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Sultana grapes at harvest point Mildura
Thursday 8 February 2024

In this edition:

Are you feeding your livestock sufficiently?

Agriculture Victoria is advising livestock owners to assess their livestock feed situation, as failing to provide proper and sufficient feed to livestock is an offence under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986.

Agriculture Victoria Senior Officer of Animal Welfare Morgan Cassell said producers need to make appropriate decisions regarding their livestock and ability to provide adequate feed.

Livestock owners and managers should ask:

  • what are the nutritional requirements for the class and number of livestock I keep?
  • how much feed do I currently have on offer and is it meeting my livestock’s energy and protein requirements?
  • how much supplement feed do I need to be feeding?
  • will I have enough? Will I be able to source more?
  • what alternative options do I have; agistment, destocking?

‘If you aren’t sure of any of the answers to these questions, you need to seek advice or do your research.

‘There are many free resources and tools available to help and once you know the answers you can then make an informed decision, plan and take action.’

For information on feeding livestock visit Agriculture Victoria’s Feeding Livestock website

You will find information on sheep and cattle nutrition, tools to help calculate feed-on-offer and interpret feed test results and templates to create a feed budget.

Otherwise, you can also put in a call to your local Agriculture Victoria Livestock Extension Officer on 136 186,’ Ms Cassell said.

'Agriculture Victoria will investigate any allegation which concerns an owner or person in charge failing to provide proper and sufficient feed to an animal.’

Anyone wishing to make a specific complaint regarding livestock welfare can contact Agriculture Victoria at or on 136 186.

After The Flood podcast series - episode 2
man in blue shirt wearing Akubra style hat at field days

Hear about farming through flood in this episode of After the Flood. 

Murray Van der Drift talks about how his family dealt with flood waters approaching their farm from 3 directions.

Murray emphasises the importance of relationships within your community and being prepared to listen to what's going on up stream.

Listen via the AgVic website

Partnership Against Pests
tile in Ag Vic green with the wording Partnership Against Pests

Do you have a great idea to upskill your community to help combat established pests and weeds in Victoria?

Our new Partnerships Against Pests grants will provide funding between $10,000-50,000 for initiatives including educational events, communication tools and products to boost community awareness.

Applications close February 19.

Learn more here.

Have your say on Victoria’s new animal protection laws
Illustration of animals in traiangle shape on aqua background

The draft bill for a new Animal Care and Protection Act has been released for public comment.

This is the final opportunity for feedback before the bill for a new Act is finalised.

The new Act would replace the current Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986.

A new Act would explicitly recognise animal sentience and set minimum care requirements for animals in Victorian law for the first time.

The approach to cruelty offences would be strengthened, and the legislation would support co-regulation to reduce the regulatory burden on industries.

Activities like farming, pest control, hunting, fishing and racing would be able to continue under the new laws.

Reforming the laws will protect animals from cruelty while supporting Victorians to continue to interact responsibly with them and will help maintain trust in our animal-based activities and industries.

Regulations setting out requirements for specific species and activities involving animals would support the Act.  A new Act would not come into force for at least 2 years to enable development of the new regulations.

The first consultation on the regulations has opened alongside the draft bill consultation.

The consultation is open until 8 March.

Have your say at Engage Victoria.

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Victoria’s inspiring Rural Women’s Award finalists

Four trail-blazing Victorian women are in the running for the 2024 Agrifutures Rural Women’s Award.

The Award celebrates Australia’s rural women leaders from across a range of industries, including Victoria’s $20.2 billion agriculture sector, who use their skills to benefit their communities and rural Australia, and inspire others.

The Victorian winner will be announced in April and will receive $15,000 towards their project.

They will also go on to represent Victoria at the National Award, a Gala event at Parliament House in September.

The national winner will receive a further $20,000 towards their project, and the national runner-up $15,000.

In 2023, Victoria’s Glenmore-based co-founder of Grown Not Flown, Nikki Davis, took out the National prize.

She said the award felt like recognition for the challenges she has faced as a female founder working across both the agriculture and technology sectors.

‘I am not a natural farmer, I don’t know how to fix a fence, and I would prefer to stay indoors when it is windy outside,’ Ms Davis said.

‘What I am good at is problem solving, working with technology and data, and believing that we can change the world with our ideas.’

