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Beef and Sheep Networks Newsflash
24 December 2022

In this edition

What's On

Ag Recovery Support

What's New

Beef and Sheep News

Best Wool / Best Lamb

Better Beef

Quick Links

The Beef and Sheep Networks team wish you all a safe and enjoyable holiday season.

The next edition of the Newsflash is scheduled for February 24, 2023.

Heading: What's On

PLEASE NOTE: The events listed below may be subject to last minute cancellation in the event of an emergency or advice from Victoria’s Chief Health Officer.

Save the date for  the Bestwool Bestlamb and BetterBeef regional roadshows. Wangaratta February 28 2023, Sale March 1srt 2023 Buninyong March 2 2023 and Dunkeld March 3 2023

Flood recovery webinars 

Agriculture Victoria recently held a series of free webinars on flood recovery, featuring techincal specialists on the following topics: 

Repairing erosion damage to roads, tracks, stream crossings and dams – with Clem Sturmfels, Agriculture Victoria

Flood recovery: Control and repair of paddock-based erosion  with Clem Sturmfels, Agriculture Victoria 

Flood recovery: Biosecurity planning after floods – with Kate McCue, Agriculture Victoria 

Flood recovery: Feed budgeting  with Fiona Baker, Agriculture Victoria

Flood recovery: Animal health  with Dr Rachel Gibney, Agriculture Victoria

Cash flow budgeting  with Carmen Quade, AgriFocused, Passcode: CASHFLOW

Listen to the webinar recordings, using the passcode: Livestock 

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Heading: Ag Recovery Support

A support package is available for flood-affected farmers  

  • Primary Producer Clean-Up Relief Grants: Up to $75,000 grants to cover the cost of the clean-up and get businesses up and running again.
  • 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.

Visit the Rural Finance website to read more and apply.

Rural Financial Counselling Service 

The Rural Financial Counselling Service provides free financial counselling to agricultural industries and small rural businesses.

For more information visit the National Emergency Management Agency website.

Sewage and livestock 

Animal owners should avoid livestock having any contact with sewage contaminated water or areas where sewage contamination has occurred.

Cattle and pigs that come into contact with untreated sewage can develop parasitic infections caused by the human tapeworms Taenia solium andTaenia saginata respectively.

The infection of Taenia saginata in cattle is called Cysticercus bovis (‘beef measles’) and is notifiable in Victoria. For more information head to our Notifiable diseases webpage.

If sewage contamination is suspected on your property notify Agriculture Victoria on 1800 226 226.

Recovery services that Agriculture Victoria provides

Agriculture Victoria can offer technical advice on:

  • pasture recovery and grazing management
  • soil erosion management
  • animal health, nutrition, and feed budgeting
  • whole farm planning
  • water quality and water budgeting
  • farm water reticulation and dam management
  • farm business planning.

Producers seeking assistance or advice are encouraged to contact the Agriculture Victoria Ag Recovery Team on 1800 226 226.

For more information on farm management during and after floods, including a flood resource directory visit the Agriculture Victoria website.

Increased risk of Japanese encephalitis (JE)

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. 

Plus, for information about protecting yourself from JE, please visit the Victorian Department of Health. 

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Heading: What's New

The spring edition of Sheep Notes is out now and includes articles on summer forage crops for lambs; seasonal reminders (and access to relevant articles); dung beetles; feed supplements to reduce methane and more.

In addition, don't miss our popular digital tip in Sheep Notes – getting the sound to work in Zoom, plus an app to tell you where you are (when you are not that digitally capable).

Also, as we head into summer and pasture feed deteriorates, there are a number of tools and resources for feeding beef and sheep that can help you work out what and how much they need; assess pastures; simple cash spreadsheets (how much will you need to buy and what the cost) etc. 

Costing supplements will be all the more important given the forecast for a low supply of quality hay and grain this year. These can be found in the tools and calculators section in both the sheep and beef resources tabs.

The website provides some tools to help you do that costing comparison for the cheapest feed, how to do and interpret a feed test as well as access to the Dairy Australia site that has regional up to date prices for feed grain and hay. Latest Sheep Notes available HERE

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Heading: Beef and Sheep News

Ongoing wet conditions can lead to a range of animal health concerns for livestock producers including (but not limited to) Barber’s pole, foot abscesses and foot scald, scours and liver fluke. Read more about each health condition and integrated herd and flock health management options on the Agriculture Victoria website.

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When pastures and conserved fodder are in limited supply due to the impacts of a flood, it is important to have a good understanding of the current nutritional requirements of herds and flocks now, and for the weeks and months ahead during the recovery process.

