Water conservation

Reef Rescue: Improving farm efficiency

Thirty years ago, Isis cane farmer Mark Mammino’s father told him that there wasn’t much more they could be doing to improve their farming efficiency. That was before the widespread adoption of green cane harvesting. While the farming business has long enjoyed the associated benefits of trash retention, much like most of the district, these days Mark and his wife Deran continue to look for any opportunity available to improve their farming efficiency and management of their 300 ha of cane land around Childers. Continue Reading…

Banana farming at Bartle Frere: minimising sediment and nutrient runoff into the Russell River

With the magnificent Mount Bartle Frere, Queensland’s highest mountain, in the background, the banana farm Brad Finch manages near Mirriwinni in Far North Queensland is a particularly striking property.   A banana farm for the last thirty years and a cane farm for an even longer period before that, the issue of sediment and nutrient runoff has long been a concern.  With the Russell River bordering a significant section of the 70 hectare farm, sediment and nutrient runoff makes its way in to the river and possibly downstream, in to the Great Barrier Reef lagoon.

Brad Finch made the decision to change his lifestyle two years ago, swapping commercial fishing off the coast for banana farming.  As soon as he began managing this farm, Brad started planning to upgrade to farming practices that help prevent erosion and better manage the health of the soil.  One of the changes he was keen to make was to carry out contouring of the rows of banana plants. Continue Reading…

Making less water run further

Two of the most important aspects of any successful grazing enterprise, are managing water and groundcover. Producers in south west Queensland are working in partnership with South West NRM to conserve surface and ground water resources, establish engineered distribution methods for quality water, implement rotational grazing and use new technology to streamline their operations.

Landholders at Durella, Holly Downs and Biddenham are some of the producers taking steps to improve the way they farm.  For some landholders, a change in seasons has brought opportunity. They are some of the progressive producers changing the way they graze to ensure holistic management of their enterprises and good outcomes for sustainable natural resource management. Continue Reading…

Reef Rescue grants secure water for the long term

Collinsville grazier Brett Stagg knows the value of water.

While the past season has been good, Brett’s number one priority is to secure water for the long-term.

While acknowledging it as no small task to organise water for his 6620 hectare property, Mr Stagg said he has been greatly assisted by the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country Reef Rescue initiative and encouraged other graziers to investigate on-ground grants this new financial year.

Continue Reading…

Flood slows to a trickle

By Kathy Cogo, NQ Dry Tropics

It’s a radically different way to water cane and has neighbours looking over the fence. It uses far less water, increases yield and really improves the quality of water that runs off farms.

Paul Villis grows cane near Ayr and he’s trialing trickle, or drip, irrigation on part of his farm. Trickle irrigation comprises rows of plastic tape buried underground that delivers water directly to the roots of the plant through tiny drippers that regulate water flow. Continue Reading…