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Sultana grapes at harvest point Mildura
Thursday 9 May 2024

In this edition:

Queensland fruit fly home gardener survey
Get into AgSTEM program in full swing for school year
Horsham College Year 12 Biology students with Agriculture Victoria Community Education Officer Casey Hamilton-Bayly

Caption: Horsham College Year 12 Biology students with Agriculture Victoria Community Education Officer Casey Hamilton-Bayly.

Agriculture Victoria’s free Get into AgSTEM education program is underway with schools across the state participating.

Agriculture Victoria Community Education Manager, Anna-Leisa Vietz, said the suite of practical and hands-on free workshops is popular with schools because it links directly to the Victorian school curriculum.

‘Our Get into AgSTEM workshops are suitable for students from Grade 5 through to VCE and our delivery model is very flexible,’ said Anna-Leisa.

‘We can deliver them from AgriBio, our main research centre in Bundoora, or any of our regional SmartFarms with some select workshops available online.’

Students visiting our research centres gain firsthand experience in a professional research facility where science and technology are applied to agricultural scenarios.

‘Our workshops can also be incorporated into events such as the Local Learning and Employment Network (LLEN) events, STEM Idols in Mildura, or the upcoming Food and Fibre Day in Dookie.

‘The feedback is always excellent as students enjoy using hi-tech tools and discovering how our scientists conduct research.

‘At our Horsham SmartFarm recently, we ran “Get into Digital Agriculture” for Murtoa College’s Year 11 Agriculture Science class and a “Get into Genes – PCR” workshop for Horsham College’s Year 12 Biology class,’ said Anna-Leisa.

Get into Digital Agriculture explores how remote sensing technology can be used to collect, upload and analyse farm related data. Students assemble soil moisture sensors and use python programming language to access and analyse data.

Get into Genes – PCR is a Year 12 level workshop where students learn how on-farm efficiency is improved using DNA related techniques and applications. Students practise pipetting for DNA replication and interpretation of DNA profiles.

For more information on the Get into AgSTEM programs, visit or email

Building Victoria’s preparedness for emergency animal diseases

Dr Jeff Cave, Agriculture Victoria Senior Veterinary Officer

During March, Agriculture Victoria delivered 4 Animal Disease Investigation (ADI) courses. 

These regionally based courses were held at Ellinbank, Rutherglen, Bendigo and Hamilton. 

The 2-day intensive course focused on up-skilling livestock veterinarians across Victoria to conduct disease investigations, and to be especially on the lookout for exotic diseases such as Foot and mouth disease. 

Each course hosted 12 private livestock veterinarians. 

Most of the participants came from local veterinary clinics in each of the regions. 

The courses were presented by a combination of local Agriculture Victoria district veterinary officers, alongside a pathologist from Agriculture Victoria’s state laboratory Agribio, which is located in Bundoora, Melbourne. 

The courses have a strong practical theme, with veterinarians getting hands on experience in learning new techniques and procedures, as well as a refresher on some of their existing skills and knowledge.  

Agriculture Victoria has been running ADI courses for over 10 years, training upwards of 50 private veterinarians a year, and in doing so strengthening the skills of Victoria’s veterinary profession and overall biosecurity preparedness for emergency animal diseases. 

Report any unusual signs or suspected cases of emergency animal disease immediately to the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888.

To learn more about emergency animal diseases go to our webpage.

Biosecurity Basics - Episode 4: Buying and selling livestock 101 with Ben Fahy
Three white alpaca in a trailer

There are many things for small landholders to consider when buying and selling livestock that can be a little confusing.

Terms like PICS, NLIS and records are new for people stepping into the world of small landholding. 

In this episode, Ben Fahy, Livestock Traceability Manager with Agriculture Victoria, helps simplify the requirements for buying and selling livestock in Victoria.

Listen via the AgVic website.

