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Friday 8 December 2023
Matching soil performance indicators to farming systems survey

In this edition:

Regional Drought Resilience Plans – CLOSE 10 DECEMBER
have you say, Loddon Campaspe, Mallee and Ovens Murray regional drought resilence plans

Agriculture Victoria has been working with members of the Ovens Murray, Loddon Campaspe and Mallee communities to prepare a draft Drought Resilience Plan for the region.  

The Drought Resilience Plans propose themes, outcomes, and actions to better prepare the region for future droughts and help them to thrive in challenging times.

We invite all local community members to have their say on the draft plans by visiting EngageVic website before 10 December 2023.

We encourage all interested parties to ‘follow’ the Regional Drought Resilience EngageVic page for updates.

The Ovens Murray, Loddon Campaspe and Mallee Drought Resilience Plans are the final 3 plans to be developed across Victoria’s 9 regions as part of the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund in partnership with the Victorian Government. 

Community feedback on the draft Plans for the Ovens Murray, Loddon Campaspe and Mallee regions is currently being sought.

Plans for Great South Coast, Barwon and Central Highlands are currently being finalised following input from community members.

Plans for Gippsland, Goulburn and Wimmera Southern Mallee have been published and are available to view online.

More information on the plans, the Regional Drought Resilience Planning Program and the Future Drought Fund is available on the Agriculture Victoria website. 

For more information on the development of Regional Drought Resilience Plan in the Ovens Murray region contact Rod Hayes.

For the plans in the Loddon Campaspe and Mallee contact Richard Soppe.

Responses close 10 December.

National online biosecurity training hub now open!
national biosecurity training hub

Australia’s first one-stop shop for online biosecurity training is now open and available to anyone looking to increase their understanding about biosecurity.

Agriculture Victoria has partnered with Plant Health Australia (PHA), the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, and Animal Health Australia (AHA) to create the National Biosecurity Training Hub.

Agriculture Victoria Executive Director Dr Katherine Clift says biosecurity and emergency animal disease preparedness is a top priority for Victoria.

‘Victoria faces intensifying biosecurity risks – driven by climate change, increasing trade and travel, and changing land use,' Dr Clift said.

‘Small actions can have big impacts on preventing and managing the harms caused by pests and diseases. The things we do, or don’t do, can touch everything we value.'

Dr Clift said biosecurity was a matter for all Victorians, not just people on farms and the training hub is a great way for people to increase their understanding and knowledge.

‘We can all help prevent pests from getting into Victoria, contain outbreaks before they get out of hand, and manage established pests and weeds,’ she said.

The National Biosecurity Training Hub (the Hub) offers a central location with a database of online biosecurity training resources to help reduce the duplication of effort and costs associated with developing and delivering biosecurity training.

The Hub unifies and streamlines training to give national visibility of biosecurity-related training across government, industry and community in a single location.

The Hub is a centralised platform that supports biosecurity prevention, preparedness, response and recovery by providing users with access to the latest biosecurity-related training materials and courses suited to different industries, levels and skill sets.

Designed with learners in mind, the Hub is easy to navigate with a library of plant, animal and aquatic biosecurity training that is searchable using a topic, keyword, location, preferred method of delivery.

The quality assurance protocols in place ensure each course listed meets the required standard.

The Hub can be found at and features 64 online training courses with plans for continuous expansion.

Organisations with biosecurity training packages interested in contributing to the Hub are encouraged to make contact with PHA via

After the flood - new AgVic Talk podcast series - Intro
agriculture victoria agvic talk

Welcome to After the flood: stories of farmer recovery and resilience, season 7 of AgVic Talk. 

This season zeroes in on the practical aspects of preparing for, responding to, and recovering from natural disasters. 

In this introduction episode, Victoria’s Rural Assistance Commissioner, Peter Tuohey, says listeners will hear from farmers who’ve weathered floods, how they’re recovering and what they’ve learned along the way.  

The series has been produced by Agriculture Victoria in partnership with the National Centre for Farmer Health.

🎧🎧Listen online via the AgVic website.

