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Thursday, 1 December 2022
In this edition:
Flood information
Flood information banner image

We are urging flood-affected farmers to report their losses and damages by calling 1800 226 226. 

For some practical tips after a flood, go to

Remember, if you have urgent animal welfare needs call the VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226.

Grants for flood-affected farmers
Map of eligible Local Gov areas image

A support package is available for flood-affected farmers:

  • Primary Producer Recovery Grants: Up to $75,000 grants to cover the cost of recovery and get businesses up and running again. Note: This replaces the $10,000 Primary Producer Flood Clean–Up, Relief Grants announced on 19 October. Producers that have received a Primary Producer Flood Clean-Up Relief Grant of $10,000 can now apply for up to a further $65,000 under the Primary Producer Recovery Grant, bringing the total to $75,000.
  • Rural Landholder Grants: Up to $25,000 grants to cover the costs of disaster impacts for small-scale producers.
  • Primary Producer Concessional Loans: Up to $250,000 to restore or replace damaged equipment and infrastructure, or to cover the short-term business expenses.
  • Primary Producer Transport Subsidies: Up to $15,000 to support the transport of emergency fodder or stock drinking water, and the movement of livestock.

To apply for support or for more information, visit the Rural Finance website.

Increased risk of Japanese encephalitis (JE)
Japanese encephalitis banner warning image

Flooding and heavy rainfall have increased the risk of a range of mosquito-borne diseases in Victoria, including Japanese encephalitis (JE).

JE can cause illness in susceptible animal species including horses and pigs.

In pigs, the most common clinical signs are mummified and stillborn or weak piglets while horses usually show no signs of illness but can present with fever, jaundice, lethargy, neurological signs and anorexia.

For mosquito control advice visit the Farm Biosecurity website.

And for information about protecting yourself from JE, please follow the Victorian Department of Health or visit Better Health.

Has your horticultural property been impacted by flood waters?
Image of strawberries with text on the left-hand side that reads Flood safety and advice. to report flood loss and damage or for urgent animal welfare needs phone 1800 226 226

Please call 1800 226 226 to report flood loss and damage or for urgent animal welfare needs.

For more information visit the Agriculture Victoria website.

Further information is available on the Horticultural Industry Network website ‘Recovering from Extreme Events’.

Additional resources for flood-impacted growers are available at the Food Authority Fresh Produce Safety Centre.

Taking care of yourself
Farmer health banner image

Have you been taking care of yourself?

During an emergency, people tend to exist in a survival state to get through the incident, using up considerable emotional reserves. 

If you’ve been working hard for long periods, missing meals and sleep, take some time to take care of yourself.

Recognise the signs of stress and reach out for support if you need it.

For a comprehensive list of health support agencies, click here

Practical tips for flood-affected farmers
Practical tips for farmers - image of hay rolls submerged in flooded paddock

Go to our website for a range of practical flood recovery information for farmers, and helpful information on what to do immediately after a flood.

Find out more at

Rural Financial Counselling Service
RFCS banner image

The Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) has an experienced team ready to assist primary producers and small rural businesses in recovery planning.

RFCS provides free financial counselling to farmers and small related businesses who are in, or at risk of, financial hardship.

They can also assist with filling in forms and grant applications.

For more information visit RFCS website

Foot-and-mouth information
Free biosecurity learning modules for farmers
eLearning banner image

Farmers across Victoria will benefit from a series of free online learning modules, helping them protect their animals from diseases and biosecurity threats.

Available through Agriculture Victoria’s website, the three learning modules have been released: foot and mouth disease awareness, lumpy skin disease awareness and Come clean, stay clean, go clean – when visiting farms.

Each module should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.

For further information about the online learning modules CLICK HERE.

Farm biosecurity plans
Farm biosecurity plan banner tile

Are you currently working on or thinking about your on-farm biosecurity plan?

