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Barwon South-West Ag news
Thursday 26 October 2023
In this edition:
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.

Be aware of hydatids

Dr Jeff Cave, Senior Veterinary Officer

You may have recently read that a living roundworm, suspected to have come from the faeces of a carpet python, was pulled from brain of a woman in New South Wales.

It was the first documented case of the parasite infecting a human.

Needless to say, she was extremely unlucky. However, there are other, more common parasites that can infect both animals and humans known as zoonotic parasites.

A zoonotic parasite of significant risk to rural communities in south-eastern Australia are hydatids. 

In the past, hydatids were a significant cause of illness in Australian rural communities.

This was largely due to the practice of feeding the offal of sheep to farm dogs, the absence of treatment of tapeworm in farm dogs, and the close physical connection between farmers and their dogs.

Abattoir surveillance data has shown that the risk of hydatids is still present, with one peer reviewed study showing that hydatid cysts were found in eight percent of cattle carcasses at a major abattoir in eastern Australia.

To understand how you may become infected with hydatids it is useful to understand the hydatid lifecycle, which has two stages.

The adult hydatid tapeworm lives in the intestine of dogs and dingos (and foxes to a lesser extent).

The adult tapeworm produces eggs that are passed in the dog or dingo’s droppings.

When sheep, kangaroos and cattle ingest the eggs in contaminated dog or dingo droppings they become infected.

The hydatids then develop into its immature stage as watery cysts in the soft tissues such as the liver and lungs of those animals.

When a dog or dingo ingests raw offal or dead stock that contains the immature cysts, they become infected completing the lifecycle.

Humans can become infected in the same way as a sheep, cow, or kangaroo if they are in close contact with infected dogs.

Children are at particular risk due to their close contact with dogs and their tendency to transfer eggs to their mouths.

When a person becomes infected, cysts may develop in the liver, lungs, or brain.

The consequences of this may be fatal. The only treatment in humans is by radical surgery to remove the cysts.

Hydatid disease can be prevented by following several important steps:

  • Worm dogs regularly with an all wormer that is effective against the hydatid tapeworm
  • Never feed raw offal to dogs
  • Promptly dispose of all dead stock
  • Keep dogs kennelled or chained when not working to prevent them finding offal or dead stock
  • Restrict dog’s access to household vegetable gardens and wash all vegetables thoroughly
  • Wash your hands after handling dogs and before eating, smoking etc.

These steps are tried and proven and were used in a coordinated way to successfully eradicate hydatids in both New Zealand and Tasmania.

A taste you can trace - episode 5
a taste you can trace episode 5

The Implementing Food Traceability Program looks to help and support growers to be the most efficient and cost-effective that they can be when it comes to traceability.

In this episode, Rose Elphick-Darling from Deakin University’s Food Traceability Lab delves into the help that is on offer.

🎧 Listen online via the AgVic website:

Biosecurity matters for contractors
a close up of a car tyre with seeds over it

Jim Moran - Grains Industry Biosecurity Officer

As the winter crop ripens rapidly in the southern state’s grain belt, thoughts of managing the harvest are front of mind for grain growers. 

Contractors employed to assist with your harvest management activities need to be aware of your farm biosecurity standards and expectations, to manage the risk of introducing hitchhiker pests, weeds, and diseases onto your property.

Regardless of the contractor’s expertise in spraying, windrowing, harvesting, transporting, or storage, it’s essential your biosecurity standards are included and agreed to as part of the contracting process.

By including clear and precise wording in the contract it can minimise assumptions about the biosecurity activities to be undertaken, how they will be done, what proof is required, and what penalties apply if they aren’t observed. 

Contractors should be committed to maintaining biosecurity practices that protect both your business and theirs from the risk of biosecurity events. 

Essential contractor responsibilities include:

  • meeting all state-based quarantine requirements and general biosecurity obligations
  • training their staff in biosecurity awareness and procedures
  • arriving clean and leaving clean
  • supplying agreed-upon evidence (written or photographic) of pre-arrival cleanliness and pre-exit cleanliness of all their machinery and equipment
  • signing in and signing out all staff, equipment, and machinery.

