Cane growers reduce impact on the reef
SUGARCANE growers in the southern part of the Great Barrier Reef catchment region have been doing their bit to reduce the impact of nutrients, sediment and herbicides on the Great Barrier Reef Lagoon thanks to the Australian Government’s Reef Program.
This program ends in June and growers in the Isis supply area have made the most of the collaborative approach adopted by the Australian Government and have been implementing projects that have had a positive impact on the quality of water leaving their properties and entering the region’s waterways.
The switch from high pressure winches to low pressure irrigation such as centre pivots and trickle irrigation is very evident as you drive around the district. Many growers have taken the opportunity to purchase irrigation equipment that ensures run off is greatly reduced or eliminated altogether. With water prices soaring this makes sense environmentally but also helps reduce costs for growers.
Other projects undertaken by growers included the purchase of stool splitters; an implement for placing fertiliser under the ground rather than on top where it can be washed away, and shielded sprayers to avoid chemical drift.
Many growers have upgraded their drainage or water storage areas so that irrigation water and rainfall can be caught and reused rather than running away.
These practices, along with those already established such as green trash blanketing and rotational soybean or peanut cropping, are ensuring canegrowers are doing everything they can to support best management practice on their farms and in the wider environment.