Forward this email | View in web browser
Sultana grapes at harvest point Mildura
Friday 15 March 2024

In this edition:

Support and resources for fire affected farmers
bale loader working in paddock

Agriculture Victoria is working with Victorian farmers and industry to prepare for, respond to and recover from natural disasters, including fire, floods and storms.

This includes delivering technical information and supporting events to support farm business recovery on topics such as:

  • grazing, cropping and pasture management
  • irrigation and horticulture system rehabilitation
  • soil erosion management
  • land management
  • animal health and nutrition
  • farm mapping and planning
  • water quality
  • weed management.


Support is also available through the Rural Financial Counselling Service.

Farmers and small related enterprises who are experiencing, or are at risk of, financial hardship can call 1300 771 741 for free and confidential financial counselling.

Update: Dingo unprotection order

From 14 March 2024, a new dingo unprotection order will continue to allow the control of dingoes where they threaten livestock along the boundaries of specified public land and on most private land across the state.

The new unprotection order will no longer apply in the north-west of the state due to the risk of extinction of the local dingo population.

Farmers in the north-west can apply for an Authority to Control Wildlife, which permits the use of lethal control in circumstances where no other options are available. Beyond the change in the northwest of the state, there will be no change to the existing arrangements for dingo conservation and management across the rest of the state, with the new unprotection order remaining in place until 1 October 2024.

Dingoes remain listed as a threatened species under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 and are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975. The dingo unprotection order only permits control activities on specified private land and within a 3km buffer zone on public land in the east of Victoria.

For further information visit

Resources at the ready for Mallee farms to improve soil
header with farm machinery attached tilling field

Mallee farmers are encouraged to take advantage of Agriculture Victoria’s new online resources and upcoming paddock walks to learn how to reduce erosion and make their soil more productive.

Agriculture Victoria Mixed Farming Development Officer Roger Harrower said the project ‘Building drought resilience of vulnerable soils in low rainfall cropping and grazing systems’ has been running since 2022 across multiple on-farm demonstration sites in the Mallee.

‘Demonstration trials have been set up on farms at Hopetoun, Ouyen and Murrayville,’ said Mr Harrower.

‘Retaining groundcover is a critical step in reducing the impact of wind erosion, improving soil productivity and helping farms to be more resilient during droughts.

‘Different methods for preserving groundcover are being trialled on-farm, including applying bentonite clay, changing sowing directions, spreading straw and using biosolids.’

Mr Harrower said a video is now available on the Agriculture Victoria YouTube channel to gain a general understanding of the project.

For farmers with a specific interest in on-farm biosolid application, an online e-learn module is now also available.

‘Our March paddock walks are also a great opportunity for farmers to talk first-hand with the demonstration site host farmers and soil expert Cassandra Schefe from AgriSci about results, as well as see a soil pit.’

Farm walks will take place on:

  • Monday 25 March at the Ouyen demonstration site from 2.30 pm
  • Tuesday 26 March at the Murrayville demonstration site from 9 am.

Visit for further information and to register.

View the ‘Building drought resilience’ explainer video.

To learn more about on-farm Biosolid application visit the eLearn.

The project is supported by Agriculture Victoria, the Mallee Catchment Management Authority, Birchip Cropping Group and Mallee Sustainable Farming through funding from the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund.

Modernising student experience for future farmers

The Victorian Government is helping more Victorians pursue a career in agriculture through the $50 million Agricultural College Modernisation Program.

New state-of-the-art facilities are now open to students of Longerenong College, one of three of Victoria’s agriculture colleges to benefit from $20 million in funding for upgrades to student accommodation and teaching amenities.

Longerenong College received $6.5 million to construct student accommodation for 45 students.

The facility holds both four and seven-bedroom houses with a suite of independent and communal facilities, including a 100-seat conference centre, shared lounge rooms and an outdoor common area.

Longerenong College offers full-time courses in agriculture and agronomy and accommodates between 85 to 110 students, with the majority residing on campus.

The college delivers courses to over 70 apprentices and hosts targeted training events for universities and high schools. In 2023, over 250 high school students attended agriculture immersive camps.

