Innovation grants

​​​Innovation grants have closed​

Innovation g​rants will give farmers, fishers, groups and businesses more tools to implement sustainable practices, reduce farm costs and build productivity.

Innovation is essential to ensuring Australia’s natural resources are managed in a sustainable way and continue to support the communities and businesses that rely upon them.

Grants ranging between $250,000 and $1.5 million were available to help drive the development and adoption of innovative practices across agriculture, fishing, aquaculture and farm forestry.

31 projects worth up to $21.2 million have received funding. The successful projects will give farmers and fishers more tools and provide access to research that will help them reduce farm costs and see greater returns at the farm gate.

Successful innovation grants projects by state

National

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Dairy industry responding to market signals to promote sustainable practices— Dairy Australia Limited Farming Systems Group Incorporated

Funding up to: $341,000 - GST Inc.

This project will assist dairy farmers to access industry best practice fertiliser and soil management advice to help optimise fertiliser application. The project will enable the Australian dairy industry to demonstrate progress against industry sustainability targets whilst adding value to farmer decision-making.

Stage 1 - NRM Spatial Hub - underpinning better management decisions in the Rangelands—South West NRM Ltd

Funding up to: $1,650,000 - GST Inc.

This project will work with land owners and managers and NRM bodies across 12 rangelands regions to implement and demonstrate next-generation spatial information systems, tools, data, and skills, and assist land managers to improve the sustainability of production. The Hub will establish super-sites of over 50,000 sq km in each region where best practice on-line digital farm planning will be demonstrated that incorporates world-leading time-series remote sensing of ground cover that will overcome barriers to long-term monitoring.

Master TreeGrower & Peer Group Mentoring: farm trees for conservation and profit—Australian Agroforestry Foundation

Funding up to: $770,000 – GST Inc.

Using the innovative extension models developed and trialled over 20 years, this project will stimulate investment in revegetation and tree management on farms. Practical science-based knowledge, developing credible information networks and providing guidance that farmers trust - can result in more trees being planted and managed on farms leading to reduced land degradation, improved off-site water quality, increased carbon sequestration and the prospect of increased and more diversified farm income from the sale of native foods, timber, biofuels, tree seed, flowers, honey, essential oils and environmental services.

National Surveillance System for Weeds and Plant Pests: Virtual Coordination Centre—Plant Health Australia Limited

Funding up to: $935,000 – GST Inc.

This project will deliver a 'Virtual Coordination Centre' that will help agricultural industries, community groups and jurisdictions to access and contribute to real-time surveillance information on weeds and plant pests. It will link existing mechanisms, and promote the establishment of new field tools, allowing stakeholders to contribute to and access information via a seamless national weed and pest surveillance system.

Mitigation of Seabird Interactions in the trawl sectors of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF)—South East Trawl Fishing Industry Association Limited

Funding up to: $356,840 – GST Inc.

This project will trial innovative mitigation measures to reduce the number of seabirds getting caught by wires on trawl fishing vessels. The project also aims to educate young skippers in best practice international mitigation techniques and will promote these techniques through port visits and industry workshops.

AusAgLCI - enabling continual improvement of sustainability by life cycle impact assessment—Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

Funding up to: $579,500 – GST Excl.

This project builds on existing research to provide a comprehensive life cycle inventory (LCI) for Australian agriculture. This will allow primary producers to demonstrate sustainable production in a system where environmental assessment is used to aid and drive improvement. The inventory will assist producers to meet marketing requirements and benchmark their production in global markets. It will support an assessment framework that can be consistently applied across industry sectors.

NSW

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Demonstrating the benefits of no-till permanent bed vegetable production—Applied Horticultural Research Pty Ltd

Funding up to: $601,150 – GST Inc.

This project aims to significantly increase the adoption of no-till vegetable production across the industry, to improve soil carbon soil structure and reduce soil-bourne diseases. Best practice properties in North QLD, South East QLD and TAS will be showcased and demonstration sites will be set up in NSW and VIC.

The practical application of state-of-the-art un-manned aerial vehicles and imaging technology to on-farm property management of invasive weeds and pests—Department of Trade & Investment Regional Infrastructure and Services

Funding up to: $700,000 – GST Excl.

This project aims to improve the regional detection of existing and new incursions of invasive species, using un-manned aerial vehicles, in conjunction with high resolution satellite imagery. The results will provide information for land managers to assist them to manage and control weeds on their properties. This innovative method significantly reduces the time between detection and mapping, allowing a quick response to new incursions or previously unidentified invasive species populations.

Advanced seeding systems for enhanced erosion and weed control in broadacre cropping—CANFA Conservation Agriculture & No-till Farming Association Inc

Funding up to: $855,140 – GST Inc.

This project will tackle some of the economic and sustainability issues facing no-till farming systems, including herbicide resistance and dependence on artificial fertilisers. New technologies from the USA and Argentina will be trialled at a number of dryland broadacre sites in NSW and SA to test their performance under Australian conditions. Pathways will be developed with Australian importers and manufacturers and agricultural advisors to help farmers take up these new technologies.

