers and service providers involved with the design and installation of CPLM systems or aiming to optimise the performance and management of an existing system.

Participation will be free of charge.

Participants will learn and understand:

  • the key design considerations for an efficient CPLM system with uniform application
  • the financial considerations associated with the purchase and operation of a CPLM
  • planning considerations when installing a CPLM
  • the key measures and indicators of CPLM system performance
  • technology options including variable application rate, end guns and sprinkler packs
  • irrigation scheduling and operation for improved agronomy
  • energy efficiency considerations.

Kerang workshop

Dates: Tuesday 25 June and Wednesday 26 June - 8:30 am to 4 pm
Location: Kerang Agriculture Victoria Office
Contact: Adam Taylor - 0439 412 366
RSVP: Wednesday 19 June.

Numurkah workshop

Dates: Thursday 27 June and Friday 28 - 8:30 am to 4 pm
Location: Shamrock Hotel Numurkah
Contact: Chris Pollard - 0473 085 873
RSVP: Wednesday 19 June.

GRDC Farm Business Update

18 June
9:30 am to 3:15 pm

40 Silverwoods Boulevard

19 June
9:30 am to 3:15 pm

All Seasons Resort
171 McIvor Highway


The GRDC Farm Business Update events drive innovation and adoption of improved farm business management practices across the grains industry.

Contact Jane Foster on (03) 5441 6176 or at to learn more.

Cost: $30

Yarrawonga: register here.

Bendigo: register here.

Bridgewater – Seasonal Outlook
Bridgewater flyer image
Natural Capital Forum at Bendigo
Forum banner image

‘Natural capital’ is the latest innovative thinking about our environment and how it relates to the economy, and the North Central Catchment Management Authority (CMA) wants to give local farmers and businesses an opportunity to benefit from it.

The forum will be held at Bendigo’s Capital Theatre on June 13, from 9 am to 5 pm.

Topics and speakers include:

  • ESG Insights: From Global Trends to On-Farm Practices - Katie McRobert, General Manager / Acting CEO, Australian Farm Institute
  • Farm-scale Natural Capital Accounting - Jim Radford, Associate Professor, Department of Environment and Genetics, School of Agriculture, Biomedicine and Environment, La Trobe University
  • Enhancing farm profitability, resilience and sustainability - Angela Hawdon, Strategic Engagements Manager, Farming for the Future
  • Understanding On-Farm Emissions - Alison Kelly, Farm Emissions Specialist, Agriculture Victoria
  • Farmers Insights - Hear from farmers who have engaged with natural capital and carbon markets.

The forum will help people understand what natural capital is, what it means for farm businesses, and weight up the opportunities and the risks.

For bookings and more information, go to North Central CMA Events page.

Tickets are $25 and are limited.

For more information and/or to register click here

Animal health planning workshop at Osbornes Flat
Animal health planning flyer image
BWBL and BetterBeef conferences
BWBL and BetterBeef conferences banner image

Early bird ticket discounts end tomorrow (Friday, 7 June) for the BestWool/BestLamb and BetterBeef conferences and dinner in Ballarat on 19-20 June.

To secure your discounted tickets click here

A one-day conference ticket is only $80 and a full package two-day conference and dinner ticket is $200.

Visit our events web page to download the program and learn more.

Barnawartha Stock handling workshop

Friday, 21 June, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm

Experience Stress-Free Stock Handling at Barnawartha!

Join us for a hands-on session led by the Stock Sense team and expert Stock Handler, Jack Briscoe.

Plus, Trucksafe Director Peter Callanan will talk on common issues around Fit to Load. Learn invaluable techniques to care for your cattle with minimal stress and maximum safety.

Topics Include:

  • Stockmanship: Understand livestock behaviour for reduced stress and improved handling.
  • Low-Stress Handling Demonstrations: Witness safe handling practices for enhanced yard safety.
  • Practical Sessions: Gain special techniques for drenching, vaccination, and ear tagging.
  • Biosecurity Insights: Explore vital biosecurity practices and the importance of quarantine.

Don’t miss this free opportunity to boost your stock handling skills and ensure healthier, happier livestock.

Admission is free with lunch provided so registration is essential.

To find out more, or to register, click HERE

For further inquiries, please contact Stock Sense on

Stock Sense calving webinar
Calving image

New to calving? Wanting to learn more? Maybe you just need a quick refresher

This free webinar is perfect for you.

Get ready for the calving season with a checklist covering everything you need to know.

From when to call a vet to prepping your calving box, we've got you covered.

Join Stock Sense and seasoned expert Rob Bananno, who brings over 30 years of farming and veterinary experience to the table.

Don't miss out on this invaluable session!

DATE: Wednesday 26 June

TIME: 6:30 - 7 pm


Wangaratta – Horticulture growers and apiarists – opportunity to sharpen your business skills
Cherries image

Register now – you are invited to join other horticulture growers and apiarists for a free short business course in July in Wangaratta. 

This free Farm Business Resilience course is designed to help you develop the knowledge and skills you need to improve your business and be better equipped to manage the impacts of drought and changing climate.

These sessions will not focus on individual business information e.g. finances, but build and strengthen your business productivity.

Course facilitator: Gavin Beever, Cumbre Consulting with specialists presenting on:

Planning for success, 9 July

  • Set plans and direction for your business
  • Establish a vision and set goals
  • Understand how to better identify & manage risk.

Business success, 10 July

  • Profitable decision making
  • Key business and finance tools.

Successful people, 11 July  

  • Effective people management
  • Safety
  • Succession planning.

Climate and biosecurity risk, 16 and 17 July

  • Climate risk and its impact on your business
  • Natural disaster preparedness
  • Apiary biosecurity.

Plan review, late July – August

  • Refine your vison and goals with group feedback
  • Further training opportunities and resources.

To register click here or for more information contact Andy Clark on 0436 804 656.  

Grasslands Society of Southern Australia – 54th Annual Conference
GSSA banner image for conference

The GSSA conference at Bendigo on 17-18 July will offer something for everyone.

The central theme will focus on ‘Evidence Based Decision Making’ and the topics have been built around what farmers need to know.
Delegates will be able to choose from two bus tours.

One to a property north of Bendigo integrating lucerne into a profitable livestock system and one to a higher rainfall perennial pasture property south of Bendigo.

Topics will include:

  • Carbon - An informed farmers perspective
  • Carbon neutral livestock production - is it possible?
  • Soil carbon and fertility
  • Measuring and knowing your soil carbon levels
  • Old clover identification and sub optimal clover nodulation
  • Paddock livestock weighing
  • What bugs you?
  • Use of drones in agriculture
  • Facial livestock recognition
  • Remote pasture measurement
  • Running lambs on improved varieties of perennial ryegrass vs more persistent Victorian ryegrass - animal responses above yield responses
  • N efficiency and endophytes in ryegrass pastures
  • Introduction to fertiliser calculator tool.

Click here for more information - 2024 GSSA Annual Conference

Livestock 2024 Conference – August, Albury NSW
2024 Livestock Conference banner image

The Southern Australia Livestock Research Council (SALRC) is excited to announce their third biennial Livestock Conference with the overarching theme of Environmental challenges and opportunities for Australian livestock industries.

Sessions will include keynote speakers and group workshop activities and cover the following:

  • improving land, air and water
  • solutions for human capacity
  • economic considerations and market impacts.

Click here for more information about the upcoming conference.

If you would like to register for conference updates you can join the mailing list 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. 


Email -