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Thursday, 15 December 2022
In this edition:

Thank you for your support throughout 2022, and wishing you and your families a jolly holiday season.

Northern Ag News will be back on deck on Thursday, 2 February 2023.

Flood information
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We are providing regular updates on upcoming events, past webinar recordings, resources and support available to flood affected Victorians via our flood recovery, events and resources newsletter.

To sign up click HERE

Grants for flood-affected farmers
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A support package is available for flood-affected farmers:

  • Primary Producer Recovery Grants: Up to $75,000 grants to cover the cost of recovery and get businesses up and running again. Note: This replaces the $10,000 Primary Producer Flood Clean–Up, Relief Grants announced on 19 October. Producers that have received a Primary Producer Flood Clean-Up Relief Grant of $10,000 can now apply for up to a further $65,000 under the Primary Producer Recovery Grant, bringing the total to $75,000.
  • Rural Landholder Grants: Up to $25,000 grants to cover the costs of disaster impacts for small-scale producers.
  • Primary Producer Concessional Loans: Up to $250,000 to restore or replace damaged equipment and infrastructure, or to cover the short-term business expenses.
  • Primary Producer Transport Subsidies: Up to $15,000 to support the transport of emergency fodder or stock drinking water, and the movement of livestock.

To apply for support or for more information, visit the Rural Finance website.

Increased risk of Japanese encephalitis (JE)
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Flooding and heavy rainfall have increased the risk of a range of mosquito-borne diseases in Victoria, including Japanese encephalitis (JE).

JE can cause illness in susceptible animal species including horses and pigs.

In pigs, the most common clinical signs are mummified and stillborn or weak piglets while horses usually show no signs of illness but can present with fever, jaundice, lethargy, neurological signs and anorexia.

For mosquito control advice visit the Farm Biosecurity website.

And for information about protecting yourself from JE, please follow the Victorian Department of Health or visit Better Health.

Taking care of yourself
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Have you been taking care of yourself?

During an emergency, people tend to exist in a survival state to get through the incident, using up considerable emotional reserves. 

If you’ve been working hard for long periods, missing meals and sleep, take some time to take care of yourself.

Recognise the signs of stress and reach out for support if you need it.

For a comprehensive list of health support agencies, click here

Practical tips for flood-affected farmers
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Go to our website for a range of practical flood recovery information for farmers, and helpful information on what to do immediately after a flood.

Find out more at

Rural Financial Counselling Service
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The Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) has an experienced team ready to assist primary producers and small rural businesses in recovery planning.

RFCS provides free financial counselling to farmers and small related businesses who are in, or at risk of, financial hardship.

They can also assist with filling in forms and grant applications.

For more information visit RFCS website

CLOSING SOON Livestock Biosecurity Grants
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There’s still time to apply for our Livestock Biosecurity Funds Grant Program.

Victoria’s Livestock Compensation Committees are seeking projects that boost biosecurity for the cattle, sheep and goat, swine and honey bee industries.

Applications close Friday 23 December. Discover more click here

Free biosecurity learning modules for farmers
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Farmers across Victoria will benefit from a series of free online learning modules, helping them protect their animals from diseases and biosecurity threats.

Available through Agriculture Victoria’s website, the three learning modules have been released: foot and mouth disease awareness, lumpy skin disease awareness and Come clean, stay clean, go clean – when visiting farms.

Each module should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.

For further information about the online learning modules CLICK HERE.

Farm biosecurity plans
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Are you currently working on or thinking about your on-farm biosecurity plan?

Here are the steps you need to consider:

  • Find a farm biosecurity template that works for you – there are options on our website
  • Adapt to your individual situation and your specific biosecurity risks
  • Add a BMP with mandatory content to your farm biosecurity plan
  • File it in a safe place and share with your staff.

Farmers should be aware that new laws have been introduced in Victoria enabling livestock producers to protect their property from unlawful trespassers.

To take advantage of these protections, producers must have compliant biosecurity signage and a BMP with mandatory information.

For more information about BMPs, visit

To find a farm biosecurity template that works for your farm, click here

Be aware of the pitfalls of the Ruminant Feed Ban
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Dr Jeff Cave, Senior Veterinary Officer

Most producers are already fully aware of the Ruminant Feed Ban, which has been in place in Australia for over 25 years.

The Ruminant Feed Ban is the banning of the feeding of Restricted Animal Material (RAM) to ruminants e.g. sheep and cattle.

You will see reference to the Ruminant Feed Ban and the presence or absence of Restricted Animal Material on the labelling of any bag of stock feed.

The Ruminant Feed Ban was introduced to help ensure Australia’s ongoing freedom from ‘Mad Cow disease’ also known as Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

The ban ensures that even if the BSE disease agent were ever introduced to Australia it would not be able to establish a cycle of infection and result in disease.

In other words, the Ruminant Feed Ban is protecting public and animal health, and the interests of our export trade.

Detections of BSE overseas have led to the imposition of trading restrictions with significant detrimental impacts on the affected farmers and the industry.

Restricted Animal Material is defined as any material taken from a vertebrate animal including meat, meat and bone meal, blood meal, fish meal, poultry meal and feather meal, manure, and compounded feeds made from these products.

Tallow, gelatin, milk, and milk products are not considered to be Restricted Animal Material.

Usually, it is clear whether a livestock feed has Restricted Animal Material that must not be fed to ruminants simply by reading the feed’s labelling.

Unfortunately, there have been instances where producers have inadvertently exposed their livestock to Restricted Animal Material.

The scenarios have included exposure of livestock to piles of poultry litter, and to offal, plus feeding bakery or restaurant waste or surplus, e.g., livestock waste vegetable oil that contained meat. All these scenarios later affected the producer’s ability to trade that livestock.