Victoria’s growing food and fibre sector needs more skilled workers with a range of capabilities, including digital, business, risk and marketing skills, to take products to local, domestic and international markets.

The Agricultural College Modernisation Program is delivering on the Victorian Government’s 10-year Agriculture Strategy to support the skills of the future and help more Victorians pursue an exciting career in agriculture.

Click here to learn more.

Manage green bridge to reduce virus/aphid risk in canola

Grain growers are urged to eliminate green bridge growth (volunteer crop or weed growth) now to mitigate the threat of aphid-borne viruses such as turnip yellows virus (TuYV) in the coming growing season.

Volunteer canola is currently widespread across much of the southern region and warm conditions appear to already be favouring aphid persistence. A TuYV outbreak could cause significant damage to canola crops.

Recent field surveillance and virus testing by Agriculture Victoria and supplied to GRDC has confirmed aphid infestation and a high incidence of TuYV infection in these green bridge volunteers, warranting a proactive response.

Along with controlling the green bridge where possible, growers are strongly encouraged to apply an insecticide seed treatment this year and should budget for and consider an early foliar insecticide application.

Summer conditions set up a repeat of 2014

A relatively moist summer has set up similar conditions to those that produced a significant outbreak of TuYV in canola during 2014.

In that season an abundance of volunteer canola became infested with green peach aphid (Myzus persicae), which is the main vector for TuYV. The result was significant infection and damage in that year’s crop, with the most severe impact on seedlings that had not received an insecticide seed treatment.

The virus-stunted seedling growth resulted in many growers destroying their crop and planting barley over it to gain a viable harvest. The remaining canola crops generally recovered and grew to maturity but suffered significant yield losses.

Very warm conditions and adequate soil moisture over the 2023-24 summer has resulted in widespread self-sown canola that is already flowering in many locations.

Read the article in full on the GRDC website here.

Barber’s pole worm

Dr Jeff Cave, Agriculture Victoria Senior Veterinary Officer

Barber’s Pole worm (Haemonchus contortus) is the most important parasite of sheep in the summer rainfall areas of Australia.

Therefore, it is not surprising that we are seeing outbreaks of disease due to Barber’s Pole worm with the warm, moist conditions that we have recently experienced.

Adult Barber’s Pole worms live in the abomasum (fourth stomach) of sheep.

The mature female worms are visible to the naked eye.

The gut of the worm is red, as it is full of blood. Wound around the gut is the white ovary, packed with hundreds of eggs.

This red and white spiral effect gives the worm its name as it looks like the classic barber’s pole.

The adult female worms are prolific egg producers leading rapidly to a heavy pasture contamination.

Recently we have seen faecal egg counts in the tens of thousands due to Barber’s Pole worm.

During warm, moist conditions these eggs hatch into larvae and are eaten by sheep during grazing.

Given their prolific production, worm numbers can build up rapidly.

Like other internal parasites, Barber’s Pole worms mainly affect weaners and lactating ewes.

Barber’s Pole worms feed by sucking blood leading to anaemia and 'bottle jaw' but not necessarily weight loss or diarrhoea.

Just 1000 adult Barber’s Pole worms can remove 50ml of blood from a sheep per day. Therefore, Barber’s Pole worm outbreaks can lead to high mortalities in a short space of time.

Barber’s Pole worms can be detected at post-mortem, or in live animals by a faecal egg count.

As with other internal parasites, drench resistance to Barber’s Pole worm is becoming increasingly common. Unfortunately, losses due to Barber’s Pole worm are currently being reported in spite of recent drenching.

For further information please contact your local veterinarian or Agriculture Victoria Veterinary or Animal Health Officer.

Prepare for hot weather
cow in paddock

With parts of the state still experiencing hot weather, it’s important to ensure your animals have access to sufficient shade and lots of cool water to avoid heat stress.

Stay safe and follow VicEmergency for updates.

Click here for more information for caring for animals during extreme heat.

After the Flood podcast series - episode 4
person outside wearing pink shirt and grey jumper

Episode 4: On the right track to recovery with Simone Murdoch and Darryl Pearl

Future planning and controlled traffic farming can help mitigate natural disasters and their long-term effects.

In this After the Flood podcast episode, Simone Murdoch chats about how her family made key decisions during a flood by removing emotion from the conversation. 

