Monthly Archives: March 2014

Adaptation of Practice Change in Horticulture

By Rob Doyle, Growcom

The role of extension officers, working with horticultural farmers at least, appears to have a strong focus on the agronomic advantages of adopting new practices.  The conversation inevitably leads to the cost of implementing the new practice with farmers questioning whether they can afford it.   Continue Reading…

Reef Programme Training on the Horizon

Reef Water Quality Grants, supported by Terrain through funding from the Australian Government Reef Programme, are getting underway in the Wet Tropics.

Over the coming months, Terrain will be working to develop an integrated training and extension programme for farmers in the cane, banana, dairy and multi-cropping industries. Continue Reading…

Resting paddocks to rescue the reef

Controlling up to 1,500 head of cattle using a short stretch of Fitzroy River frontage and its associated creeks and gullies is no easy task, but Andrew and Meagan Lawrie have changed their property and management to use livestock to regenerate previously degraded waterways. Continue Reading…

Capturing paddock-scale hydrology and water quality experiences in the Great Barrier Reef

A recent study has demonstrated that a range of historic data can be compiled in a way to inform hydrology and water quality modelling without the need to explicitly collect new data.

Dr David Freebairn from RPS Australia led a project under the previous Reef Rescue Research & Development programme to synthesise over 100 historic studies.

Continue Reading…

Helping Graziers Help the Reef

The Burnett Catchment Care Association is working closely with Burnett Mary Regional Group to deliver a three year Reef Water Quality grazing project as part of the Australian Government Reef Programme.

The project is being implemented in the coastal areas of the Burnett River catchment and will target areas including the Burnett River downstream from the Paradise dam, the Kolan River downstream from Lake Monduran and areas in the Elliot, Isis, Gregory, Burrum and Baffle Creek sub-catchments. Continue Reading…

New look Australian Government Reef Water Quality grants programme for Mackay Whitsunday

Throughout 2014, Reef Catchments will be working with industry partners to deliver a new look Australian Government Reef Water Quality Grants programme to the Mackay Whitsunday region.

The Water Quality Grants programme provides funding and assistance to land holders to improve farming practice for better water quality outcomes and is part of the wider Australian Government Reef Programme that aims to reduce land based pollutants reaching the Great Barrier Reef.

Reef Catchments has taken steps to support sugarcane farmers and graziers to improve land management, not just through funding new farm equipment, but through the provision of careful farm planning for future farm success and improved water quality leaving agricultural lands.

Sugarcane growers will have the opportunity to work directly with experienced precision planners and local industry providers, including Mackay Area Productivity Services, Plane Creek Productivity Services and CANEGROWERS Mackay and Proserpine.

Through this network growers will be supported to create detailed three-year property plans to maximise productivity and economic and environmental outcomes. The planning process will have emphasis on the region’s target pollutants – nitrogen and herbicides – and will be reviewed annually.

The precision planners will provide additional agronomic support equivalent to six days of farm extension. Landholders and planners can then produce Water Quality Grant applications in line with property needs identified during their planning process.

Landholders will also be able to access the following activities at no cost, with funding supplied over a three-year period:

• Mapping to understand soil variability within block for precision management
• Soil testing above regulated requirements, for targeted nutrient management

Graziers in the region will also benefit from improved property planning, working with Reef Catchments Grazing Officer Amanda Bland to undertake property management. This includes mapping weeds and pests, devising strategies for targeted management actions and identifying improvements for fencing and pasture management.  Further funding applications will again be put together based on the plans.

Reef Water Quality grants in Mackay Whitsunday will be competitive and the amount of funding provided will be prioritised based on the level of water quality improvement achieved through planned changes, the location of the project (by sub-catchment) and value for money.

However all participants will receive the planning and agronomic support that is so important in improving management for environmental and productivity gains.  It is hoped that the many landholders who received equipment funding through Reef Rescue over the past five years will continue to gain from this important next step of the programme. Participating landholders will be provided with the resources they need to maximise equipment productivity and achieve long-term operational success.

For more information contact belinda.billing@reefcatchments.com or 0488 730 021.

Australian Government funding for the protection of the Great Barrier Reef

The Australian Government has committed to a strategic, long-term approach to the protection of the Great Barrier Reef through the Reef 2050 Plan, a component of the Cleaner Environment Plan. The focus will be on key threats to the Great Barrier Reef including nutrient run-off, crown-of-thorns starfish control and species protection, particularly of turtles and dugongs, and includes the development of a $40 million Reef Trust. Continue Reading…