Extension services in reef catchments

The department offers a range of extension services to support growers and graziers to adopt better business and farming practices within reef catchments.

Specialist extension staff and agricultural economists provide:

  • hands-on technical assistance
  • economic support
  • on-farm assistance to trial new practices
  • information resources
  • economic decision support tools
  • participation at field days and other events
  • research into improved farming systems.

Grazing extension services are provided as part of the GRASS program and through Grazing Futures. Our extension staff help graziers implement grazing systems that are profitable and productive while also reducing nutrients and sediment runoff into local waterways and the reef.

FutureBeef also offers a range of information and events for graziers throughout northern Australia.

Our coastal farming systems team works in the Burnett, Mackay, Burdekin and Wet Tropics regions to help sugarcane farmers adopt sustainable and productive management systems. This work supports Canegrowers' Smartcane BMP.

We also have a team of extension officers in Central Queensland providing information and advice about sustainable grains practice.

In the Wet Tropics we have extension officers supporting the Banana BMP program. They provide research and extension services to growers to improve business and environmental outcomes.

An ‘Enhanced Extension coordination’ project that began in 2017 is working to improve coordination, collaboration and communication across different producer and extension networks, and to increase adoption of agricultural land management practices that lead to improved water quality.

Regional coordinators based in the 6 GBR Natural Resource Management (NRM) regions are working to identify ways to better apply and tailor extension services to meet required needs and recommend other services that can support whole-of-farm outcomes.

This project interacts with a wide range of Australian and Queensland government funded projects, particularly those delivering on-ground services to producers to ensure minimal duplication and maximum impact.

One of the priority outcomes of the project is the development, or expansion of regional extension networks to improve coordination and collaboration. Regional Coordinators have developed regional extension plans to help identify gaps and new opportunities around extension activities moving forward.

Program delivery

For local information about the project in the NRM regions, please use contact details below:

  • Cape York Region through Cape York NRM: 1300 132 262
  • Wet Tropics Region through Terrain NRM: 07 4043 8000
  • Burdekin Dry Tropics Region (grazing): NQ Dry Tropics 07 4799 3500
  • Burdekin Dry Tropics Region (cane): Department of Agriculture and Fisheries 0447 108 010
  • Mackay Whitsunday Region: through Department of Agriculture and Fisheries 0477 342 946
  • Fitzroy Region through Fitzroy Basin Association 07 4999 2800
  • Burnett Mary Region through Burnett Mary Region Group: 07 4181 2999

A pilot agricultural capacity building project commenced in March 2017 and is made up of 2 components: building capacity in extension training and an extension work placement program.

Training to improve the skills and capability of those providing extension services to farmers is now available and is open to anyone working in this field, including industry development officers, researchers, agricultural advisors, agronomists and consultants.

The second component of the program involves agricultural extension work placement, which offers work placements across the catchments of the Great Barrier Reef to improve the capacity of early career extension officers.

The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and Department of Environment and Science are working in collaboration with Queensland Farmers’ Federation to further increase improvements in land management through enhancing capacity in education and extension sectors.