This year’s finalists are:

  • Georgina Morrison, from Hamilton, formed the Creative Toolkit to help position rural Australia as a hub for competitive creatives. The online academy aims to empower rural creatives to expand their profitable skillsets.
  • Grace Larson, from Kyneton, formed The Sisterhood Project to mitigate the barriers of distance and affordability for parents and carers in rural areas. The Project aims to deliver free access to essential paediatric first aid training for vulnerable groups, to help curb higher child mortality rates in rural Australia.
  • Reeanjou Ram, based in Melbourne but raised in Fiji, founded iTrazo Tracetech to help bridge the gap between Australia’s rural producers and their metropolitan consumers. iTrazo offers digital traceability services to mitigate transport risks for producers and better inform customers.
  • Sarah Holmes, from Mildura, founded EnviroEDU to promote environment, conservation and sustainability awareness in rural and regional communities. EnviroEDU aims to educate children at the grassroots level to help contribute to conserving our natural ecosystems.

In addition to the Victorian AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award, the Victorian Government is supporting women in agriculture and rural communities more broadly with a suite of programs that provide leadership skills and support resilience and connection for women across rural Victoria.

For more information about the award visit the Agriculture Victoria website.

Beware of water weeds
Lake covered in salvinia weed

As two of the world’s most invasive water weeds, salvinia and water hyacinth threaten our food growing communities and environment.

These weeds may look attractive, but they are highly invasive and quickly cover waterways.

If you suspect you have water hyacinth or salvinia on your property, please email a photo to, or call us on 136 186.

You can also make a report via the Agriculture Victoria website -

Horticultural Netting Program now open

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.

Grant opportunity – Vic Grown Regional Activation Grants Program
farmers market

The Vic Grown Regional Activation Grants Program is now open.

Grants of up to $70,000 are available to hold local events that showcase local food and beverages in the regions where they are produced.

Applications close 16 February 2024 at 11.59pm.

Click here to apply for a grant and view program eligibility and guidelines.

Recruitment drive for food safety boards

State food safety regulators PrimeSafe and Dairy Food Safety Victoria (DFSV) are looking for 11 new board members and applications are open now.

Five board positions are available at PrimeSafe, the state’s regulator for the food safety of meat, poultry, and seafood. Six board positions are up for renewal at DFSV, responsible for regulating Victoria’s dairy industry.

Agriculture Victoria Executive Director Dr Trevor Pisciotta encouraged applicants with a variety of backgrounds to join the boards.

‘We’re looking for candidates with expertise and skills across many different areas to lead the strategic direction of the regulators,’ Dr Pisciotta said.

‘It’s vital the boards have members who can provide practical knowledge of and expertise in Victoria’s meat and dairy industries.’

‘Equally, we need representation from diverse backgrounds and welcome applications from those with experience in governance, finance, legal and business.’

Dr Pisciotta emphasised the importance of meeting high food safety standards in the state, which underpins Victoria’s access to interstate and international markets.

‘Victoria’s regulators play a vital role in upholding Australia’s food safety standards which strengthens our world-class reputation in the meat, seafood and dairy industries.’

‘Our regulatory system is focused on protecting public health and maintaining consumer confidence in the meat and dairy produced in Victoria,’ Dr Pisciotta said.

The regulators use a licensing and inspection system to ensure that Victorian meat, seafood and dairy businesses comply with the strict safety standards.

Applications are welcome from people with demonstrated industry knowledge and experience across meat, seafood and dairy production or processing.

Applications are also encouraged from those experienced in public health and other relevant governance, legal, finance and other skills. This diversity is critical to having a well-balanced board.

Candidates will ideally have Board experience and knowledge in best practice regulation, corporate governance and risk management.

Applications for PrimeSafe board close on Monday 19 February, and applications for DFSV board close on Monday 26 February.

Mosquitoes can spread serious diseases
illustration of mosquito biting on an orange background

The risk of mosquito-borne diseases is highest in October to late April in Victoria, as mosquito numbers peak.

Mosquito-borne diseases include Japanese encephalitis (JE).

JE is a rare but potentially serious infection of the brain caused by a virus that can spread to humans through mosquito bites.

The best way to prevent mosquito-borne diseases is to avoid mosquito bites.

