Horticultural growers within Reef catchments are encouraged to apply for $5000 cash payments to make on-farm practice changes for improved Reef water quality. 

The Australian Government has committed $350,000 in funding towards the incentive program for horticultural growers in Reef catchments. Growcom is devolving the incentive payments to growers that undertake an on-farm assessment through Hort360, the best management practice program for horticulture. 

Growcom Hort360 Manager, Scott Wallace said the incentives can assist growers to address environmental impacts and agricultural run-off from farmland entering the Great Barrier Reef lagoon. 

“Quite a few growers are already participating in this project, so we’re encouraging growers who haven’t applied to get in quick so they don’t miss out,” Mr Wallace said.  

“Eligible on-farm projects target improvements to irrigation to reduce run-off, improvements to fertigation to reduce losses, erosion control and management to stop loss of sediment, and changes to chemical application to prevent drift. 

“Other eligible expenses would be the purchase and installation of monitoring and sensor technology or software to assist growers in making more informed decisions on irrigation, fertigation and spraying practices.” 

Growcom has employed two new field staff based in Townsville and Bundaberg to provide technical support for growers wishing to apply for the incentive. Lindsay Allen will work with growers in Bowen Burdekin region while Michelle Haase will focus on the Rockhampton, Yeppoon, Burnett and Mary regions. 

“Lindsay and Michelle will assist growers to develop their project and get started on using Hort360 to identify both risks and opportunities for their businesses.” Mr Wallace said. 

Growcom’s Hort360 software is a step-by-step, facilitated risk assessment tool designed to give growers a 360-degree view of their farm business operations, identifying potential risks, capitalising on business opportunities and highlighting unnecessary farm expenses. The development of the Hort360 software was based on many years of extension work with growers throughout Queensland via Growcom’s delivery of projects such as the Rural Water Use Efficiency Initiative, Reef Trust programs and SEQ Water Quality project. 

Incentives are available to growers until June 2019 or when funding runs out. To apply please go to www.growcom.com.au/projects/reef-program/reef-trust-incentive-scheme 

Please contact Hort360 Manager, Scott Wallace for further assistance on 0408 135 002 or email swallace@growcom.com.au