Quotes from contractors should consider:

  • time required for cleaning before arrival on your property
  • time required for cleaning before departure from your property
  • fees and charges relating to required biosecurity documentation and inspections when travelling interstate.

Property owners should consider providing contractors with the location of suitable washdown areas and cleaning equipment to clean footwear, machinery and equipment appropriately.

Have the conversations about biosecurity with contractors early and often to avoid non-compliance with your farm biosecurity expectations. Make it impossible to fail to prevent any nasty surprises.

The promotion of biosecurity practices within the grains industry has resulted in an increase in on-farm and industry wide knowledge about best practice biosecurity management techniques.

With recent examples of how fast a weed, pest or disease can spread there’s every motivation to ensure accountability for anyone visiting and working on your farm to meet your biosecurity practices and standards.

It’s important for grain growers and all land managers to take ownership of biosecurity at their farm. It’s no longer unusual to have conversations about biosecurity with people, before they enter the farming property.

All farmers are encouraged to place a biosecurity sign at the farm’s main gates, as a reminder that biosecurity matters and is everyone’s responsibility.

Establishing the requirement for all visitors to contact you prior to entry allows you to enforce your biosecurity requirements.

Grain Producers Australia Chair and WA grain producer, Barry Large, said everyone needs to stay vigilant on biosecurity to help protect vital grain market access and safeguard farm businesses against damaging pests and diseases.

Mr Large said the Australian Custom Harvesters Association, which represents professional contract harvesters across Australia, included biosecurity in recommended standard contracts with a pragmatic and common-sense approach.

‘GPA supports this approach, with biosecurity terms included in contracts, when engaging a contractor to work on your farm,’ he said.

‘This will ensure we lift standards to strengthen biosecurity protections, with greater accountability and shared responsibility, to support the profitability and sustainability of grain producers and our industry.’

For free biosecurity gate signs, Farm Biosecurity Manuals, Monitoring Grain Storage Manuals, and biosecurity fact sheets, please contact Agriculture Victoria on 136 186.

For exceptional biosecurity resources, tactics and other information, please visit:

Parts of this article were inspired by Contractor agreements: A guide to biosecurity, published in VineHealth Australia e-newsletter 25 September 2023.

Beekeepers – know how to do an alcohol wash
two people in white bee suits doing an alcohol wash

There are 3 tests commonly used to detect varroa mite and other pests, including alcohol wash, sugar shake and drone uncapping.

While sugar shake and drone uncapping are useful detection methods, alcohol washing has been found to be more effective at detecting Varroa mite.

Make sure you understand safe handling techniques before opening a  hive. It's essential that you wear protective clothing when collecting  bees for testing.

Learn more about alcohol testing for Varroa mite here.

Prevent parasite impacts on your pig herd health
a close up of a pig in straw

Agriculture Victoria has found roundworm (Ascaris suum) in one-third of pig herds tested as part of a free new animal health program.

Agriculture Victoria Principal Veterinary Officer Dianne Phillips and her team have undertaken testing on 45 herds statewide to help raise awareness of the risks to herd health.

‘The large roundworm is found in the small intestine of pigs and left untreated, it can reduce growth rates by up to 10% in piglets, particularly in the 6–12-week-old age bracket,’ Dr Phillips said.

‘Roundworm parasites can block the small intestines and bile duct of heavily infested pigs.’

Roundworm eggs can survive on pastures and even concrete floors for up to 10 years, which presents a further risk to pig herds.

‘The best thing you can do for your herd is to get them tested – we have spaces available and it’s a great chance for pig owners to ask staff any questions they may have,' Dr Phillips said.

Agriculture Victoria aims to test 200 small, medium and largescale herds across the state as part of the biosecurity program funded through Victoria’s Swine Compensation Fund.

Faecal samples are collected for free roundworm and whipworm testing and results reported back with information about treatment and management options.

