Media Release

Making farming smarter: killer honeybees, fertilisers and other tools

14 January 2014

New on-the-ground projects will give farmers more tools and research to help them reduce farm costs and see greater returns at the farmgate.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said 31 new projects were being funded across Australia as part of the Australian Government’s $21.2 million dollar Innovation Grants.

“These grants have been awarded to a range of industry and research organisations, it’s all about developing tools to reduce input costs and generate better returns at the farmgate, while making sure our natural resources are here to support future generations,” Minister Joyce said.

“The sort of innovation these grants support has been integral to the development of our agricultural industries and will continue to be integral as we work together to secure a more profitable and vibrant future for our producers.

“In South Australia the University of Adelaide will be working with cherry growers to look at the use of honeybees to potentially reduce fungicide sprays, spray drift and off-target sprays—in layman’s terms turning honeybees into weeds killers,” Minister Joyce said.

Grain growers in Southern Australia will benefit through a project being run by Birchip Cropping Group to give farmers new tools to farm according to the capacity of the land and seasonal conditions, helping them make better strategic decisions.

“In New South Wales, one of the grants to Cotton Australia will go toward their myBMP online system which helps cotton farmers report on fertiliser, pesticide and water usage. This system is helping our cotton industry be more competitive in the global marketplace, continuing their good track record on water and fertiliser usage.

“Dairy farmers will also benefit from funding to Dairy Australia to help the dairy industry better manage and understand their fertiliser application, with the aim of reducing fertiliser usage. I know this is a big cost for the dairy industry and research in this area will be appreciated.

“I look forward to seeing the results of these projects and practical tools and research to help farmers,” Minister Joyce said.

A full list of projects is available at www.daff.gov.au/innovationgrants