Excellent resources are available to assist with planning the nutritional needs of various classes of stock on our Feeding Livestock website where you can download the emergency feed and water budget planner to plan out requirements.

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Dr Guy Jackson

International researchers have approached East Gippsland and Wellington Shire Councils to collaborate on worldwide research looking into the impacts of extreme events on agricultural producers.

Lund University, in conjunction with the University of Montana (United States), is surveying agricultural producers in the United States (Montana), Sweden (Skane), Bangladesh, Cambodia, Martinique, and, eastern Victoria.

Dr Guy Jackson, (pictured) from Lund University Centre of Sustainable Studies, said they are reaching out to specifically understand the experiences of eastern Victoria producers who have experienced extreme weather events, such as drought, heatwaves, floods and bushfires.

This research is timely considering the impact of floods in south east Australia during 2022. Many countries are reporting increasing severity of extreme events and scientists are linking this to a changing climate. And yet, we still know little about how people on the ground experience these events.

From current completed surveys around the world, perceptions of impacts, responsibility to respond, and the influence of climate change are mixed. Local knowledge and experiences are crucial to inform international, national, and local science and policy.

By participating in this survey, agricultural producers can voice their important views on these critical issues, which will inform science and policy locally and around the world.

If you are a farmer in eastern Victoria, you are invited to complete the survey and provide your feedback.

The survey and related information can be accessed HERE


Megan Lewis, a PhD student at the University of Western Australia. is researching control methods of pest and parasites of livestock used by farmers across Australia.

Megan recently launched a national survey aimed at dairy, beef and sheep farmers.

To learn more, click HERE.

Contact Megan on 0460 649 147 or

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Heading: BestWoo/BestLamb

BestWool/BestLamb is a partnership between Agriculture Victoria and Australian Wool Innovation Limited, which provides a network facilitating information exchange that enables producers to implement improvements in key aspects of their business.

Lyndon Kubeil, Senior Sheep Specialist 0418 532 085 or email

Alison Desmond, BestWool/BestLamb Project Leader 0409 424 274 or email

BWBL Lamb logo, AWI logo

Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) website has a range of information for wool producers affected by flooding. Visit the AWI website to access recovery resources.

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The latest edition of Sheep Notes is now available.

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The results from the first Sheep Producer Intentions survey (formally known as the MLA and AWI Sheepmeat and Wool survey) have been released.

This survey, which operated under a new format this year, gauges producers’ intentions for their flocks, as well as flock numbers.

The new format allowed for a deeper understanding of the breed makeup of the national flock, along with sales channels used by producers across different states and farm sizes.

Key points:

  • 46 per cent of sheep producers are looking to increase their flocks within the next 12 months.
  • Input costs and access to skilled labour were some of the main concerns from participants.
  • Saleyards continue to be the primary sales channel for sheep and lamb sales, highlighting their importance in the industry.

For more information visit MLA.

To download the full survey report click here.

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The Australian Wool Production Forecasting Committee (AWPFC) has updated its forecast of shorn wool production for the 2022/23 season.

This third forecast is for production of 340 million kilograms (Mkg) greasy, unchanged from the September forecast, and a 5.0 per cent increase on the 2021/22 estimated shorn wool production of 324 Mkg greasy.

Committee Chairman, Stephen Hill said above average to highest on record rainfall deciles throughout most wool producing regions has produced abundant pasture feed contributing to a further rebuilding in the Australian sheep flock and high fleece weights.

"Australian flock numbers are forecast to increase by 4.6 per cent year on year, with the number of sheep shorn rising to 74.9 million head during 2022/23 – the highest since 2017/18," Mr Hill said.

To learn more visit AWI.

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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. Limited spots available, please register your interest for the course.

Fully funded by AWI and available for participants that meet certain criteria, please register your interest for the course.

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

To learn more visit AWI.

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The sheep and lamb market has seen some ups and downs in 2022.

As the year draws to a close Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) takes a look at the prices, yardings and slaughter over the past 12 months. To read more visit MLA.

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Heading: BetterBeef
BetterBeef logo

BetterBeef is an Agriculture Victoria coordinated producer and service provider network with a focus on increasing the profitability and sustainability of beef enterprises. It aims to grow and support a strong producer network featuring genuine partnerships with the private sector in co-design and delivery.


Darren Hickey, BetterBeef Project Leader 0457 609 140 or email

Cows and calves

The breeder herd is the engine room of a southern Australian cow-calf beef enterprise.