After the flood podcast - Episode 1
agriculture victoria agvic talk

A realistic cash-flow budget, a good recovery plan (and a fair bit of built-in resilience), helped Ulunja farm – a 95-hectare Manuka tea tree plantation on the Murray River - navigate the October 2022 floods. 

Despite the blow of losing most of the plantings, the farm’s manager Chris Steele has remained positive about the future of the First Nations agriculture enterprise.

Listen via the AgVic website.

New dairy research gets to the root of soil health
black and white dairy cows eating grass

The Victorian Government is working closely with Victoria’s dairy industry to improve soil health through a new innovative research program.

Minister for Agriculture Ros Spence and Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture Michaela Settle visited Fernleigh Park Pastoral in Fiskville recently to launch the $7 million DairySoil project, coinciding with World Soil Day celebrations.

The DairySoil project will introduce cutting-edge farming practices to help reduce industry’s use of synthetic fertiliser, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, and increase productivity and resilience to climate change.

This program will utilise state-of-art sensors to measure, map, retain and recover the moisture and nutrient levels needed to produce reliable and sustainable soil.

In partnership with Dairy Australia and the Gardiner Foundation DairySoil is spearheading the initiative as part $42.5 million DairyFeedbase 23-28 program.

The DairyFeedbase 23-28 project is supporting transformational programs across soils, forages and animal nutrition over the next 5 years.

From researching soil health and pasture composition changes, to measuring and reducing methane emissions, the DairyFeedbase program will aim to increase the profitability and productivity of dairy farms while minimising their impact on the environment.

The projects will also link to other national research underway and make the most of Victoria's world-class facilities at Agriculture Victoria’s Ellinbank and Hamilton SmartFarms and the AgriBio Centre for AgriBiosciences in Bundoora.

For more information visit,

Free financial counselling with RFCS
RFCS banner image

Have you been impacted by recent floods, fires or dry seasonal conditions?

The Rural Financial Counselling Service provides a free and confidential financial counselling service to eligible farmers and small related enterprises who are experiencing, or at risk of, financial hardship.

They can help you to access available support, analyse your business situation, negotiate with lenders and develop strategies to improve your financial position.

To find your closest service click here or call 1300 771 741.

Tatura SmartFarm hosts international symposium
a group of people in an orchard looking at machinery

Agriculture Victoria’s Tatura SmartFarm hosted the second International Symposium on Precision Management of Orchards and Vineyards from 3 – 8 December.

The symposium focused on the latest findings and technologies around precision crop management with farm demonstrations, presentations, and workshops.

Tatura SmartFarm is one of Australia’s leading horticultural research facilities – providing an ideal setting for the symposium.

The symposium featured presentations covering key aspects of precision crop management, including irrigation systems, mapping systems, fruit ripening and quality, disease and pest detection and opportunities for mechanisation, automation, and robotics.

The event brought together leading scientists, industry experts and service providers to share ideas and build their networks, which is a crucial part of a thriving industry.

The symposium was hosted by Agriculture Victoria in partnership with the International Society of Horticultural Science and Australian Society for Horticultural Science, with support from key industry and stakeholder organisations.

More information about the symposium and information presentation abstracts can be found on the conference website:

Farm fire preparedness tip – stock containment
man and lady looking over a gate at sheep in a yard

Where will you place your stock during an emergency?

It’s crucial to have a refuge paddock or stock containment area ready for your livestock during emergencies, with adequate feed and water for their safety. 

Use the Fire Preparedness Toolkit and web resources to start planning for stock containment areas, emergency feeding and water budgeting – available at

Find and use our Farm Fire Preparedness Toolkit here.

A taste you can trace – episode 8
a taste you can trace episode 8

Having a good traceability system in place means that if a food safety issue were to occur, your business can respond quickly and more efficiently.

In this episode, Dr. Adele Yates from Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) explores food safety standards and the difference between recalls and incidents, using examples of recent food safety events.