Here are the steps you need to consider:

  • Find a farm biosecurity template that works for you – there are options on our website
  • Adapt to your individual situation and your specific biosecurity risks
  • Add a BMP with mandatory content to your farm biosecurity plan
  • File it in a safe place and share with your staff.

Farmers should be aware that new laws have been introduced in Victoria enabling livestock producers to protect their property from unlawful trespassers.

To take advantage of these protections, producers must have compliant biosecurity signage and a BMP with mandatory information.

For more information about BMPs, visit

To find a farm biosecurity template that works for your farm, click here

Call for producer help – Anthrax ICT kit project for sheep

Dr Jeff Cave, Senior Veterinary Officer

Anthrax has been the cause of sudden deaths in livestock at some point in time in most districts in Victoria.

Deaths of livestock due to Anthrax mostly occur in the warmer months although history has shown that they can occur at any time of year.

Therefore, Anthrax should be at least considered whenever there is any sudden death of livestock, particularly if blood is seen around the animal’s nose, mouth, and anus.

In any flock of sheep, the sudden deaths of sheep are not unusual, particularly during periods of abundant pasture growth.

Generally, those deaths are due to more common diseases such as clostridial diseases, which can be readily prevented through vaccination, although other causes, including Anthrax, should be considered.

Agriculture Victoria is calling on the support of private veterinarians and sheep producers to supply samples from cases of sudden death in sheep as part of the anthrax immunochromatographic test (ICT) validation project.

The anthrax ICT is a well-established and reliable tool for field diagnosis of anthrax in cases of sudden death in cattle. 

This important project, funded by the Victorian sheep and goat industries, will allow the validation of the use of ICT kits in sheep to be completed. This will further support their use in routine field (pen-side) investigation of anthrax in cases of sudden death in sheep, as is currently the situation for cattle.

Private veterinarians are being provided with a financial incentive to conduct this work.

Furthermore, Agriculture Victoria’s animal health and welfare staff may approve further financial support for the disease investigation, including a producer subsidy through the Significant Disease Investigation Program.

Samples from up to 10 sheep that have experienced sudden death can be submitted. Only carcasses that are less than 48 hours old can be sampled. A sampling of multiple carcasses per investigation is strongly encouraged.

Please contact your local Agriculture Victoria District Veterinary Officer or Animal Health Officer if you have any questions about the ICT validation project in sheep or the Significant Disease Investigation Program.

Blue-green algae in farm water supplies
Blue green algae tile image

The recent flooding event combined with warmer weather conditions has produced favourable conditions for blue-green algae to thrive in farm water supplies and standing flood water.

Senior Veterinary Officer Dianne Phillips said livestock owners need to remain alert – ingestion of blue-green algae can result in the poisoning of livestock.

“As there is no specific treatment for blue-green algae poisoning, producers should check standing bodies of water and farm water supplies daily for blooms, as this remains the most effective way of preventing stock deaths.

“Blue-green algal blooms typically appear as surface scum that looks like a suspension of green paint, often with an earthy smell. However, the colour may range from pale green to dark brown,” Dr Phillips said.

Deaths can occur when stock drink toxins produced by the blue-green algae, often when it is concentrated on the down-wind side of a water supply and has formed a dense, surface scum.

Animals that have consumed blue-green algal toxin may appear ill very rapidly, develop a staggering gait, collapse, begin to convulse and die – typically within 24 hours – depending on the toxicity of the bloom and the concentration of the toxin.

Those that don’t die immediately, often suffer from severe liver damage. This may lead to the development of jaundice (the yellows) or photosensitisation over the next few days. Livestock that recover from these ailments often suffer from chronic ill-thrift.

If a suspicious bloom is noticed, the water supply should be isolated as quickly as possible, and a safe alternate water supply provided.

“Where possible producers should identify an alternative water supply, prior to their primary source of livestock drinking water being affected by a bloom. There may not be time to identify an alternative water source once the primary water supply is affected,” Dr Phillips said.

“We recommend laboratory testing of the water supply for the presence of blue-green algae and a post-mortem or examination of dead or sick animals by a veterinarian.”

