Cane grow­ers re­duce im­pact on the reef

Isis Town and Country - - News -

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.

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