‘There have been no whipworm detections in the pigs tested to date, which is great news for owners,’ Dr Phillips said.

‘Whipworms (Trichuris suis) are found in the large intestine and can cause bloody diarrhoea, with affected pigs losing up to 20% bodyweight and suffering 10% mortality rate.’

Strongyle eggs, potentially from a number of internal parasites, have been detected in over 50% of the sites tested – if left untreated, they can reach high numbers and impact pig health and welfare.

As well as providing free worm testing, Agriculture Victoria staff have helped pig owners to identify and reduce animal health risks through developing an on-farm biosecurity plan.

‘An effective biosecurity plan is key to keeping out pests, disease, weeds and contaminants from your property, many of which can seriously impact pig health and welfare,’ Dr Phillips said.

‘Implementing an effective biosecurity plan is the key to reducing risks to pig health, including emergency animal diseases such as foot and mouth disease and African swine fever.’

To register your interest for the free worm testing program and gain hands-on help with developing a tailored biosecurity plan, email the team

For more information CLICK HERE

In case you missed it

New resources for grain farmers as dry finish looms

Victorian grain growers have a suite of new resources to help them prepare for, and deal with the effects of late frosts and a potential dry finish to the growing season.


Echuca farmer pleads guilty to livestock offences

An Echuca goat farmer has pleaded guilty to 4 charges under the Livestock Disease Control Act 1994 at the Echuca Magistrates’ Court recently.

Three charges were for breaching a Control Order by not informing an inspector of the sale of goats, and 1 charge related to making a false statement on a National Vendor Declaration form.


Community plans to bolster regional drought resilience

Agricultural communities in regional Victoria will be in a stronger position to adapt to drought and climate change thanks to the Australian and Victorian governments’ investment in drought resilience planning.


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.

Pyrenees and Smeaton BestWool/BestLamb Group info session

The Pyrenees and Smeaton BestWool/BestLamb groups invite you to attend 1of 2 sessions.

Come along and hear about the new ePacks. 

Bring your device, smart phone, tablet or laptop. John Cox from AWEX will assist you to login, create a farm account and be job ready for next shearing.

Coopers Animal Health Advisor Rachael Holmes will explain their new product Flexolt, the first oral lice treatment for sheep.

Hear from Neil James from Agriculture Victoria on how to become a group member.

Option 1

WHEN: Monday 20 November

TIME: 7 pm

LOCATION: Creswick Tennis Centre

Option 2

WHEN: Tuesday 21 November

TIME: 7 pm



RSVP By Friday 17 November.

For more information contact Neil James, Agriculture Victoria, Ballarat on 0417 353 929 or email 

Creating an animal health plan for cattle – Colac and Penshurst
creating an animal health plan for cattle

Join Agriculture Victoria Veterinarian Officer Dr Hannah Manning for a free workshop.

At this interactive workshop you will identify local health issues and learn about their prevention and treatment option solutions to create an animal health plan for your herd. 

An animal health plan is an important tool for farmers to minimise biosecurity risks and increase animal performance.

Workshop topics:

  • Identify local animal health issues and solutions to prevent and treat
  • Create an animal health plan
  • Find out how your animal health plan is part of your biosecurity plan
  • Learn about what records you need to keep and the systems you can use to comply with regulation and the Livestock Production Assurance program.


Date: Thursday 9 November

Time: 8:30 am – 12 pm

Where: Penshurst Memorial Hall.



Date: Tuesday 28 November

Time: 10 am – 2 pm

Where: Colac Bowling Club, Cnr Moore and Armstrong Streets.


For more information contact Hannah Manning Livestock Industry Development Officer, on 0400 532 595 or email.

Loose smut update 2023 and looking ahead to 2024
a close up of loose smut

WHEN: Monday 30 October

TIME: 5 – 5:45 pm


This webinar is to provide an update on the current loose smut situation in Victorian and West Australian barley crops and what the best management strategies are for 2024.

