Reef Trust Phase 4 Repeated Tenders

Reef Trust Phase IV - Repeated Tenders is aimed at reducing the use of Nitrogen fertiliser on cane farms.

reef trust tenders

The Australian Government is providing up to $11.8 million to cane growers in the Wet Tropics and Burdekin NRM region. 

5 Year Project running from 2017-2022

All rounds of tendering have been completed.

39 cane farmers in Wet Tropics

There are 39 cane farmers in Wet Tropics participating in this program.

Focused on refining the use of nitrogen fertiliser on cane farms

Growers have developed their own project based on the practice changes they think will be most effective for their nitrogen management.


A number of market-based competitive tenders (reverse auctions) were used to allocate funds (up to $500,000) to bidders offering the best value for money projects over a number of years.

Terrain NRM is administering the tenders on behalf of the Wet Tropics Sugar Industry Partnership (WTSIP).

This project aims to build on the success of previous tenders where a number of growers have benefitted from improved nitrogen management, which has resulted in cost savings without affecting yield.

Each grower is implementing a different practice change customised to their own farm circumstances. Some examples of projects include:

  • Application of compost or millmud as an alternative crop nutrition source
  • Split applications of fertilizer to match crop uptake
  • Fallow legume crops, advanced cover cropping and rotation strategies to increase organic matter and organic nitrogen
  • Variable rate controlled fertiliser application
  • Matching row spacing to equipment and the implementation of controlled traffic farming
  • Applications of controlled release fertilizer to match crop growth
  • Improved soil mapping to understand soil constraints
  • Yield mapping to understand yield potential
  • Matching fertilizer applications to crop yield potential
  • Implementation of minimum tillage practices
  • Implementation of zero tillage for cover crops

Case Studies

There were 14 growers who took part in the first (Phase 1) reverse tender in 2014. There are case studies  available on these projects to find out how the first round of growers used this funding and how they rated their experience of the program.

To find out more:

  • Phone: 1800 899 486
  • Email:

The Australian Government also has more information on it's website: