Reef Alliance Program – Growing a Great Barrier Reef – Burdekin Cane Project

susagprojectpagephotos2nov2016NQ Dry Tropics Sustainable Agriculture programme is delivering extension, training and Reef Water Quality Grants as part of the Reef Alliance – Growing a Great Barrier Reef  programme funded by the Australian Government Reef Trust through the Queensland Farmers Federation (QFF) and a partnership between CANEGROWERS, NQ Dry Tropics,  Terrain NRM and the Burnett Mary Regional Group.

The Burdekin Cane Project will:

  • By 2019, contribute to a 10% reduction in DIN from sugarcane enterprises in the Burdekin sugarcane growing region.
  • By 2019, 294 cane farmers will have implemented improved nutrient practices over 44,100ha in the Burdekin sugarcane growing region.

The programme is designed to provide assistance to help cane growers implement changes that improve management practices and productivity, while also reducing nitrogen runoff into the Great Barrier Reef lagoon.

This is a voluntary programme funded by the Australian Government Reef Trust III investment through QFF, delivered in the Burdekin NRM region by NQ Dry Tropics. The Reef Alliance – Growing a Great Barrier Reef  programme is not linked to regulation.

Cane Innovation Grants now open

Are you a  Burdekin cane farmer with an innovative idea? We want to hear from you. Submit your expression of interest now for Cane Innovation grants up to $100,000.

Innovation Grant Funding Guidelines

Funding is available to cane farmers to develop innovative practices that will reduce nutrient losses from farms through improved practices. Through funding under the Australian Government Reef Trust: Reef Alliance Program – Growing a Great Barrier Reef, the innovation funding stream includes over $700,000 for Burdekin Cane Innovation Grants.

  • Individual Cane Innovation Grants are capped at $100,000 in the Burdekin
  • Minimum grower contribution is 30% cash or in-kind sought in application


  • Funding is available to sugarcane producers.  
  • Trials involving a commercial product or service will require a co-investment from the providers of that product or service and considered on a case by case basis.
  • The idea is innovative
  • There is a justifiable expectation of cost-effective improved water quality outcomes, with a focus on nutrients.
  • No negative environmental impacts from new idea  
  • A method of measuring project outcome has been identified
  • The innovation trials are conducted at a scale that provides a reasonable likelihood of being able to be scaled up to whole of farm application.
  • Idea has the potential for broad scale Industry uptake including:
    • Possible long term economic and productivity benefits;
    • Practicality; and
    • Long term environmental benefits.
  • Applicant will contribute at least 30% of cash or in-kind towards the project
  • Must be willing to share outcomes (i.e. case study, farm walk etc)
  • Must be willing to enter  into a contract and complete project within agreed timeframes (will include progress and final report)
  • Must be willing to participate in data collection
  • Must have technical support where applicable (i.e. trial design and set up, monitoring, data collection, reporting, consultation and training)


  • Practices not directly related to improved water quality outcomes
  • Research trials (that will not provide cost effective water quality outcomes)
  • Incentives will not be provided for:
    • any work that has commenced prior to application approval;
    • activities undertaken outside of the priority regions;
    • subsidies for commercial operations;
    • activities that include the establishment of plants that are known, or could become environmental or agricultural weeds;
    • insurance or legal costs;
    • investments which simply replaces existing equipment with similar equipment without bringing additional water quality benefits;
    • costs associated with the maintenance or normal wear and tear of capital items;
    • Replication of existing projects (i.e. not innovative or duplicating other funded projects)
    • or applicants who have previously received grant funding and have not completed their works or finalised contract.