Burdekin sugarcane farmers can now submit expressions of interest to access up to $500,000 to undertake projects that reduce the level of nitrogen leaving their farms.

The Australian Government has made up to $2.5 million available under the $140 million Reef Trust initiative to provide innovative, targeted investments that improve the health and resilience of the Great Barrier Reef.  Farmers within the Burdekin Dry Tropics region are invited to take part in a reverse auction, to bid for up to $500,000 to fund their on-farm nitrogen and irrigation management projects.

NQ Dry Tropics CEO, Dr Scott Crawford, said that the Reef Trust Tender – Burdekin would comprise two stages: an expression of interest followed by a reverse auction.

”Only farmers who have submitted an  expression of interest will be allowed to participate in the reverse auction, Dr Crawford said.   

“The deadline to submit an expression of interest to the Australian Government is 2pm (AEST) on December 7, and NQ Dry Tropics will support all interested farmers to register their interest, and also through the tender submission stages.

“NQ Dry Tropics  and our trusted local partners are committed to making this project a success.

“We have also been working closely with the Department of Environment to provide information and tools farmers will need to develop an informed tender for their proposed project.

“This is a great opportunity for sugarcane farmers to implement on-farm nutrient and irrigation practices that they may have been thinking about for a long time, which will improve water quality entering the reef lagoon”, Dr Crawford said.

Surplus nitrogen from an over-application of fertiliser can make its way to the coast and have a detrimental impact on reef water quality.  By improving nitrogen management practices at the farm scale, sugarcane farmers can improve the sustainability of their business and help ensure less nitrogen is lost to the reef.

For more information on this project and how to apply, please visit the NQ Dry Tropics’ website at https://www.nqdrytropics.com.au/reef-trust-tender/