Contaminated water should not be used to irrigate vegetables and fruit or come in contact with plants being grown for food, particularly fruit and vegetables that are mostly eaten raw such as apples, grapes, tomatoes, strawberries, cabbages and other salad greens.

Dr Phillips said dogs are also prone to poisoning as they can swim in farm water supplies and should be kept away from suspect water sources.

Further information on blue-green contamination in your livestock water supply is available on our website at Blue-green algae.

An information note is also available on the Agriculture Victoria website at Managing contaminated livestock water, which steps through how to manage flood contaminated stock water supplies.

Chemical safety after floods
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Landholders in flood affected areas may face a range of issues related to the storage and use of chemicals:

  • Weed, pest and fungicide spraying may increase after floods. There may also be increased need for chemicals used on livestock, for diseases such as flystrike. Follow the label and ensure you don’t use chemicals past their expiry date.
  • Floodwaters may result in different pests or diseases to those you usually manage. To minimise risks please only use chemicals according to the label instructions.
  • Comply with any “DO NOT” statements, including those relating to spraying near waterways or on saturated ground.
  • Be cautious when using spraying equipment on flood affected areas as it may be less stable than normal.
  • As large areas are saturated there may be an increased need for aerial spraying.
  • If chemicals are contaminated or damaged due to flood waters dispose of them appropriately e.g. via subsidised programs like ChemClear or call 1800 008 182.

For more information on dealing with floods visit

Recent webinar recordings

Plus, join Carmen Quade's online self-paced learning modules where you can increase your skills in Microsoft Excel in your own time for the subsidised rate of $50. *Codes valid to the first 30 participants of each module. Register your interest online.

2023 Victorian and Tasmanian Crop Sowing Guide
2023 Victorian and Tasmanian Crop Sowing Guide

The 2023 Victorian and Tasmanian Crop Sowing Guide is now available for download from GRDC's website to help growers decide the best crop variety for their situation.

Every year, in conjunction with Agriculture Victoria, GRDC develops this guide providing information on current varieties of the major winter cereal and pulse crops for Victorian growers.

The guide is available for download HERE.

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 – Smarter electricity management: Doing more with less
Farmer on-farm image

Do you want to find more practical ways to reduce your electricity costs?  We are hosting an online forum to explore practical measures for increasing energy productivity and reducing your electricity bill.

When: Wednesday 14 December, 11.30 am.

Smarter electricity management – see how your smart meter data can help you find for your farm (and home):

  • cheaper electricity deals
  • awareness of your electricity tariff to save money
  • how best to use solar and batteries
  • energy saving opportunities.

Join our webinar to find out all this and more money saving ideas.

Energy expert David Coote will be presenting on energy saving opportunities and best use of solar and batteries and much more.

Please register here or contact Kelly Wickham for information on 0456 772 641 or

Upcoming Sheep Connect webinar

Register for the following free webinar on the Sheep Connect website.

Webinar: Are your bugs bogging you down?

When: Thursday 8 December
Where: Online via GoTo
Time: 1 – 2 pm

Cups on Cups off at Kiewa

Cups on Cups offcovers the whole of the milking process including mastitis management and the roles of people in the dairy.

The course is suitable for anyone on a dairy farm who milks cows – from farm owners, managers and sharefarmers – to family members and farm employees.

Day 1
Wednesday 7 December
10 am – 2 pm
Memorial Park Kiewa
26 Kiewa E Road

Day 2
Thursday 8 December
10 am – 2 pm
Memorial Park Kiewa
26 Kiewa E Road

Register here

Traceability Hub Launch
traceability hub launch image

Are you an agribusiness looking to build or improve your supply chain?

Join us for the online launch of the Agriculture Victoria Traceability Information Hub.

Where: Online
When: Friday 16 December
Time: 10 – 11 am.

The Hub is a new resource for industry to access traceability information.

It provides a central, online place to inform, educate and connect businesses along the supply chain.

Register NOW to attend.

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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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