Private vets are part of the puzzle
Dr Matt Boon

When Dr Matt Boon from Prime Livestock Veterinary Services put his hand up to work on emergency animal disease outbreaks, he did it with the bigger picture in mind.

‘As advocates for the Australian livestock industry, livestock vets like me have a moral obligation to step up and give a hand’.

Matt operates a mobile livestock service in the north-east and signed up to join Agriculture Victoria’s Emergency Veterinary Response Team last year. 

In February, Matt was deployed to support an emergency anthrax response and worked alongside a team of animal health and welfare staff to vaccinate livestock for anthrax in the Shepparton region.

‘I came away from the experience with a deeper insight into what goes into an emergency disease response and the challenges that come with managing an outbreak’.

‘It was very different work to what private vets are usually doing day-to-day on farms. It was rewarding to work alongside government vets and to better understand the role they play for the industry,’ Matt said.

To respond to the challenges of future emergency animal disease outbreaks, we need more private vets like Matt to be part of the puzzle.

‘I’d encourage other private vets out there to get involved! If you can spare the time, there’s nothing to lose and so much to gain. I’m certainly glad I put my hand up to be involved’. 

Share your expertise, learn new skills and help protect our agricultural sector and communities. 

Casual employment is available as an emergency response veterinary officer and veterinary businesses can sign up via service level agreements. 

To find out more, visit

Cherry traceability pilot
Cherry traceability pilot QR code

Trace the origin of your cherries from tree to table.

In our Cherries Traceability Pilot, a partnership between Agriculture Victoria and Cherry Growers Australia, we’re applying unique GS1 Digital Link enabled QR codes to individual cherry boxes consumers and supply chain partners can scan, verify and get information at their fingertips.

You can be confident knowing you are buying Australian and the best cherries our growers have to offer.

Discover more by scanning the QR code or via this link

Play the game and see if you can beat our current top score of 117!

Celebrate the vital role bees play in global food systems
bee on a flower

May 20 marks the seventh annual World Bee Day, and this year’s focus is on the vital role bees play in global food production.

Wheen Bee Foundation CEO Fiona Chambers says while many people have some understanding of the importance of bees, most don’t know the true extent to which we depend on bees for the food we eat every day.

'Most people know bees play a role in food production, but few know the sheer scale of their contribution,' Ms Chambers said.

'Here in Australia, at least 53 crops rely to some extent on bees. These include almonds, avocados, apples, berries, stone fruit and carrot, but also oilseeds such as canola, and legumes like clover and lucerne that feed farm livestock.

'Often when you sit down for dinner, the whole plate will have some link to bees.'

This year World Bee Day will see a host of events and activities taking place in communities across Australia, focused on the 2024 theme – Celebrating bees and their vital role in global food production systems.

'There are lots of ways to get involved, whether it’s joining a webinar, visiting a farmers’ market, taking part in a community gardening session or simply talking to friends and family about the importance of bees,' Ms Chambers said.

A first for this year’s calendar is the Great Bee Morning Tea. Communities, schools and businesses are encouraged to show their support for Australia’s beekeepers by hosting a morning tea with cakes, cookies and other sweet treats all made with 100% pure Australian honey.

'Beyond the honey they produce, beekeepers deliver vital pollination services to some of our biggest crops,' Ms Chambers said.

'By buying 100% Australian honey you are not only supporting Australian beekeepers but the many Australian businesses that rely upon them.'

As part of the World Bee Day festivities, The Wheen Bee Foundation has again partnered with the Australian Farmers’ Markets Association for the Bring Your Buzz campaign, which encourages people to wear yellow to their local farmers’ markets and buy food from producers who value the role bees play in their production.

Celebrations at farmers’ markets run from Saturday 18 May to Sunday 26 May.

Anyone interested in hosting an event for World Bee Day is encouraged to register their event for free online at the World Bee Day website.

For more information visit

Victorian Biosecurity Matters e-newsletter
brown piglet outside

The latest edition of our Victorian Biosecurity Matters e-newsletter is out now.

