Sugarcane growers to benefit from specialised support

Issued: 4 Aug 2023

Sugarcane growers committed to reducing nutrient run-off into the Great Barrier Reef will soon have access to specialised support thanks to a $3.6 million investment by the Queensland Government.

Scott Robinson Acting Executive Director of the Office of the Great Barrier Reef, Department of Environment and Science, said industry experts are invited to apply for a share in funding under the Sugarcane Practice Change Program for projects that will help sugarcane growers manage the use of nitrogen and phosphorus on their farms.

“Successful applicants will provide agronomic advice and support to help cane growers to undertake actions, such as implementing nutrient management plans and addressing yield constraints, to reduce nutrient loads in water flowing to the Great Barrier Reef,” Mr Robinson said.

The funding is part of the Queensland Government’s $125 million investment to support the cane, grazing, banana, horticulture and grains sectors across the Reef catchments to improve production, profitability and sustainability whilst improving the quality of water in local waterways and the Reef ecosystem.

This includes more than $20 million for industry Best Management Practice programs, the Grazing Resilience and Sustainable Solutions program, and extension work and research programs managed by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Mr Robinson said the Sugarcane Practice Change Program builds on the previous success of a suite of nutrient management planning projects in the Wet Tropics, Burdekin, Mackay, Whitsunday and Burnett Mary Regions.

“Sugarcane growers have told us how much they value opportunities to work one-on-one with industry experts to gain valuable insights on how they can improve their productivity and profitability through improved nutrient application methods which reduce fertiliser costs whilst allowing them to maintain or improve their crop yields.

“This program will also capitalise on previous investments by the Queensland Government to focus on a whole-of-industry approach that works directly with growers to improve land management practices across the Reef catchments.”

Protecting the Great Barrier Reef is one of the Queensland Government’s key priorities, and continuing to work with landholders, farmers and industry groups will be essential to ensure the health of the Reef is protected now and into the future.

For more information, including details on the eligibility criteria, please visit QTender – DES1231311.

Similar funding opportunities will soon be available for projects focused on the grazing industry, with the horticulture industry to follow in 2024.