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    Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef
    The Honourable Steven Miles

    Improving soil management and water quality in south east Queensland

    Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef
    The Honourable Steven Miles

    Friday, February 03, 2017

    Improving soil management and water quality in south east Queensland

    A $2.5 million project is set to improve farm management in horticulture to reduce nitrogen and sediment pollution in south east Queensland waterways.  

    Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles said the three year program is a joint project between the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF).

    “The project focuses on farm management practices in key agricultural areas of south east Queensland, including the Pumicestone Region and the Lockyer and Fassifern Valleys, to improve the water quality of adjacent waterways and coastal waters,” Dr Miles said.

    “It will explore innovative technologies, such as alternative field tillage methods, to keep soil on farm and reduce the amount of sediment lost to waterways.

    “Demonstration trials will also be undertaken to show farmers how multiple benefits can be achieved by using crops to cover fields during fallow periods.

    “To improve the water quality of nearby creeks a key priority of the project is to refine the use of nitrate mitigation technology such as bioreactors that remove excess nitrate from surface or shallow groundwater flowing from cropped areas.

    “This technology being developed by DAF in south east Queensland will also be considered for future application to mitigate nitrate emissions from Great Barrier Reef catchments.

    “Trial sites will be established in the Pumicestone Passage to determine nitrogen requirements or budgets for crops including pineapples and macadamias.”

    Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Bill Byrne said these nitrogen budgets will allow farmers to assess their requirements for optimum growth and avoid losing excess nitrogen.

    “We understand that managing soil and nitrogen soil loss can be difficult and I applaud the producers involved for embracing new approaches which will allow them to fine tune the farming system and improve productivity,” Minister Byrne said.

    Parts of this project will be a collaboration between EHP and Growcom, the peak horticulture industry body and facilitator of the EHP-sponsored Horticulture Best Management Practices program (Hort360).

    “Since the launch of Hort360 two years ago, 82 south east Queensland farmers, covering 9000 hectares, have completed detailed farm assessments through the soil management and water quality modules,” Dr Miles said.

    “Growcom have developed a series of informative videos about the importance of soil and water quality management based on Hort360 case studies.

    “Pollutants deposited into south east Queensland waterways degrade the quality of the region’s natural assets, such as the Pumicestone Passage and Moreton Bay, which is why this work is so important.”

    ENDS

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