Sustainable Australian Cotton Production Supplying International Markets—Cotton Australia Limited

Funding up to: $422,400 – GST Inc.

This project will modernise the Australian cotton industry's online best practise management system, 'myBMP', to improve on-farm production and natural resource management. The myBMP platform will be modernised to enable farm-level reporting on performance indicators such as fertiliser, pesticide and water use on cotton farms. The new platform will improve reporting to critical audiences including growers, industry and international markets.

NT

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Adaptive Grazing for Sustainable Production Gains: Beetaloo Pilot Phase 2—Barkly Landcare and Conservation Association

Funding up to: $402,820 – GST Inc.

This project will explore ways of sustainably intensifying beef production across the Barkly Tableland (NT) through innovative grazing principles that give greater control of stock distributions, grazing pressure and pasture utilisation. The project will promote broad adoption of management practices that have been shown to increase herd productivity and improve land condition.

QLD

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Adoption of variable rate technology in Queensland's intensive vegetable production systems—Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry

Funding up to: $1,144,400 – GST Excl.

The project will trial innovative variable rate technology to address soil condition and water quality in key Queensland vegetable growing areas, to allow for more efficient and effective nutrient use. A co-ordinated, state-wide extension program will improve producer knowledge and skills. The project will also promote regional engagement and participation in natural resource management activities through partnerships with grower associations and groups.

Reviving soil health using summer legumes as green manure or grain crops—Conservation Farmers Inc

Funding up to: $481,250 – GST Inc.

This project will quantify the benefits and trade-offs of introducing a range of summer legumes as green manures and grain crops, in terms of nitrogen inputs, soil biology, carbon cycling, the incidence of herbicide resistant weeds and pathogens, profits and risks. Activities will include on-farm demonstration trials, field days, and the trialling of innovative information and communication technologies tools.

Polybridge: Bridging a path for industrialisation of polychaete-assisted sand filters—Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry

Funding up to: $279,400 – GST Excl.

This project will assist the aquaculture industry to meet the Queensland requirements for nutrient discharge through a novel wastewater treatment system of polychaete-assisted sand filters (PASF). The project will engage industry, publicise its sustainability benefits, and stimulate uptake by bridging gaps between researchers, regulators and commercial interests.

SA

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Innovative nutrient management for the Australian potato industry—Potatoes South Australia Incorporated

Funding up to: $450,780 – GST Inc.

This project will determine a more efficient method of soil testing in the commercial potato growing industry to enable accurate prediction of soil phosphorus status and availability, leading to better soil health. Annual farm walks will be held at trial sites, along with regular project updates by face-to-face meetings with stakeholders such as industry groups and local potato growers. An app will be developed that will enable growers to insert their test results and target yield potential to determine soil phosphorus requirements.

Water-Jet Seeding for stubble retention, erosion control and soil carbon conservation—Conservation Agriculture Australia Incorporated

Funding up to: $326,700 – GST Inc.

This project will run field days to demonstrate the benefits of seeding using Ultra-High-Pressure Water-Jets. Benefits include retaining optimum soil cover, allowing for precise and timely sowing with minimal soil disturbance and reducing the risk of erosion from wind and water while conserving soil carbon for no-till and zero-till practices.

Future Pathways for Sustainable Horticulture—HortEx Alliance

Funding up to: $525,910 – GST Inc.

This project aims to increase the adoption of a range of innovative grower practices within the Virginia Horticulture Area of SA to increase farmer capacity to adapt to changing climatic conditions. It will focus on industry inputs and practices through complete crop cycles by using a website-based "virtual demonstration farm" concept that is linked to seasonal activities and arranged around practical, hands on, training experiences through field days.

Marginal to Mainstream - rejuvenating productive grass pastures in the Murraylands—South Australian Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board

Funding up to: $962,000 – GST Excl.

This project aims to showcase new, innovative and tested methods of grazing and native grass woodland management in the Murraylands. Demonstration sites will be established across 10,000 hectares showing farmers methods that will improve the productivity and natural resource base of over 170,000 hectares of declining grazing country.

Innovative and cost-effective solutions to the treatment of acid soils in SA—The Agricultural Bureau of South Australia Incorporated

Funding up to: $455,400 – GST Inc.

This project provides innovative and cost-effective solutions to encourage farmers to reduce soil acidity. This includes soil pH mapping to identify areas that require treatment and developing a soil acidity audit decision making tool. Working with farmer groups will allow farmers to make better-informed decisions which will reduce costs and maintain soil health.

Sustainable Farming - Building capacity & working together for productive resource management—South Australian Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board

Funding up to: $876,000 – GST Excl.

This project aims to provide support for primary producers to improve farm planning, management, accountability and long-term productivity. This will be achieved through the adaptation and development of key apps and web tools for information provision and management and use of champion farm enterprises to show-case management across 100 farms and a minimum of 20,000 hectares. The project will greatly improve farm planning, management, accountability and long term productivity, which in turn will improve the natural resource base.

Demonstrating innovative farmer methods for reduced erosion risks, improved phosphate use efficiency and soil carbon accumulation—South Australian No-Till Farmers Association Inc

Funding up to: $319,000 – GST Inc.

