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Barwon South-West Ag news
Thursday 14 March 2024
In this edition:
Support and resources for fire affected farmers
what to do after a bushfire

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.

Prepare for hot weather
avoid livestock heat stress

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.

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.

After the Flood podcast series - episode 4
agriculture victoria agvictalk

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

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.

Consultation on animal welfare laws - closing soon
help shape Victoria's new animal care and protection laws

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.

The consultation is open until Monday, 25 March.

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

Horticultural Netting Program
netting over an orchard

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 podcast - Agtech Innovators Season 2 Episode 3
agtech innovators adventures in ag tech with sarah nolet

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

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.

Agriculture Victoria Executive Director Katherine Clift said the Biosecurity Reference Group would play a vital role in ensuring Victoria’s biosecurity response reflects the entire system.

‘The new Biosecurity Strategy outlines how we can work together to manage biosecurity risks and build our resilience to emerging threats,’ Dr Clift said.

‘That’s why it is important the Biosecurity Reference Group is filled with people from across Victoria’s biosecurity system who can represent the many different interests that biosecurity touches.’

Applications are invited from people from all affected groups, including Traditional Owners, agriculture, supply chain, community and environment.

The original Biosecurity Reference Group played a pivotal role in guiding the development of Victoria’s new Biosecurity Strategy.

Their expertise ensured the strategy prioritised collaboration and engagement across the biosecurity system to respond to issues, marking a significant shift in Victoria’s biosecurity policy.

Dr Clift emphasised the importance of continuing to strengthen how Victoria manages emerging biosecurity threats such as foot-and-mouth disease and red imported fire ants.

‘The renewed Biosecurity Reference Group will help guide the implementation of the strategy, including how we should measure success,’ Dr Clift said.

‘This will help safeguard our farms and parks, pets and gardens, our native plants and animals, the safety of our food, cultural integrity of our landscapes and success of our industries.

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

Don’t forget to register online to receive updates on implementation and upcoming engagement opportunities.

Reminder – phaseout of 3G network
a solar operated gateway camera

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.

Fox and wild dog bounty resumes
Bounty banner image

Victoria’s bounty collections resumed on 4 March 2024.

Please continue to check our website for the latest information, collection centres and dates. CLICK HERE

For any assistance, please speak to our bounty collection staff on collection days or call our Customer Service Centre on 136 186.

In case you missed it

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.


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.

People management, planning for success - Hamilton

Beef producers in Hamilton areas are invited to a free farm business success workshop with Helen Chenoweth, Agriculture Victoria Business Resilience Officer.

Helen will share her experience and knowledge in employing workers and creating great teamwork on farms, including working with family members.

People management can be challenging if you’re not up to date with the right information. Helen will cover important aspects of employment such as recruitment, legal requirements, wages and superannuation to set you up for success.

Get all the tips and tools to create a productive, positive workplace culture, how to attract and retain staff and how to deal with conflict. Helen will also touch on where to start with succession planning and farm safety.


  • DATE: Tuesday 19 March
  • TIME: 10 am - 2 pm
  • WHERE: Agriculture Victoria office, 915 Napier Road, Hamilton
Today, Tomorrow and Beyond - Geelong

DATE: Monday 18 and Tuesday 19 March

WHERE: GMHBA Stadium, 370 Moorabool Street, Geelong

TIME: 9:30 am - 4 pm


The Conference will host a diverse audience of local and international speakers, farmers, and industry delegates from the dairy and beef sectors.

The central theme of the 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 Research Director Professor Jennie Pryce will present as part of the conference on breeding for sustainability and resilience, while Research Scientist Dr Jo Newton will talk on the role of genetic improvement in creating greater integration between our dairy and beef industries.

Calculating carbon for sheep and beef producers

WHEN: Tuesday 19 March

WHERE: Mercure Hotel and Convention Centre, 613 Main Rd, Ballarat

TIME: 9 am - 1 pm


Join Professor Richard Eckard to learn why carbon is important, how to calculate your farm emissions and be part of an interactive question and answer session.

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 Richard and other Agriculture Victoria emissions specialists.
MLA Goat Roadshow Webinar
MLA goat webinar banner image

DATE: Tuesday, 19 March

TIME: 7 pm.

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.

To register for this webinar, click here

Working on worms

Calling all western Victoria sheep producers.

ParaBoss is developing a one-day workshop for sheep producers to help them improve their on-farm productivity and overall success of managing worms on farms.

You are invited to attend a pilot workshop on 19 March to discuss the main internal parasites of sheep, including the life cycles and impacts on livestock of worms.

Learn about:

  • the cost of worms to the Australian sheep industry
  • the different worms that affect sheep and their life cycles
  • best practice worm control
  • minimising the onset, development and impact of drench resistance
  • worm egg counts and what they tell you
  • how to use grazing management to help reduce the impact of worms in your flock
  • how to use the ParaBoss tools – what product, when, dose rates, reading and understanding the label
  • effective use of drench.

The workshop will assist you with developing an integrated parasite management plan for your farm, which you will be able to implement on your property.

There is no cost to attend the workshop. By attending the pilot workshop, you will be asked for detailed feedback on the content, to help refine the workshop to meet industry needs. Your feedback will be treated confidentially.

Click here to register.

Sheep projections webinar

DATE: Tuesday 19 March

TIME: 10 am

The MLA invite you to join this webinar to look at the February 2024 Sheep Industry Projections report.

The report provides a comprehensive outlook on the sheep industry, including forecasts for the national flock, sheep and lamb supply and carcase weights.

Key points will include:

  • the sheep flock is expected to reduce slightly driven by record lamb slaughter and elevated sheep turnoff
  • lamb slaughter is projected to reach record levels two years in a row, climbing to 23.7 million in 2024
  • sheep slaughter to remain high, driven by a large and productive breeding flock.

Click here to register.

Southern Farming Systems events

March 25 - Sheep Containment Workshop – Dunkeld

March 27 - Sheep Containment Workshop – Inverleigh

Find out more at

Calm the Farm event - Inverleigh
national centre for farmer health calm the farm

Are you interested in reducing risks to mental health in your farm workplace by improving your work systems, or doing things a bit differently?

Join us for an interactive and engaging two-hour workshop that explores ways of reducing work-related stress.

Connect with other local farmers as you focus on practical solutions to improve job satisfaction and effectiveness for you and your team. Continue the conversation over a nutritious meal – ON US!

WHERE: Inverleigh Public Hall, 71 High Street, Inverleigh

WHEN: Tuesday 26 March

TIME: 5 pm for a 5:30 pm start, followed by dinner.

RSVP is essential by 18 March to Hannah Walker or Brooke Greig on (03) 5267 1200 or

Shearer and wool handling training

The Australian Wool Innovation Limited (AWI) have released the upcoming shearer and wool handling training course schedule for 2024 that is fully funded by AWI and available for participants who meet certain criteria, with the following offered:

Novice Shearing and Wool Handling Course

This is a five-day practical shearing course for new entrant shearers to learn the skills required to be a professional shearer.

Improver School

This training is intended for those already working in industry and have experience in shearing. With limited spots available, it is recommended to register early.

If you are interested in attending any of the above courses, please contact the AWI team at

To view the full 2024 schedule visit the AWI website.

BestWool/Best Lamb and BetterBeef Conference - save the date
Save the date bestwool bestlamb and better beef 2024

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 BestWool/BestLamb and BetterBeef on 20 June.

Further details will be coming as plans are finalised.

2024 Landcare Forum - Bendigo

The 2024 Landcare forum will be held on Wednesday 8, Thursday 9 and Friday 10 May in Bendigo. 

Find out more at

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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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