Join Andrea Hill (DPIRD), Hari Dadu (AgVic), and Geoff Thomas (DPIRD) as they provide the latest information about loose smut, particularly relating to the current situation in Victoria and Western Australia.

Topics include:

  • Why 2023 has had higher levels of loose smut compared to other years?
  • What is the carryover risk?
  • What are the best management options/strategies?

For more information contact Luise Fanning on email or call 0428 625 236.

Farm business seminar – farmers dinner – Koroit

DATE: Monday 30 October

TIME: 7 – 9 pm

WHERE: Duke's Commercial Hotel, 180 Commercial Road, Koroit.


WestVic Dairy is thrilled to invite all WestVic dairy farmers to our October industry update dinner.

  • Natalie Nelson, Farm Business Economist at Agriculture Victoria will share results and insights from the 2022-23 Dairy Farm Monitor Project annual report.
  • John Droppert, Dairy Australia Head of Economics, Data and Insights will provide an update on the situation and outlook for the remainder of the season, delivering his take on the current state of play in dairy markets, both locally and internationally. With so many market variables in flux, John will unpack the key drivers of farm profitability and overall industry success in the remainder of the 22/23 season.
Austrade digital services for exporters – online workshop
austrade digital services platform for exporters

Are you a Victorian agri-food business and thinking about or currently exporting?

Join us for an exclusive interactive online workshop for both experienced and new exporters who want to discover Austrade’s digital services.

Register now for a 1-hour online workshop on Monday 30 October at 2 pm.

Presented by Agriculture Victoria’s Pathways to Export in partnership with Austrade.


Exploring Exports – Geelong

WHEN: Wednesday 8 November

TIME: 10 am – 3 pm

WHERE: Geelong

Ready to grow your agri-food business by exploring export opportunities but not sure where to start? Or have you had a bit of export experience but want to take it further?

Agriculture Victoria is delivering a series of in-person workshops to support agri-food and beverage SMEs to navigate the pathway to export.

By the end of the workshop, you can expect to:

  • Understand the key steps of the export process
  • Have identified relevant export risks and ways to protect your business
  • Know how to approach enquiries from international buyers
  • Have heard from experienced agri-food exporters about how they identified demand and have built sustainable international partnerships
  • Have a plan for your next steps on the pathway to export.

Agriculture Victoria is partnering with Shirley Ng from the Australian Industry (Ai) Group to provide tailored, agri-food and beverage specific export information to support your exporting journey.

The workshop is free to attend for 1 attendee per business, and places are limited. A light lunch will be provided.

For more information, contact Alice Ritchie at or call 0429 386 781.

Australian Women in Agriculture 2023 Conference
australian women in agriculture 2023 conference seed to success

The Australian Women in Agriculture National Conference is coming to Bendigo in November.

Please join us to celebrate the role of women in the agricultural industry. The conference provides a platform for women to connect, learn, and grow.

A variety of speakers that will inform, influence, innovate and inspire.

  • Friday 24 November gala dinner
  • Friday afternoon we will kick off with drinks and canapes from 5 pm and then roll into a gala dinner from 6 pm
  • Saturday 25 November conference 9:30 am to 2:30 pm.

The conference features inspiring speakers, informative workshops, and networking opportunities, fostering a sense of community and support among women in agriculture.

It addresses important topics such as leadership, sustainable farming practices, and personal growth.

Ultimately, the Women in Agriculture Conference is a testament to the resilience, innovation, and influence of women in shaping the future of agriculture.


  • Full package (Friday and Saturday) $180
  • Networking evening and gala dinner (Friday 24) $85
  • Conference (Saturday 25) $110
  • AWiA members - 10% discount on ticket prices!

Tickets at:

For more information visit

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 contact Libby Swayn on 0459 612 681 or

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

Raising the Roof, the Australian dairy industry’s only major event which focuses specifically on intensive farm systems, will be held in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales from 27–29 February 2024.

WHEN: 27 - 29 February 2024

WHERE: Hunter Valley, New South Wales

Tickets on sale soon.

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.

Program details and more information to be released throughout 2023.

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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