The Lower Herbert Water Quality Program aims to prevent 140 tonnes of dissolved inorganic nitrogen from entering the Great Barrier Reef lagoon from the Herbert River catchment each year. Under the Reef 2050 plan to reduce runoff of dissolved inorganic nitrogen the Herbert River is one of the highest priority river catchments. Responding to this challenge, the Lower Herbert Water Quality program, and its Delivery Providers, are working with sugarcane farmers to increase understanding of farm management practices that improve the productivity, profitability and sustainability of their farms and reduce runoff of dissolved inorganic nitrogen.

The program draws on established and trusted Delivery Providers to support sugarcane farmers to better manage their farm nutrient inputs to best suite their crop needs and reduce nitrogen losses as runoff. The $16.2 million program is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation with coordination support provided by CANEGROWERS Herbert River.

To maximise industry and water quality outcomes of the Lower Herbert Water Quality Program leaders and project delivery providers are working together through on-ground projects in the Lower Herbert sugar industry. The Lower Herbert Water Quality Program involves several organisations, or delivery providers, who are collectively working on projects to improve farm management practices. This will enable the Herbert sugar industry to achieve its water quality target load reduction of 140 tonnes of dissolved inorganic nitrogen by June 2024 and in the process cultivate a productive, profitable and sustainable industry.

There are great opportunities for Herbert growers to be involved in the Lower Herbert Water Quality Program and projects. For more information, visit the CANEGROWERS Herbert River website, herbertrivercanegrowers.com.au, drop by the Ingham office in Lannercost Street or contact one of the Delivery Providers below.


Agro Group Pty Ltd – Mill Mud

This project is modernising on-farm mill mud application in the Herbert district. Two new mill mud spinner trucks are designed to reduce mill mud application rates and enable accurate, consistent mill mud placement on cane according to grower requirements so that growers can confidently  calculate their modified fertiliser application rates. The spinner trucks make it economical for growers who are further away from the mills to utilise mill mud while also making a significant impact on water quality outcomes in the Herbert.

Project Catalyst – Catchment Solutions Pty Ltd

Project Catalyst’s Practice Change and Grower Support Program gives growers a chance to be involved with innovative practices, agronomic advice, demonstration trials and grower information sessions to evaluate their current farming system and identify and adopt two farming practice changes using a full-scale nutrient management plan. In partnership with HCPSL, Project Catalyst helps to improve the environmental health of our regional waterways by working together to help sustain water quality and water flow for the health and management of our rivers and creeks.

Herbert Cane Productivity Services Ltd (HCPSL)

Project CaNETM offers growers the opportunity to develop a whole farm nutrient CaNE PlanTM based on the Six Easy Steps, an easy-to-use paper-based nutrient management and record keeping tool that is reef regulation compliant and can be used towards BMP accreditation. Farmers in the project have an opportunity to monitor and assess water leaving their farms through in-stream sensors which feeds data back to a phone or computer, giving farmers the chance to identify issues of concern and be proactive in addressing problems.

Land Hub from LiquaForce

LiquaForce developed a Local Area Nutrient Datahub (LAND) in the Lower Herbert to deliver a paradigm shift in the level of actionable insight and accessibility of key agronomic information for growers of all levels of digital maturity. This project produces optimal Six Easy Steps nutrient management plans tailored to the region and specific farms, paddock and soil lab data inputs. It also provides secure, private, digital storage of all farm, soil and production data, enabling easy long-term monitoring of crop and financial performance over time, and a far greater understanding of underlying agronomic issues and solutions suitable for farming.


GreenCollar works in partnership with farmers, graziers and other land managers to develop projects that focus on reducing the flow of nutrients (namely Dissolved Inorganic Nitrogen) to the Great Barrier Reef through improved cropping practices or by establishing wetlands. Reef Credits are sold to businesses, investors, philanthropists and governments seeking to reach water quality targets or achieve corporate ESG or compliance outcomes. The revenue generated from Reef Credits provides land managers with an additional and diversified income stream that supports ongoing improved practices.


The Major Grants Project will provide Grower Incentive Grants to Herbert growers who are able to improve water quality associated with on-farm nitrogen management practice changes by receiving financial support. The Major Grants Project aims to improve the quality of water flowing from the Herbert River catchment to the GBR lagoon while at the same time improving productivity and profitability of the Herbert sugar industry. The Major Grants Project has been allocated $1,500,000 with a target dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) load reduction of 4.5 tonnes DIN/year by the end of the project in June 2024.

For an overview of the Grower Incentive Grants please read the FACTSHEET (Click Here)

The APPLICATION GUIDELINES (Click Here) and APPLICATION FORM (Click Here) provide Herbert sugarcane growers with further information about the Grower Incentive Grants available. If you would like to apply for a Grower Incentive Grant please discuss with your Delivery Provider (if applicable) and contact Caroline Coppo at CANEGROWERS Herbert River (0437 046 225) to begin the Grower Incentive Grant Application Process.