Darryl Pearl, from Agriculture Victoria, also gives some tips on controlled traffic farming and how it can benefit properties in the long-term.

Listen via the AgVic website

Consultation on animal welfare laws closes soon
Illustration of animals in traiangle shape on aqua background

The Victorian Government has extended the consultation period on the draft Bill for the new animal care and protection laws.

Victorians now have until Monday 25 March to have their say on the Bill – which will replace the current Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (POCTA Act).

Executive Director of Animal Welfare Victoria, Dr Trevor Pisciotta, said the extension gives interested people and organisations more time to make a submission, following recent extreme weather events.

‘We’ve been committed to engaging with key stakeholders and the Victorian community throughout these reforms – this is the third and final round of consultation.’

‘Regional communities have already strongly influenced the form of the Draft Bill, which will help to maintain the trust of our trading partners, consumers and the community in Victoria’s animal-based activities and industries’, Dr Pisciotta said.

In addition to the three consultation rounds, Agriculture Victoria has consulted with more than 50 organisations representing people involved with animals or with an interest in animals and the law. The feedback has been carefully considered and contributed to the reform process to date.

Dr Pisciotta said the POCTA Act is nearly 40 years old and does not always reflect current community expectations, developments in animal science or changing industry practices.

‘Demonstrating a high standard of animal welfare is critical in supporting Victorian industries to maintain access to important markets. For most Victorians, there will be no major changes to the way they operate daily.’

‘These laws will strengthen Victoria’s reputation as a humane and responsible producer of food – while being fit-for-purpose for modern day farming practices’, Dr Pisciotta said.

Key changes include minimum standards of care and requirements around husbandry procedures – which already feature in the existing codes of practice and Australian Standards and Guidelines for Animal Welfare.

The proposed laws recognise animal sentience – that animals can have positive and negative experiences. Being explicit about this won't change how Victorians need to treat their animals, or whether they can be owned or used by humans. It won't create any legal rights for third parties, and it won't give animals legal rights.

Dr Pisciotta encourages interested community members, groups and organisations to make a submission and complete a survey about future regulations.

‘Please visit the Engage Victoria website, where you will find supporting materials to help you make a submission, including a guide to the draft Bill and a list of Frequently Asked Questions,’ Dr Pisciotta said.

For more information and to make a submission visit Engage Victoria.

[Back to Top]

Horticultural Netting Program

Grants of up to $150,000 are available to eligible producers of commercial horticulture crops, excluding wine grapes, to purchase and install new netting over established production areas.

The program now includes a self-installation allowance if you wish to self-install netting.

Applications close 8 April.

For more information about the program visit the Horticultural Netting Grants for Victorian Horticulturalists page on our website.

This program is delivered by the Victorian Government on behalf of the Australian Government.

Agtech Innovators: Series 2 Episode 3
person standing in paddock with hair blowing in wind

When Tenacious Ventures make an investment, they consider three crucial factors: the team, the technology, and the traction.

Co-founder Sarah Nolet says assessing these elements can be challenging, however, if they make the right choices, it can have a significant impact on the success of an AgTech startup. 

Listen online via the AgVic website

Reminder – phaseout of 3G network
image of network equipment with solar panel

Victorian farmers are reminded of the upcoming phaseout of the 3G network.

Starting from 30 June, the 3G network will be phased out in rural Victoria.

If you use devices that rely on a 3G SIM card for connectivity it's important to understand how this may impact your farm operations.

Reach out to your technology providers to ensure your devices are compatible with the upcoming changes.

Stay ahead of the transition to ensure seamless connectivity on your farm.

Wimmera Machinery field days photo gallery

Thank you to everyone who visited our stand at Wimmera Machinery Field Days this year.  Here are some photo highlights from the day.

Ag Vic staffmember holding thistle with family

Caption: Seasonal Risk Agronomist Dale Grey with Wimmera Machinery Field Days committee member Andrew Bell and family

family with fibreglass sheep and Ag Vic staffmember

Caption: Jace and family check out the colourful Ag Vic sheep with Land Management Extension Officer Julio Vargas

Three men at Ag Vic marquee

Caption: Jignesh Vakani, Technical Officer with the Ag Vic Pulse Breeding team and Dale Boyd Seasonal Risk Agronomist discuss new pea and lentil varieties with Jared from Altora Ag


Help implement Victoria’s new Biosecurity Strategy

Agriculture Victoria is calling for applicants to join the Biosecurity Reference Group and help implement Victoria’s new Biosecurity Strategy.

