Contouring – answer to reduce runoff on slopes of East Palmerston banana plantation

September 1, 2015

Contours designed for the red volcanic slopes on the LMB banana farm at Nerada

Contours designed for the red volcanic slopes on the LMB banana farm at Nerada

Paul De Brincat share farms with Craig and Jade Buchanan as a part of the LMB Group of farms in the Innisfail area. He manages the 85 hectare Nerada Farm for LMB on the banks of the North Johnstone River, just west of Innisfail.

After the acquisition of the land parcel, Paul had the job of redeveloping the land that grew bananas some time ago. The area is substantial and contains both river flats and has red soils. The challenge was to strategically redesign the farm around the gullies and the general terrain.

Paul approached Terrain NRM grants officer Robert Mayers about a Reef Programme Grant for assistance to fund the works needed to minimise the loss of soil from the productive area adjacent to the North Johnstone  River. 

He was successful in receiving grants for laser levelling and contouring in Round 6 and sediment traps in Round 7. With the guidance of LMB Principal Craig Buchanan and others, Paul designed the farm layout to laser and then contour the rows to  minimise the rate of slope within the row.

On acquitting the Round 6 project, Robert, Industry Grants Officer with Terrain,  observed that after a recent thunder storm with heavy rain, soil movement was minimal, this being a good outcome without the establishment of ground cover at that time. 

Paul said, “The laser levelling and contouring was a huge project and in combination with the now established grass inter-rows has proven to significantly reduce the run off from our banana farm and we are really pleased we undertook the project”.

The Round 7 project was to place 2 Sediment traps at appropriate locations on the farm as a “Last Line of Defence” to collect any sediment that may leave the contoured and grassed banana paddocks before flowing into the North Johnstone River.

Now the farm is set up to successfully minimise the loss of sediment from the productive area of the farm, Paul is looking to apply for part funding to assist with minimising the loss of nutrients by the use of automated fertigation and  is grateful for the assistance received from Terrain  and ABGC in accessing the Reef Grants funded by the Federal  Government.

LMB farm group are to be congratulated having been announced as finalists in a landcare award due to be announced at the Reef, Range & Red Dust Conference at Caloundra this week.