  • Cover up – wear long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing as mosquitoes can bite through tight clothing.
  • Use mosquito repellents containing picaridin or DEET on all exposed skin.  Apply over the top of sunscreen and reapply after swimming or sweating.
  • Limit outdoor activity if lots of mosquitoes are about.
  • Remove stagnant water where mosquitoes can breed around your home or campsite.
  • On holidays make sure your accommodation is fitted with mosquito netting or screens.
  • Don’t forget the kids – always check the insect repellent label. On babies, you might need to spray or rub repellent on their clothes instead of their skin.
  • Avoid applying repellent to the hands of babies or young children.
  • Use ‘knockdown’ fly sprays and plug-in repellent devices indoors.
  • Consider using a mosquito net that is treated with a residual insecticide if sleeping outdoors, including sleeping in a tent or cabin.
  • Mosquito coils can be effective in small outdoor areas where you gather to sit or eat.


Be prepared – JE is a rare but serious infection. Vaccination can protect you.


JE vaccine is free for eligible Victorians, visit your GP or local immunisation provider.

You are eligible for free JE vaccination if you:

  • live in high-risk areas of Victoria and meet additional criteria
  • live or work at properties with pigs
  • are going to high-risk areas for seasonal work.

Click here for more information on the eligibility criteria.

If you are going to high-risk areas for seasonal work, you are eligible to have a free JE vaccination, regardless of Medicare status.

Please note, while the vaccine is free-of-charge, some providers may charge an administration or consultation fee. Be sure to check if this applies to you.

A practical guide for older farmers and their families
image of pile of brochures about making our far famiies safer

When looking at the overall picture of farm incidents in Victoria and Australia, there are 2 standout statistics.

Ag industry workers over 60 years of age were involved in 41.8% of farming fatalities nationally in 2022, and nearly 40% of all the of the ag industry workplace fatalities involve the farmer themselves, or their immediate family members.

The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) recognises there is a clear need to engage with older farmers in its mission to improve the safety outcomes for the Victorian farming sector.

More importantly, the VFF shares a mutual desire with farming families across Victoria, to do as much as we can to ensure that older farmers remain as safe and healthy as they can, for as long as possible.

This handbook is realistic about what is possible, and is written from a place of compassion by people who are in the industry, and who have a deep understanding of the challenges in this space.

Conversations about ageing and succession are not easy ones to have, because they touch on identity, legacy and the rights of the individual vs. the family vs. the community.

This handbook also acknowledges that the pathways for farmers as they age are not clear-cut.

There is no one ‘right way’, only a whole lot of options from which to choose the best path for each family or situation.

Download the free booklet here.

Mallee CMA Salinity Survey
image of chopper over irrigation field

An upcoming aerial survey along the Murray River will be undertaken by a low-flying helicopter, with a receiver underneath it.

This survey will collect information on salinity to help protect our environment and irrigation industries for the next 20 years. 

Horse and livestock owners -- please consider how your animals may respond and plan accordingly.

Find out more at 

Sign up to the Weed Spotter newsletter
Image of hyacinth weed

The Weed Spotter newsletter keeps registered Weed Spotters up to date on the latest news in the Agriculture Victoria High Risk Invasive Plants program.

This includes new State prohibited weed discoveries in Victoria, progress of eradication programs and species case studies.

Subscribe to the Weed Spotter newsletter here.

Be on the lookout for blue green algae in farm dams

Recent flooding combined with warmer weather has increased the risk of blue-green algal blooms in farm dams.

Recognise the signs – blooms typically appear as surface scum that looks like a suspension of green paint, often with an earthy smell.

If a suspicious bloom is noticed, stock should be removed as quickly as possible, and a safe alternative water supply provided.

Blue-green algae can cause poisoning in livestock.

Learn more HERE


Supporting the Recovery and Rebuild after Victorian Floods

Victorian communities affected by the recent December and January storms and floods will receive additional support from the Victorian and Australian Governments.

The package announced this week includes more than $105 million for increased financial assistance to support the immediate and long-term recovery and rebuild phase.


Communications expert and agronomist each win grains industry awards

South Australian agricultural communicator and facilitator Belinda Cay and South Australian agronomist Jana Dixon have each won a Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) award.


