$4.7 Million Boost to Help Improve Water Quality

Monica Haynes
June 19, 2017

The Australian Government is continuing to drive water quality improvements in the Great Barrier Reef by investing a further $4.7 million to reduce nitrogen runoff across the Wet Tropics and Burdekin regions.

In the Wet Tropics, 15 cane growers were successful in securing funding under the Government’s first round of Reef Trust Phase IV Repeated Tenders. They will implement a range of improved land management practices to reduce losses of nitrogen fertiliser moving off-farm.

Joe Marano, Chair of the Wet Tropics Sugar Industry Partnership, which includes Terrain and is overseeing the administration of the tenders, said it was great news that another 15 growers would be receiving funding to implement changes to reduce nitrogen losses on their farms.

“All of the growers involved in previous Reef Trust Reverse Tenders successfully reduced their nitrogen inputs through a range of different solutions including application of mill mud, use of legumes as a source of nitrogen, as well as trialling biological fertilisers and purchase of specialised equipment for precision farming,” he said.

“One of the key lessons learned from these growers was that they were able to make these reductions in fertiliser use without affecting their yields so it’s a good result for farmer’s back pockets as well as water quality.

“The great thing about this project is that the Government is backing growers to put their own ideas into practice. They can choose what practice changes to make that they think will work best on their farm,” he said.

Some of the projects being funded this time include the increased use of biological fertilisers applied as a foliar spray and the use of compost to significantly reduce the amount of industrial fertiliser. Other growers will use controlled release fertilisers, purchase specialised equipment and increase their use of mill by-products to help improve their nitrogen management.

A further funding round as part of this Project is expected later this year. Cane growers in the Wet Tropics who are interested in applying are encouraged to contact the Reef Trust hotline 1800 899 486 or their local WTSIP extension officer. To find out contact details click HERE.