Over 400 Wet Tropics cane growers are finding it easier to manage their fertiliser inputs, thanks to customised whole-of-farm nutrient management plans developed with extension officers as part of the Australian Government’s Reef Trust III program.
The three-year program, delivered by the Wet Tropics Sugar Industry Partnership (WTSIP), has helped more than 500 cane growers through targeted grants, a series of soil health workshops and one-on-one extension support.
The program is also estimated to have reduced dissolved inorganic nitrogen flowing into the Great Barrier Reef lagoon by 260 tonnes.
Joe Marano, Chair of WTSIP, said the 17 organisations working in partnership to deliver the program had seen it as an opportunity to substantially improve nutrient management planning and develop a consistent approach across the region.
Mr Marano said WTSIP's whole farm nutrient management plans had proved popular with growers.
“Nutrient management plans help you understand your soils better and manage your fertiliser inputs more efficiently,’’ he said.
The three-year program for growers ended in November, but help is still at hand. Mr Marano said cane growers from Cairns to Ingham who developed nutrient management plans with a WTSIP extension officer would continue to be supported until the end of 2020, thanks to additional funding from a partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.
Cane growers in the Herbert or Cairns and Babinda district, can also get help with nutrient management planning through two new Queensland Government projects. For more information about these projects growers in the Herbert district should contact HCPSL and growers in the Cairns and Babinda district are encouraged to contact Sugar Research Australia and Farmacist.