Extension services in reef catchments
The department offers a range of extension services and programs, many funded through the Queensland Reef Water Quality Program, to support growers and graziers to adopt more sustainable and profitable 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.
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.
The Grazing Resilience and Sustainable Solutions (GRASS) program works with beef producers in the Burdekin, Fitzroy and Burnett Mary regions to deliver tailored land-management plans to help address land in poor or degraded condition. The program is funded through the Queensland Government’s Reef Water Quality Program and delivered by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF), Burnett Mary Regional Group, Fitzroy Basin Association and NQ Dry Tropics. Extension officers from these groups provide support and information to graziers in each region.
Grazing Futures assists graziers to recover from drought and be better equipped to prepare for and manage future droughts as an every-day part of their business.
FutureBeef is another source of information and events for graziers throughout northern Australia.
Our coastal farming systems team works in the Burnett Mary, Mackay, Burdekin and Wet Tropics regions to help sugarcane farmers adopt holistic management systems which deliver water quality, production and sustainable outcomes. The team works closely with various research organisations, productivity service boards, natural resource management bodies and industry bodies such as CANEGROWERS, in particular supporting the delivery of CANEGROWERS' Smartcane Best Management Practice (BMP) program.
We also have a team of grains extension officers and grains economists working with growers to help them improve business and environmental outcomes. The team is particularly focussed on grain production in the reef catchments of the Fitzroy, Burdekin and Burnett Mary regions.
In the Wet Tropics we have extension officers supporting the Australian Banana Growers’ Council Banana BMP program. They provide research and extension services to growers to improve business and environmental outcomes.
We have a team of horticultural research and extension officers working with growers in multiple industries in target reef catchments to help identify science-based options for management practice change, which maintain business profitability and deliver environmental outcomes for reef water quality.
Agricultural economic analysis
DAF agricultural economists work with farmers and industry stakeholders to assess the costs and benefits of different management practices and systems to improve decision-making and increase the adoption of profitable and sustainable practices. Resources are available in the following publication sets for sugarcane, grazing, bananas and grains.
The Enhanced Extension Coordination program in the Great Barrier Reef 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 six reef 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. They have developed regional extension plans to identify gaps and new opportunities and have also developed collaboration strategies to expand regional extension networks and improve coordination and collaboration.
The program includes a focus on building capacity in extension through training and an agricultural extension work placement program.