This project will promote innovative practices to reduce erosion risks, improved phosphate use efficiency and soil carbon accumulation by working with leading farmers to share cutting-edge concepts with the wider farming community. Demonstration sites will highlight the benefits of proven practices that could be widely adopted by farmers.

Improving environmental health by encouraging entomovectoring in horticultural crops to reduce spray drift and fungicide use—The University of Adelaide

Funding up to: $690,800 – GST Inc.

This project aims to improve soil health and surface and groundwater quality in and around vineyards and cherry orchards in SA. This will be achieved by reducing the number of fungicide sprays, spray drift and off-target sprays through promoting the use of honeybees for the targeted delivery of environmentally friendly antifungal agents to cherry and grape flowers for the control of brown rot in cherries and Botrytis bunch rot in grapes.

TAS

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Sustaining vegetable production with controlled traffic and sub-soil manuring—Tasmanian Agricultural Productivity Group Limited

Funding up to: $1,034,000 – GST Inc.

This project will work towards improving soil health and productivity through adoption of controlled traffic farming and sub-soil manuring in the Tasmanian vegetable industry. The project will work with fresh market and processing companies and vegetable growers to plan and establish large field sites to demonstrate the economic and environmental benefits of controlled traffic farming, combined with sub-soil manuring such as on duplex soils.

VIC

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Innovations in cropping systems - a step-change towards sustainable soil management—Department of Environment and Primary Industries

Funding up to: $694,000 – GST Excl.

This project aims to address declining soil condition and severe subsoil constraints on Victorian cropping farms through demonstrations of controlled traffic farming and subsoil manuring. Project outcomes will include increased adoption of innovative and sustainable practices and increased production through a more engaged, aware and motivated farming community.

Alternate fodder crops for dryland grazing systems - winning the war on erosion—Mallee Catchment Management Authority

Funding up to: $618,000 – GST Excl.

This project will focus on maintaining groundcover in the mixed grazing industry of the Victorian Mallee to reduce soil and nutrient loss through wind erosion. Five trial sites will be established to demonstrate innovative practices, such as using native shrubs as an alternative grazing option and grazing stubble over summer.

Enhancing the farm resource base and profitability through better risk management—Birchip Cropping Group Inc

Funding up to: $1,308,670 – GST Inc.

This project will link state-of-the-art biophysical models with farm business advisory services to create an integrated farm business/management decision support framework. This framework will provide farmers and their advisers with easily accessible know-how and skills to assess risk and make better tactical and strategic land management decisions. It will enable farmers to farm more effectively to the capacity of the land and seasonal conditions. The longer term natural resource management consequences of management strategies will be highlighted in the context of farm profits.

To solve the commercial constraints preventing adoption of subsoil amelioration in South West Vic—Southern Farming Systems Ltd

Funding up to: $515,900 – GST Inc.

This project aims to solve the commercial constraints preventing the adoption of subsoil amelioration in South West VIC. Activities will include paddock-scale farm subsoil manuring demonstrations and refining developmental trial equipment to farm application, as well as presenting a business case for commercialisation by private enterprise.

WA

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Demonstrating principles of ameliorating sub surface pH to improve soil health—Northern Agricultural Catchments Council Incorporated

Funding up to: $650,650 – GST Inc.

This project will change how growers perceive the impact of their liming programs from amending surface pH to having an impact on sub-surface pH. Activities aiming to change perceptions include establishing four large-scale demonstrations showing innovative soil amelioration techniques that incorporate lime to a depth below 10 cm. Complementary extension activities will include field walks, rural press publications and radio discussions.

Increasing sustainable agriculture practice uptake in the Indigenous landholder estate—Western Australian Agriculture Authority

Funding up to: $604,100 – GST Excl.

This project aims to increase uptake of sustainable agriculture practice by Indigenous land managers. This will be done by integrating community engagement with scientific analysis of Indigenous owned and managed properties and combining traditional and scientific knowledge to better plan sustainable agriculture enterprises on those properties.

Cattle responses to EcoFire as a management tool - demonstrating the benefits—Rangelands NRM Co-ordinating Group (Inc.)

Funding up to: $818,290 – GST Inc.

This project will demonstrate the EcoFire program to Kimberley pastoralists to help reduce the impacts of wildfires on the land and improve productivity. Using remote sensing technologies (satellite images and GPS-collars), this project will demonstrate to pastoralists how cattle respond to EcoFire management and utilise burnt and unburnt areas. The project aims to promote more sustainable grazing practices, maximise productivity and minimise environmental impacts such as erosion and over-grazing.

Managing feed supply and groundcover in rangelands through nutritional shepherding—Rangelands NRM Co-ordinating Group (Inc.)

Funding up to: $925,320 – GST Inc.

This project will provide and test new low-cost techniques for managing grazing pressure in the rangelands. It will apply nutritional shepherding to manage movement and grazing behaviour within large paddocks. Expected outcomes include increased groundcover and livestock productivity in the Rangelands of WA, as well as protecting the natural resource base.

More information

For more information, please email Innovation Grants