The Reef Water Quality (RWQ) Research, Development and Innovation (RD&I) Strategy 2014-2019, confirmed the themes and priorities to guide investment until June 2019 and beyond.
The ‘Local and Regional Solutions’ theme was implemented to increase focus and investment in innovative behaviour-change projects that are capable of influencing farm management decisions to increase uptake of improved practice in high priority catchments.
The Herbert catchment contributes the largest anthropogenic loads of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) and fine sediment in the Wet Tropics region. Most dissolved inorganic nitrogen comes from sugarcane. Under the Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan (WQIP) 2017-2022 the Herbert catchment is identified as Very High risk for DIN with a loads reduction target set at 70% or 620 tonnes. This RFQ is seeking skilled agronomy practitioners in the Herbert region to work directly with farmers, for up to a two year period, to deliver high quality nutrient management planning services.
The proposed project will be complementary to and align with the Great Barrier Reef Water Science Taskforce recommendations relating to increasing the focus on effective extension, communication and information to build an understanding of, and implement effective nutrient management, thereby reducing water quality pressures on the Reef and supporting management practice and social change.
To build on the success of these projects and refine the methodologies used to suit local factors, DES is looking to support more projects which focus on direct farmer engagement and foster commitment to long term improved practice change. This may occur through supporting:
• The expansion or continuation of projects that have demonstrated that they are leading the uptake of best management practices.
• New projects that will harness, and refine the approach, extend knowledge on the ground and instill on-farm practice change.
Proposals are now sought to work with up to 100 growers over the life of the project in the cane growing district of the Herbert Region in the Wet Tropics for up to two years, providing whole of farm nutrient management planning, including on-ground work in benchmarking, calibration, agronomic advice and 6ES training. The project will engage 50 new growers in year one (e.g. those that have not been involved in other similar projects) and develop property specific nutrient management plans consistent with local 6ES recommendations for each grower. In the second year the opportunity to refine nutrient management further can be offered to another 50 growers, which may be fully or partially comprised of those original 50 growers. Should not all the original 50 growers wish to take part in the second year, the balance can comprise other growers that have been involved in other similar projects (e.g. Reef Trust 3) wishing to further refine their nutrient rates.
The Queensland Government is inviting suitably qualified agronomic specialists to submit fully scoped and costed proposals to provide farm specific, high quality whole of farm nutrient management planning, and associated farming system advice. The advice must be aimed at improving nitrogen use efficiency in-line with the 6ES within one year and, to refine rates further to lower than 6ES over a second year of the project.
Total funds available for this project is $726,000 (GST inclusive).
More about tendering here