Catchment Solutions has successfully secured funding for Project Catalyst from the Great Barrier Reef Foundation to work with sugar cane farmers across the Mackay Whitsundays, Dry Tropics and Wet Tropics regions in north Queensland.
The project supports a network of cane farmers and agronomy extension providers to identify, implement and validate pathways to rapid adoption of enhanced management practices leading to water quality improvements for the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). This is to be accomplished through trial work of new farm practices which are more effective and efficient in regard to the use of external inputs and natural resources, minimising the impact on natural assets while maximising farm production and profitability.
By providing agronomic and extension services to design and support trial validation work, soil testing, nutrient management plans and farm management recommendations the project will address sediment, nitrogen and pesticide loss associated with cane farming.
All trials are expected to have a water quality outcome benefit either directly through a reduction in application volumes or change in application method for inputs or indirectly through improved soil health requiring less water application with higher retention as an example.
Project Catalyst has been operating for more than ten years and has facilitated hundreds of grower-led trials and encouraged more than 130 cane farmers to adopt higher standards through innovative nutrient application methods, soil health improvements and water quality enhancements.
This phase of the project will engage new farmers and continue to work with previously engaged cane farmers in the Mackay Whitsundays, Burdekin and Wet Tropics.
Project Catalyst is funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust, The Coca Cola Foundation, WWF Australia and Bayer Crop Science.
For more information on Project Catalyst please visit https://www.projectcatalyst.net.au/
For more information on the Reef Trust Partnership Water Quality Grants for Regional Queensland please visit https://www.barrierreef.org/latest/news/over-19-million-of-reef-trust-partnership-water-quality-grants-for-regional-queensland