In this edition:

  • our new podcast season
  • Timor Leste visit highlights
  • find out more about avian influenza
  • new pest partnership grant recipients
  • bee pest blitz
  • biosecurity in the news.

Sound good? Read it now and subscribe.

After the Flood podcast series 7 episode 10
After the flood ep 10

Episode 10: What does recovery look like? with Sally Cunningham, Brett Davison and Brad Costin 

The effects of a disaster are felt long after the event.

Agriculture Victoria along with other agencies are there at the start of emergencies and in for the long haul to help farmers with recovery for months after the event.

This has been the case for Agriculture Victoria Recovery Managers Brad Costin and Brett Davidson, and National Centre for Farmer Health Flood Recovery Manager Sally Cunningham. Hear their stories of recovery and resilience in working to support farmers in ag recovery.

🎧 🎧 Listen via the AgVic website.

Emerging Leader in Victorian Agriculture Award

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

Please download the nomination form here.

Send your application to

Applications will close on 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 only available to those within Victoria between the ages of 18 and 35.

Applications open for Livestock Advisory Committees
herd of sheep bunched together closeup

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 Livestock Biosecurity Funds page on the Agriculture Victoria website here


WorkSafe telehandler survey

Use a non-slewing telehandler with capacity over 3 tonnes? There's a new licence and tailored training coming. Complete the survey at to help work out training locations.

Mallee CMA Salinity Survey Update

People in Merbein and Mildura can expect to see survey flights underway, followed by Irymple and Red Cliffs.

Flight schedules are regularly updated online at

Mentor program helping to cultivate futures in farming

Young farmers in western Victoria are encouraged to register for Agriculture Victoria’s ‘Cultivating Futures in Farming’ Mentor Program.

Agriculture Recovery Officer Tanya Dobrijevic said the free program will provide young farmers in grains or mixed farming enterprises with the tools and resources to enhance their farm business management.


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.


What's On

Details about Agriculture Victoria events can now be found in one spot on our website.

Visit to find out what's on.

Experiences in Drought from Agriculture Service Providers' Perspective

The Mallee Regional Innovation Centre is keen to hear from Agricultural Service Providers to better understand your experiences in drought.

Consultations will assist in identifying issues and opportunities that could lead to beneficial co-designed projects to build drought resilience in farming communities.

Register via Eventbrite. Sessions limited to 10 people only. People on the waiting list will be added to a new group.

Location: Deakin Business Centre, Mildura
Date: 13 May from 3 pm

Not Just a Farmer breakfast with Leila McDougall

May 22 
7:30 - 8:30 am 

4a Dimboola Road, Horsham

Cost $25.

​Bookings are essential and must be made by May 13 here.


Wimmera women have a chance to hear from an inspirational regional farmer and film maker during a breakfast in Horsham on May 22.

Tatyoon farmer, screen writer and actor Leila McDougall will recount how her mental health campaign led to development of the feature film – 'Just a farmer’.

Export Development Programme
Export Development Programme

Ready to grow your agri-food and beverage business by exploring export opportunities but not sure where to start? Join us for a free Export Development Programme! 

Agriculture Victoria's Pathways to Export is partnering with Export Connect to deliver a series of in-person Masterclass Workshops in Gippsland and Melbourne and online Export Strategy Webinars. 

In-person sessions: 

  • Friday 17 May – 9 am – 4 pm, Morwell Innovation Centre, 1 Monash Way, Morwell
  • Friday 24 May – 9 am – 4 pm, Agriculture Victoria Attwood Centre, 475-485 Mickleham Rd. 


  • Market Entry Strategy: Tuesday 14 May – 2 pm – 4 pm
  • Export Pricing: Tuesday 21 May – 2 pm – 4 pm 
  • Pitch Development: Tuesday 28 May – 2 pm – 4 pm  
  • International Buyer and Exporter Panel: Tuesday 4 June – 2 pm – 4 pm. 

