Reef Trust a Win Win for Cane Farmers and the Reef
Wet Tropics sugar cane farmers will receive a share of $11.8 million in grants from the Australian Government as part of the next step to help improve the quality of water flowing to the Great Barrier Reef.
The grants will be available to farmers in the Wet Tropics and the Burdekin to support initiatives aimed at improving nitrogen use management practices.
Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenburg said the project is a win-win for the environment and for farmers.
“Reef Trust is integral to delivering on the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan by improving the quality of water entering the Reef but it also helps sugar cane growers reduce their costs and improve the economic sustainability of their farms,” he said.
Terrain NRM has been appointed to administer the tenders in the Wet Tropics on behalf of the Wet Tropics Sugar Industry Partnership (WTSIP). CEO Carole Sweatman said the Reef Trust IV funding from the Australian Government was great news for cane farmers in the region and would build upon the success of previous tenders.
“Many cane growers in the Wet Tropics are trying really hard to reduce their nitrogen inputs and as a result of the pilot reverse tenders program, in 2015/16 contracted farmers collectively reduced their nitrogen use by more than 86 tonnes,” she said.
“The great thing about this project is that it engages farmers to put their own ideas into practice about how they think they can improve nitrogen management on their farm. Applicants in previous rounds have been funded for a range of different solutions including application of mill mud and purchase of specialised equipment for precision farming, use of legumes as a source of nitrogen, as well as trialling biological fertilisers.”
Adrian Darveniza, a cane farmer in South Johnstone, received funding through the previous pilot Reef Trust Tender program and said he welcomed the flexibility of the grants, which allowed him to propose the specific activity that he knew would enable him to reduce his nitrogen inputs.
“I was able to use the funding to purchase a more efficient mill mud spreader. We are tailoring the nitrogen needs to each block based on the soil and crop needs and continuing to use mill mud, which helps in less nitrogen having to be applied,” he said.
Interested growers are invited to bid for funding through a number of competitive reverse tenders conducted over a number of years. Funds will be allocated to successful bidders offering the best value for money projects.
Tenders opened in early 2017. The application period is 6 February - 6 March. Expressions of interest have now closed. To submit a tender application, an expression of interest must have been submitted. Interested growers can find out more from their local WTSIP extension officers, at one of the detail workshops being held across the region from 15 - 17 February, or from the links below.
For more information:
- Go to Reef Trust Repeated Tenders - Wet Tropics
- Call 1800 899 486
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Visit www.environment.gov.au/marine/gbr/reef-trust/repeated-reverse-auctions