The take-home message is to consider whether any new source of feed you are planning to use contains Restricted Animal Material before introducing it to your livestock. 

For further advice please contact your local Agriculture Victoria Veterinary or Animal Health Officer, or in NSW your Local Land Services.

Tips to recover bogged machinery safely

With the recent flooding and significant rain events across the state, you may be worried about bogged machinery on your property.

Have a plan for recovery before starting work in the paddock:

  • check conditions before entering areas where the ground could be boggy
  • assess the situation:
  1. can you wait for drier conditions?
  2. can you dig out the farm machinery?
  • think about maps to show boggy areas to contractors and employees
  • reduce or remove weight from the machinery
  • use suitable recovery equipment – check the ratings of straps and shackles so you know the working load limit (WLL) and break strength, and how to interpret for recovery
  • minimise people in the recovery area
  • check the communication between machinery operators, for example, use a phone or UHF radio
  • use appropriate anchor points
  • consider where (if any) weight can be added to the recovery vehicle
  • consider which direction to tow the bogged machinery
  • consider how the recovery vehicle will be positioned
  • place a dampener onto the recovery equipment.

For more information visit Worksafe's agriculture page.

Milking the Weather – summer edition available now
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Milking the Weather provides seasonal and climate risk information for the dairy industry four times a year at the beginning of summer, autumn, winter and spring.

Information includes regional round ups for the previous season, seasonal climate outlook summaries, strategies on managing the season ahead and case studies on farmers managing climate risk successfully on their farms.

The summer edition features:

  • the Victorian seasonal climate summary for spring and the summer outlook
  • farmer case studies with Hans van Wees from Tinamba in the Macalister Irrigation District in Central Gippsland, Craig Dwyer from Bullaharre in South-West Victoria, and Brett Findlay from Towong Upper in North-East Victoria
  • tips on managing through summer
  • the latest seasonal soil moisture condition assessment.

Read the summer edition of Milking the Weather here, download a copy and subscribe to future editions.

Tips from farmers: keeping a seasonal workforce safe
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Are you employing workers from the Pacific Islands, or do you know someone who is?

Our state’s seasonal workforce is vital for harvest, and we want to keep everyone safe and operational during this busy time.

Seasonal workers can face unique risks on farms, so Victoria’s Pacific Island community has worked with us to create straightforward safety resources.

The videos, posters, and guides can help with induction and training, and are available in five languages:

  • Bislama
  • Fijian
  • Tongan
  • Samoan
  • English.

View the resources and share the link to help keep seasonal workers safe.

Tips from farmers: keeping a seasonal workforce safe

Jon Van Popering oversees all Australian operations at Seeka Australia, including nine orchards and two post-harvest facilities scattered through the Bunbartha area, just north of Shepparton.

Seeka employs a seasonal workforce from a diverse range of backgrounds and nationalities.

Jon approaches induction and training as if all staff are brand new, even if they’ve worked on other farms.

This means everyone receives thorough and consistent information.

Watch the video to hear our Q&A with John, or visit our website for more tips.

Recent webinar recordings

Plus, join Carmen Quade's online self-paced learning modules where you can increase your skills in Microsoft Excel in your own time for the subsidised rate of $50. *Codes valid to the first 30 participants of each module. Register your interest online.

Pest and Parasite Control Practices in Aust. Livestock - National Survey by University of Western Australia

Livestock producers are invited to participate in an online survey about the current practices for pest and parasite control in livestock.

The topics covered during this survey will include current management strategies for pests and parasites of livestock on your farm and some of the issues you may face in their management as well as your thoughts relating to other potential control strategies.

Producers are being asked to participate in this survey because you are a livestock producer based in Australia and our research team values your insight.

Your views and responses will feed into further research that will help researchers to understand the needs of livestock farmers in Australia and may contribute to future control methods.

This study aims to identify the current use of drench products and the attitudes towards related topics and issues experienced across Australia whilst highlighting the key drivers and motivations behind the choices made for internal parasite control.

The survey should take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete.

Please find the link to the survey HERE

Approval to conduct this research has been provided by the University of Western Australia Human Ethics Committee (REF: 2020/ET000093), in accordance with its ethics review and approval procedures.

Producers help is greatly appreciated. Please do not hesitate to get in contact if you have any questions.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of this study please feel free to contact either Theo Evans on 08 6488 8672 or via or Megan Lewis via

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.

RESCHEDULED – Energy Webinar – Smarter electricity management: Doing more with less
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Due to technical issues this webinar has been rescheduled for Monday, 19 December. 

Do you want to find more practical ways to reduce your electricity costs?  We are hosting an online forum to explore practical measures for increasing energy productivity and reducing your electricity bill.

When: Monday, 19 December, 11.30 am.

Smarter electricity management – see how your smart meter data can help you find for your farm (and home):

  • cheaper electricity deals
  • awareness of your electricity tariff to save money
  • how best to use solar and batteries
  • energy saving opportunities.

Join our webinar to find out all this and more money saving ideas.

Energy expert David Coote will be presenting on energy saving opportunities and best use of solar and batteries and much more.

Please register HERE or contact Kelly Wickham for information on 0456 772 641 or

Traceability Hub Launch
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Are you an agribusiness looking to build or improve your supply chain?

Join us for the online launch of the Agriculture Victoria Traceability Information Hub.

Where: Online
When: Friday 16 December
Time: 10 – 11 am.

The Hub is a new resource for industry to access traceability information.

It provides a central, online place to inform, educate and connect businesses along the supply chain.

Register NOW to attend.

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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.


Follow us on Twitter @VicGovAg


Subscribe to the Agriculture Victoria YouTube channel. 


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