Register for one or more sessions here.

GRDC Grains Research Update - Aerial application, drones and market access to EU canola markets

4 June
10 - 11:30 am




Come and listen to the experts, and join in the discussion on 3 topics: Aerial application, drones and market access to EU canola markets

Topics and presenters:

  • increasing momentum behind on-farm sustainability accreditation and developing market signals.  ISCC canola standards and market access issues when selling canola overseas.  Rosemary Richards (Sustainable Grain Australia)
  • aerial application in broadacre crop production. Scott Mackie (South East Air Ag)
  • drones for spraying, weed mapping and other uses - licensing, uses and limitations. Tristan Steventon (Stevtech) and Aaron Parker (Aussie Drones).

Register here

Cultivating Futures in Farming mentor program

16 May
from 12 noon



Young farmers, join Ag Vic for an introductory webinar regarding the new Cultivating Futures in Farming Mentor program.

The program, delivered in partnership with Pinion Advisory, will provide mentoring on a variety of topics including:

  • risk management
  • opportunity identification
  • people management
  • leasing and share farming
  • natural resource management.

Register for the online Zoom webinar here.

For more information or to register your expression of interest to join the course, visit our website.

Places are limited. To learn more, contact Tanya Dobrijevic on 0429 353 649 or email

The Farm Business Resilience Program is jointly funded through the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund and the Victorian Government’s Future Agriculture Skills Capacity Fund.

Pyrenees Shire Connectivity Roadshow
image of grapevines at sunset

21 May
5:30 to 7 pm

Crossroads CFA shed

22 May
2.30 to 3:30 pm

Summerfield Winery

22 May
5.30 to 7 pm

Lexton Hub


Residents are invited to community drop-in sessions where you can engage directly with representatives from Agriculture Victoria, Telstra, NBNCo and the Regional Tech Hub. 

Let's discuss how we can enhance internet connectivity in our community and make the most out of technology!

Topics for discussion:

  • Could your internet connectivity be better?
  • Want to know how to maximise your mobile signal?
  • With 3G closing, what does it mean for you?
  • Interested in on-farm technology?
  • Discover the potential of the ‘internet of things’ for agriculture!

Find out more at Pyrenees Shire Connectivity Roadshow - Pyrenees Shire Council.

BestWool/BestLamb and BetterBeef 2024 conference
Black Angus and sheep advertising upcoming sheep and beef conference

19 - 20 June



Plans are underway for the Agriculture Victoria BestWool/BestLamb and BetterBeef conference and dinner to be held in a new location this year in Ballarat on 19-20 June.

The conference will be held over 2 days:

  • 19 June Best Wool/BestLamb
  • 20 June BetterBeef.

Early bird tickets are now available and will close on Friday 31 May. To secure an early bird ticket discount, visit

Contact Lyndon Kubeil on 0418 532 085 or visit the Agriculture Victoria events page to learn more.

Interpreting soil moisture monitoring equipment
graph in blue, green and red

13 June
9 - 11 am

Robinvale Resource Centre
72 Herbert Street

14 June
9 - 11 am

Mildura SmartFarm
Corner Koorlang Avenue and 11th Street


Agriculture Victoria, in conjunction with Green Brain, is offering a half day workshop for irrigators looking to have a greater understanding of interpreting soil moisture monitoring data.

Attendees are encouraged to bring their login details and share their data with the group if appropriate.


  • Soil water principles
  • Understanding graphs
  • Summed and split-level graphs
  • Setting refill and fill points
  • Graph responses
  • Integration / data presentation
  • Your data.

To register, contact Jeremy Giddings, Agriculture Victoria Regional Manager Irrigation, Mallee on 0427 02 285 or email

Numbers strictly limited.

SAVE THE DATE: Livestock Conference 2024
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

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Call 136 186 from anywhere in Australia for the cost of a local call (except for mobiles and public telephones).

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All contact points can be found at:

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