The decisions made about which females to retain and which to remove will affect the productivity of the enterprise for many years so it’s important to have a good system that everyone in the business is familiar with, and ensure that decisions are made on reliable and objective information and data.

A recent article by Alastair Rayner, genetics editor for, discusses a strategy he has seen used in many operations called the TOE system of breeder section.

  • 'T' = Temperament – temperament in breeders in important for many reasons including reproductive rate, weaning weights, breeder productivity (kg calves weaned per cow weight) and of course safety.
  • 'O' = Older cows – hanging on to those older breeders could be costing you money. Having a clear set of benchmarks for older cows will assist you when it comes time to parting ways with the older cows.
  • 'E' = Empty – empty females are non-productive passengers in the enterprise.

To read the article in full, click visit BeefCentral/genetics

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Beef week map

The Stock and Land Beef Week (Victoria/NSW) is just over five weeks away.

Day 1 of Beef Week commences on Friday 7 January (Gippsland) and runs through until Day 8, Friday 3 February (south west Victoria).

Beef Week is a time when traditionally many beef seedstock producers across Victoria and southern NSW open up their stud to visitors to showcase their latest bulls.

If making a bull purchase during Beef Week is on the cards, it is a good time to review your on-farm biosecurity plan, ensuring that you have considered the animal health risks to your own herd when bringing in outside animals. has a range of resources specifically tailored for beef cattle producers. 

Agriculture Victoria also has good resources for bull buyers, including Bringing Bulls Home From Sale which looks at induction of new bulls, diseases to watch out for (which should be in the farm biosecurity plan) and some other useful resources from MLA, and Angus Society of Australia.

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The female slaughter rate is the lowest on record.

The herd rebuild is in full swing, with the pandemic, extreme wet weather events, strong competition between feedlot buyers and restockers, fears about exotic animal diseases and the demand and supply of cattle that meet consumer demands for quality have been the main drivers in the national beef market for 2022.

To read more visit MLA

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Feeding Livestock Website

For tools, calculators, resources and livestock feed planning guides, visit the website.

Logo: feeding livestock website
Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) wool market review
Image: AWI logo

For weekly commentary on the wool market from AWI trade specialists, visit the website.

Market reports and prices
image: MLA logo

Meat and Livestock Australia’s (MLA's) market information service provides producers with accurate, timely and independent market information, allowing them to make profitable business decisions.

For the latest cattle market reports, visit the MLA website.

AgVic podcasts: listen now to the latest episodes

AgVic Talk podcast series delivers knowledge and information in a format that suits the way farmers and agricultural professionals work and live today.

Latest episode: Skills needed to supply fresh organic food, with Nathan Free 

For all things climate and farming listen to Agriculture Victoria's My Rain Gauge is Busted podcast series.

Latest episode: Making decisions with the decision matrix

AWI podcast - The Yarn

Domestic processing: dream or reality 

Only 5 per cent of the entire Australian wool clip can be processed domestically, leaving the wool industry vulnerable. 

Wool Producers Australia has just released 'Ensuring a suatainable future for Australia's wool supply chain'  a comprehensive report into this very issue. Hear WPA General Manager Adam Dawes talk through the report and where this important issue heads from here.

Read the report here

Listen to The Yarn podcast.

Follow AWI on social media for the latest on sheep and wool @Facebook and @Twitter

Image: The Yarn - AWI podcast
The Fast Break Seasonal Climate Update

For the latest edition of The Fast Break – an update of seasonal climate drivers and outlooks.

The Fast Break details oceanic and atmospheric climate driver activity over the last month and summarises three month model predictions for the Pacific and Indian oceans, rainfall and temperature for Victoria.

Image: The Fast Break
Livestock and animals
Agriculture Victoria logo

Visit Agriculture Victoria’s website for the latest information and resources relating to livestock and animals.

Workshops and events

Agriculture Victoria is delivering workshops, farm walks and online information sessions. Visit the Agriculture Victoria website for a list of upcoming events.

Follow Agriculture Victoria on social media
@Facebook and @Twitter

Rural Financial Counselling Service

The RFCS provides free financial counselling to farmers and small related businesses who are in, or at risk of, financial hardship. Counsellors can also assist applicants to apply for the Farm Household Allowance (FHA).

For more information visit the NEMA website.  

National Centre for Farmer Health

The National Centre for Farmer Health (NCFH) provides health and safety education and advice to farmers and their families via the Online Ag Health program. 

For more information visit the National Centre for Farmer Health

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