🎧🎧 Listen online via the AgVic website:

Harvester and crop fires
avoid crop fires, think twice before using farm machinery on hot dry windy days

We know farmers want to protect their communities as well as their own equipment and harvest, so we urge them to consider these tips before undertaking work this weekend:

  • Postponing paddock work during the highest fire-risk periods
  • Run regular maintenance checks on farm machinery
  • Monitor weather conditions throughout the day and stop operations if it changes.

You are required by law to have a nine-litre water-pressured extinguisher on hand.

Visit the CFA website for more information on preventing harvester fires

Sign up to MyCFA to get local information on how to plan and prepare for fires and other emergencies in your area.

Please note: For emergency warnings always go straight to VicEmergency

Matching soil performance indicators to farming systems survey

Researchers at Federation University Australia in partnership with the Soil CRC are looking into decisions that farmers in different areas make about soil indicators to inform and support their farming practices.

Farmers are invited to participate in a survey that will help this research.

A short video introducing this research is available here.

The survey takes approximately 10 minutes to complete.

Further information about the research is available here: Plain Language Information Statement.

Enquiries or to request a hard copy of the survey please contact Dr Nathan Robinson, Federation University Australia by email or telephone (03) 5327 8436.

Recording: Managing fire risk on farms - tools, tips, resources and a seasonal update
agriculture victoria climate webinars

Presented by:

  • Dale Grey, Agriculture Victoria
  • Kylie Macreadie, Agriculture Victoria.


Every farm and farming business is unique, being well prepared for bushfires can assist farm businesses to recover faster.

Planning and preparing for the bushfire season includes identifying risks and undertaking tasks to prepare your farm ahead of the season.

In this webinar recording, Kylie highlights farm preparedness activities, along with tools and templates available in the new Fire Preparedness Toolkit.

Dale discusses what the current drier climate drivers of El Nino and the positive Indian Ocean Dipole are up to as well as current soil moisture, remote sensed plant growth and grass curing.

Sign up to the Weed Spotter newsletter
Image of Hyacinth

The Weed Spotter newsletter provides updates on the latest in weed news in Victoria, recent infestations found and removed, and where to go to report suspected weeds in your area. 

Subscribe to the Weed Spotter newsletter here.

In case you missed it

Latest technologies featured at Gippsland farm day

National experts and specialists will present on the latest technologies being used at Jelbart Farm at a feature event near Leongatha next Wednesday, 13 December.


Unlocking the keys to soil carbon

A new round of soil research is underway as part of a long-term Agriculture Victoria experiment based at Longerenong which hopes to resolve soil carbon decline in cropping systems.

The Sustainable Cropping Rotations in Mediterranean Environments (SCRIME) experiment started 25 years ago to examine the impact of different crop and pasture rotations and tillage systems on agricultural productivity in medium rainfall climates in southern Australia.


New community forestry support offered to workers

The Victorian Government is giving community foresters and their workers access to more transition support, with the Community Forestry Support Package now open to help workers transition out of native timber harvesting.


More work for our harvest workforce

The Victorian Government is investing in Victoria’s forest contractor workforce – creating more regional jobs and further strengthening the state’s bushfire management.

Minister for Environment Steve Dimopoulos recently announced the government will offer VicForests harvest contractors with secure five-year Forest and Fire Management Services Agreements, starting from 1 July 2024.


Gains for breeding program from US trip

The pulse breeding program at Agriculture Victoria’s Horsham SmartFarm is reaping the benefits from a researcher’s recent study trip to the United States.

Read the media release in full here.

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.

Getting the most out of the Bureau and Agriculture Victoria’s seasonal climate forecasts products
plan, prepare and respond, 5 seasonal climate forecasting tools webinar

WHEN: Wednesday 13 December

TIME: 12-1 pm


Understanding the likelihood of an extreme weather event can assist farmers to plan, prepare and respond through better decision making on-farm.

The Bureau of Meteorology has 5 seasonal climate forecasting tools to provide more insight into the possibility of extreme weather events.

In this webinar, Dale Grey, Seasonal Risk Agronomist, will share the 5 new tools which can provide information on the chance of unseasonal and extreme temperatures and rainfall for the weeks, months or seasons ahead and how farmers can use them to plan operations.

