Programs & projects

Smartcane BMP is the Queensland sugarcane industry's voluntary best practice program. Its three core modules cover soil health and nutrient management, irrigation and drainage and weed, pest and disease management. Smartcane BMP is a pathway to recognition of sustainably sourced sugar and CANEGROWERS is currently working with Bonsucro, ProTerra and the Czarnikow Vive programs to support this emerging need from customers.

Growers accredited in the core modules of Smartcane BMP are currently deemed by the Queensland Government to be meeting its requirements under regulations to protect the Great Barrier Reef, recognising that they are demonstrating environmental stewardship for water quality.


Enhanced Efficiency Fertiliser Trials (EEF60)
CANEGROWERS has been awarded a contract to run a series of 60 on farm trials of enhanced efficiency fertilisers. Dubbed EEF60, the project will run across three growing seasons and be managed by Sugar Research Australia. The aim is to identify if the fertilisers can meet the aims of improving nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) while reducing losses without impacting farm profitability or productivity. The sites have been selected for a variety of soil and climatic conditions. Click here to read the information sheet. 


Project Cane Changer was designed to recognise Queensland’s sugarcane farmers for their positive farming practices and contribution to protecting the Great Barrier Reef. The first two phases were funded by the Queensland Government. The latest phase was funded by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. The project was driven by CANEGROWERS, in partnership with human behaviour experts, Behaviour Innovation.


Rural Water Use Efficiency for Irrigation Futures (2013-2018) was a Queensland Government program managed by CANEGROWERS for the sugarcane industry. Growers in rising groundwater areas accessed incentives for improving irrigation systems to reduce deep drainage and establish conjunctive use dewatering bores. Productivity services organisations have had funding to support growers with irrigation decisions. RWUE-IF supported the production of CANEGROWERS Virtual Bus Tour videos. The program continues under a new name, Farm Water Futures (2018-2022), which provides water use assessments on site and tools to support understanding of crop water requirements.


Australian Government Reef Programme (formerly Reef Rescue) and Reef Trust

CANEGROWERS actively supports and promotes grower-government partnership programs which benefit water quality for the Great Barrier Reef. CANEGROWERS Virtual Bus Tour videos feature growers who have been involved in these programs.

Reef Rescue (2008-2013) saw $73 million of water quality grants spent in the sugarcane industry including projects on farms totalling 295,000 hectares. Growers contributed approximately $71 million to the projects which underpinned an estimated 16% reduction in dissolved inorganic nitrogen going out to the Reef.

Reef Rescue II/Reef Programme (2013-2018) has spent $7 million on water quality projects on cane farms in its first three years. Growers have co-invested $11.6 million in the projects involving 137,000 hectares of farm land.

Reef Trust (2014-2019) has committed $140 million to address highest priority threats to the Reef.  CANEGROWERS has worked with the Australian Government on Reef Trust phase 1 and phase 2.

Phase 3 includes a $25 million project to improve water quality outcomes across 1.8 million hectares of farming and grazing land by June 30, 2019 and CANEGROWERS is involved via the Reef Alliance and the Wet Tropics Sugar Industry Partnership.

Phase 4 has allocated $15 million for reducing nitrogen use in sugarcane production using the reverse tender mechanism targeting nitrogen use efficiency and water use efficiency in the Burdekin and Wet Tropics and $5 million to the EEF60 project.