Nutrient management has taken centre stage in recent years with government targets to reduce dissolved nitrogen in water run-off into the Great Barrier Reef by at least 50 per cent by 2018, and 80 per cent by 2025.
A significant amount of research continues to be conducted into our ability to optimise nitrogen in use in the crop cycle and thereby minimise losses to the environment, including enhanced efficiency and slow release fertilisers, climate forecasting and application technologies.
Out-dated nutrient management plans are being replaced with innovative best practice programs based on geo-referenced soil sampling, new programs helping to reduce the amount of fertiliser and other nutrients being used on farms, and cutting-edge machinery delivering nutrients directly to the roots of the plant reducing contaminated run-off.
Burdekin grower Joe Linton has one of the nearly 60 farms hosting a new trial of enhanced efficiency fertilisers (EEF) as part of a project being funded by the Australian Government Reef Trust and Queensland Government Great Barrier Reef Innovation Fund. The EEF60 project is looking to assess the benefit of EEFs across Queensland’s major cane growing districts.
Joe says he is looking forward to learning more about EFF technology and how it could deliver efficiencies for his business. Read more.
Cane growers across the Wet Tropics region are reaping the benefits from one-on-one nutrient planning sessions being delivered by the Wet Tropics Sugar Industry Partnership (WTSIP). Funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust III program, WTSIP’s team of 11 Extension Officers is providing individualised support to growers to help them improve farm run-off by refining their fertiliser use. Drew Watson operates several cane farms throughout the Mossman district and says his whole-of-farm nutrient management plan is a valuable tool that saves him time and hassle. Read more.
Drew also features in the first episode of the latest Virtual Bus Tour Series (Season 7), showcasing how farmers from Mossman to Maryborough are working to improve the quality of run-off into the Great Barrier Reef while running productive and profitable businesses.
Take a look around the beautiful Wet Tropics where the Watson family have been farming for generations since the 1890s. Drew shares the numerous benefits of his whole-of-farm nutrient management plan which is helping him to reduce the loss of chemicals and fertilisers from his farm, benefiting his crops and the surrounding environment. Watch more.