The Mossman and Murray river catchments are on course to meet their reef water quality targets with a new $5.6 million investment announced by the federal government.
The multi-million dollar investment will build on previous water quality initiatives and support farmers with land management practice changes to reduce runoff of nutrients, sediment and pesticides.
Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley announced the project on Monday, June 7, which is funded by the Australian government's Reef Trust and delivered by Terrain NRM, Mossman Agricultural Services and Canegrowers Tully.
"The new project will focus on helping sugarcane growers to minimise the loss of excess nutrients by matching fertiliser applications to crop requirements," Ms Ley said.
Terrain NRM CEO Stewart Christie welcomed the additional investment and said the project was targeting win-win solutions for farming businesses and water quality.
"These catchments have already made really good progress towards the current catchment targets within Australia's Reef 2050 Plan, with farmers adopting best management practices for water quality and implementing a variety of changes," Mr Christie said.
"This initiative is a boost to help reach targets, in both water quality and productivity."
Agricultural extension officers and agribusiness providers will work with cane farmers to identify factors inhibiting the uptake of fertiliser by plants.
Canegrowers Tully manager Peter Lucy said constraints included compacted soils, sandy soils, weeds and poor drainage.
"The more we can help farmers address these constraints to their crop yields, the more we can prevent excess fertiliser losses running off into waterways," Mr Lucy said.
"The solution is different for every farm so it's important to provide one-on-one support to farmers to identify and address their individual crop constraints."