To submit an expression of interest to join the Biosecurity Reference Group visit by 5 pm Wednesday 3 April.


Fall armyworm commands growers' attention

Victorian agronomists and growers should be vigilant in crop surveillance for Fall armyworm (FAW), following the impacts the pest is having on crops in Queensland.

Fall armyworm has rapidly spread across Australia after being found in Queensland in January 2020 and is now established in New South Wales, Northern Territory, Western Australia and parts of Victoria.


Cat desexing grants for Victorian councils now open

The Victorian Government has committed $300,000 to run a trial program to increase cat desexing rates, address cat over-population and support vulnerable cat owners.

Councils can now apply for grants of up to $25,000 to deliver targeted cat desexing programs within their community.


Churchill Fellowships 2024 open

Churchill Fellowships for 2024 opened on 1 March, offering people the opportunity to travel overseas for four to eight weeks to explore a topic or issue that they’re passionate about, and come back and share knowledge to improve their community.


2024 Livestock Biosecurity Funds grants program

The Victorian Government is bolstering Victoria’s biosecurity system with funding for projects that help prevent, monitor, and control pests and diseases in livestock.

Applications close on 15 April, to apply visit


[Back to Top]

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.

BestWool/BestLamb and BetterBeef 2024 conference
banner with 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.

Further details will be coming as plans are finalised.

Genetics Australia - Today, Tomorrow and Beyond
Genetics Australia logo on green background

18 - 19 March

GMHBA Stadium
Melbourne, Victoria


The Today, Tomorrow and Beyond conference revolves around the future of cattle breeding, incorporating cutting-edge technologies, and showcasing new industry research and ideas.

The overarching objective is to inspire the next generation to leverage genetics in advancing top-tier dairy and beef operations while simultaneously reducing the carbon footprint of these industries.

Agriculture Victoria will be presenting at this conference including:

  • Professor Jennie Pryce, Agriculture Victoria Research Director Genomics and Cell Sciences, on a worldwide overview of 'Breeding for sustainability and resilience'
  • Dr Jo Newton OAM, Agriculture Victoria Research Scientist on the role of genetic improvement in creating greater integration between our dairy and beef industries.

Click here to read the program in full.

To register, click here.

Calculating carbon for sheep and beef producers
woman on smartphone in front of herd of Angus black cattle

19 March
9 am to 1 pm

Mercure Hotel and Convention Centre
613 Main Rd


Join Professor Richard Eckard of the University of Melbourne for a free workshop hosted by Agriculture Victoria to guide you through calculating emissions for your sheep or beef farm. 

The workshop will be delivered in a hybrid format for participants to attend in person or online via Zoom.

Workshop program

  • Why you need to Know your Number
  • How carbon accounting works
  • Complete the MLA Carbon Calculator for your farm, learn about key indicators and troubleshoot problems (using your laptop or one supplied)
  • Question and answer session with Professor Eckard and other Agriculture Victoria emissions specialists. 


To register click here.

Some preparation will be required. You will be supplied information and resources at registration.

For more information, please contact: Jane Court, Agriculture Victoria on 0436 606 742 or email.

MLA Goat Roadshow Webinar

19 March
7 - 8.30 pm


Register here.


Are your goats fit to load? Are you planning to sell goats soon?

Make sure you understand your roles and responsibilities in ensuring animals are fit to travel before you start loading.

This free Meat & Livestock Australia Goat Roadshow webinar is designed to provide useful and practical insights on how to ensure your goats are fit to load before transport.

Hear from NSW DPI's Dr Petrea Wait, Agriculture Victoria’s Dr Berwyn Squire and Integrity Systems Company’s Elizabeth Bradley who will provide who will provide an overview of the Fit to Load legislation, plus on-farm advice for ensuring you meet animal welfare obligations, including the importance of checking animals prior to transport, your responsibilities and how to comply with NVD and NLIS requirements.