Opportunities abound for STEM students in agriculture

Students at all levels of education with a passion for STEM are benefitting from Agriculture Victoria’s broadening education program.


Good disease management to be discussed at BCG Trials Review Day

'Good crop disease management will be required in 2024 due to the early summer rain events and potential disease risk in south-east of Victoria,' Agriculture Victoria Research Scientist Dr Hari Dadu has confirmed


Want to learn about biosecurity in your backyard?

Victorian small-scale property and livestock owners can now access a new resource to help navigate the world of livestock and farming.

Agriculture Victoria’s ‘Backyard Biosecurity’ newsletter covers everything you need to know about good biosecurity management, with new editions released weekly.


Keep unwanted BBQ pests away this summer

There’s nothing better than tucking into homegrown tomatoes or a fruit platter at a BBQ, but not when you find Queensland fruit fly (QFF) have made a head start.


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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.

Adaptive skills for your farming future - Lake Bolac

14 - 15 February

12 noon – 2:30 pm

Lake Bolac
Lake Bolac Football Netball Clubrooms
137 Frontage Rd

Register here.


Grain and mixed farmers are invited to a short course for your farm business future.

Presenter: Dr Kate Burke
Kate is an independent farm consultant who has a PhD and extensive experience in crop agronomy and dryland agriculture. 

Topics include:

  • Key profit drivers and high-level benchmarks
  • Income vs cost of production and impact of rotation
  • Calculating basic financial benchmarks
  • Understanding your personal appetite for risk
  • Understanding your production potential to assess variation in profit
  • Managing climate variability and farm financial performance
  • Scenario planning for the 2024 season and beyond.
Beverford Community Biosecurity Breakfast

17 February
8 - 9.30 am

Beverford Town Hall
School Road


Join us for a free community barbecue breakfast and discussion with Agriculture Victoria’s Mixed Farming Development Officer Roger Harrower who will present on the importance of implementing good biosecurity practices on your property.

Also included:

  • Templates to complete a biosecurity plan for your farm
  • Free 'DO NOT ENTER' signs for your property gates.

Contact Roger Harrower on 0407 729 024 or email for further information and to register.

GRDC Grains Research Update – Bendigo

20 - 21 February

Ulumbarra Theatre
Gaol Road


Registrations now open. See GRDC Events page.

The GRDC Grains Research Update events are for agronomists, consultants, researchers and growers to hear and discuss the latest in research with their peers, about application of new and relevant information to local farming systems.

Birchip Cropping Group Trials Review Day 2024
aerial view of header harvesting

Presenters at Birchip Cropping Group's Trials Review Day will provide important results from the 2023 research year to apply to your farming business in 2024.

Members only event.

Click here to register now.

Making sense of carbon and emissions for Victorian farmers

27 February

Noon to 1 pm

Visit our event page to learn more or register here


Victorian farm businesses are getting on with the job of growing more food and fibre, while dealing with changeable seasons and weather patterns.

We also know that more attention is being paid to the carbon and emissions performance of our agricultural industries and farms.

In this webinar, Agriculture Victoria's climate team will share some of the carbon and emissions tools and resources they have developed to support the farming communities of Victoria make sense of carbon and emissions on farm.


  • Heather Field, Climate Change Service Development Officer
  • Graeme Anderson, Climate Specialist
  • Alison Kelly, Farm Emissions Specialist.

For more information about this webinar, including assistance joining the webinar, email

HR employer of choice

27 February

9 am - 3 pm

Swan Hill
Agriculture Victoria office
324 Campbell Street

28 February

9 am - 3 pm

Murrayville Recreation Reserve Community Complex
Recreation Road

29 February

9 am - 3 pm

Ouyen Library Service Centre Meeting Room
79 Oke Street


Want to build a stronger, more productive farm business?

If you answered yes, then Agriculture Victoria has the workshop series for you.

You will leave each workshop with new skills and an action plan to help achieve your business goals. There is also an opportunity to engage in a free one-on-session with a farm business management consultant. Come along to find out more!

Learn legal and practical management practices when employing workers.

Contact Roger Harrower on 0407 729 024 or email or Darryl Pearl on 0417 432 711 or email.

Wimmera Machinery Field Days
Image of farmer feeding hay to their livestock
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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.



'Like' our Agriculture Victoria Facebook page.


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