Graeme Anderson, Climate Specialist, will highlight Agriculture Victoria's climate update information, newsletters, soil moisture monitoring reports and climate and weather courses.


  • Dale Grey, Seasonal Risk Agronomist
  • Graeme Anderson, Climate Specialist.

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

Farm Safety Dining Table Talks webinar

13 December
6:30 to 9 pm



Farmers are invited to join MOFS Senior Farm Safety Advisor John Darcy, for a webinar version of his sought after Farm Safety Visit Dining Table Talk.

This is a free online event for all Victorian farmers. VFF members and non-members are all welcome! 🛋️

John will deliver his full dining table presentation, covering the following topics and many more:

  • How to use OH&S policies and procedures in your business
  • How to involve your employees in establishing a good safety culture
  • Understanding your legal duties, and how you can tackle them in a practical and methodical way.       

Register here. or email more information.

How good is this year’s fodder? Towong and Murrindindi

How does this year's fodder stack up for energy and protein?

Will it meet your livestock’s need?

Agriculture Victoria and Riverine Plains are offering 2 free feed quality tests for Towong and farmers to check the quality of their feed sources.

There are a limited number of tests available, so we’re encouraging farmers to register now.  

After the results have been returned, Agriculture Victoria will host a webinar to discuss options to keep your stock as productive as possible.

To register for the free feed tests:

  • Click this link or fill out the accompanying paper form
  • The registration form will include the process of sample collection and submission.

MURRINDINDI - Feed Test Workshop

Agriculture Victoria and Murrindindi Shire Council are offering 2 free feed quality tests for Murrindindi farmers to check the quality of their feed sources.

There is a limited number of tests available, so we’re encouraging farmers to register now.  

After the results have been returned, Agriculture Victoria will host a webinar to discuss options to keep your stock as productive as possible.

To register for the free feed tests follow this link.

The registration form will include the process of sample collection and submission.

DATE: Tuesday 12 December

TIME: 5:30 pm

WHERE: Molesworth Hall

For more information contact Agricultural Recovery Officer on email Toni Dakis or call 0428 975 728.

Creating an Animal Movement Record workshop - Feb 2024

Agriculture Victoria is delivering free hands-on workshops for cattle, sheep and goat producers to understand their livestock traceability requirements.

Participants will learn how complete National Vendor Declarations (NVDs) and how to use the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) database to complete property-to-property transfers. 

Traceability is an important tool for farmers to minimise biosecurity risks and livestock industries to maintain market access.

Date: Tuesday 13 February, 2024

Time: 9:30 am – 3 pm

Where: Benalla DEECA office, 89 Sydney Rd, Benalla.


  • Victorian livestock traceability requirements
  • updating your Property Identification Code (PIC)
  • completing National Vendor Declarations (NVDs)
  • setting up, navigating and using the NLIS database
  • completing property-to-property (P2P) transfers on the NLIS database.

Workshop numbers are limited so you must register to attend.

For more information contact Kirstie Anderson, Project Leader, Innovative Sheep and Beef Networks, on 0437 990 967 or at

Raising the roof 2024 - Save the date!
Raise the roof banner image

Presented by Dairy Australia and Agriculture Victoria, Raising the Roof is the only Australian dairy industry event dedicated to intensive farm systems.

Hear from international experts who are at the forefront of cutting-edge dairy farming.

Find out about global best practice, and the latest industry breakthroughs that are reshaping the future of dairy.

Learn about the tools and resources you’ll need to thrive in the ever-evolving dairy industry.

Gain invaluable insights that will empower you to make informed decisions about feedpad or contained housing infrastructure.

WHEN: 27-29 February, 2024

WHERE: Hunter Valley, NSW


For more information email

Australian Dairy Conference in February 2024

Australia’s premier dairy event will return to the Victorian capital of Melbourne from 12-14 February 2024.

Program details and more information to be released throughout 2023.

Find out more here.

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All contact points can be found at:

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