MLA invites goat producers to join to find out more on:

  • Understanding when an animal is and isn’t fit to make a journey
  • Preparing animals for transport
  • Individual roles and responsibilities in ensuring animal welfare
  • Practical tips and resources available
  • Livestock traceability - understanding LPA requirements around animal welfare, completing NVDs and updating the NLIS database.

Make sure you understand your responsibilities in ensuring compliance with the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for the Land Transport of Livestock.

Boort sheep producers workshop
sheep in yard

21 March
9 am to 1 pm




Sheep producers in the Boort area, come and join us and Rochester vet Dr Frankie Collett for a free interactive workshop on Thursday 21 March, from 9 am to 1 pm.

Participants will discuss local health issues, learn about their prevention and treatment options, and create an animal health plan.

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

To find out more contact Erica Schelfhorst on 0429 807 689 or register on Trybooking

Managing vulnerable Mallee soils paddock walk and pit inspection
Tractor pulling harrow through stubble

25 March
2.30 – 5.30 pm

Meet corner Calder Hwy and Chapman Rd by 2.30 pm to travel to paddock.

26 March
9.30 am – 5.30 pm

Meet corner Cemetery Rd Cowangie and Mallee Hwy by 9.30 am to travel to paddock.

To register click here.


Agriculture Victoria has partnered with Birchip Cropping Group and Mallee Sustainable Farming and invite you to join us and our host farmers for a paddock walk at our demonstration sites focussed on managing vulnerable Mallee soils.

With soils expert Dr Cassandra Schefe from AgriSci, we will examine a soil pit and explore results and observations from these sites which look at the value of using bentonite clay and compost for soil improvement.


Dr. Cassandra Schefe - AgriSci

  • understanding vulnerable soils in the region 
  • soil pit investigations
  • understanding and managing soils on your farm as part of building drought resilience.

Roger Harrower - Agriculture Victoria

  • using bentonite clay and compost to improve water retention and support crop growth
  • results from the 2023 paddock demo sites.

Dr. Yolanda Plowman – Birchip Cropping Group (Ouyen event) and Nick Paltridge – Mallee Sustainable Farming (Murrayville event)

  • results from their managing vulnerable soils 2023 farm trials and other trials in the region.
Canola establishment, cereal disease and hay update

27 March
8 am – 10:30 am

Wallup Hall
Wallup Hall Road


Wimmera farmers and advisers are invited to a pre-sowing meeting at Wallup to hear about stubble management for canola establishment, the latest on cereal diseases and an update of new hay facilities.

Stubble management for canola

Agriculture Victoria Senior Research Agronomist Dr Ashley Wallace and Regional Manager Grains South-west Felicity Pritchard will present results from crop and land management surveys and the first year of stubble management for canola establishment trial. This project is funded by GRDC and Agriculture Victoria.

Cereal disease update

Agriculture Victoria Senior Research Pathologist Dr Hari Dadu will provide an update on inoculum levels and fungicide strategies for cereal crops for the 2024 season, with stripe rust and Septoria to be problematic this season.

Hay processing

Paul Johns and Scott Summers will provide an update of the new hay processing plant being built near Warracknabeal (to be confirmed).

Breakfast will be provided. This activity is free and registration is not required. For further information, contact Felicity Pritchard on 0448 146 604 or Tim Inkster on 0427 372 739

Drip Monitoring and Maintenance Course
irrigation drip line under grape vines

23 April
8.30 am to 12.30 pm

AgVic Mildura SmartFarm 
308-390 Koorlong Ave


Get the most out of your system and join Agriculture Victoria for a free half day session on drip monitoring and maintenance aimed at maximising farm profitability and efficiency.


Jeremy Giddings (DEECA) and Peter Henry (Netafim) 

Topics :

  • understanding design and specification sheets 
  • monitoring, measuring pressures and discharges 
  • flushing, chlorination and acid injection 

To register or for more information, please contact Maxine Schache on 0428 507 855 or email

RSVP by 17 April and please bring your irrigation design to this session. 

Subscribe to Grampians Mallee Ag News

Enjoying the Grampians Mallee 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. 


Privacy | Email: