CANEGROWERS has welcomed the announcement of almost $8 million in funding from the Queensland Government, which the peak group says will really kick along the efficiency of water use in the agricultural sector.
Water is a major cost of farming for thousands of sugarcane growers across Queensland who rely on the precious resource to grow their crop.
"As one of the largest irrigators of crops in Queensland, we know that getting the most out of every last drop of water is crucial to farm profitability," Canegrowers CEO Brendan Stewart said.
"But it goes beyond that. Efficient use of water is also good for environmental guardianship, which is something the sugarcane industry has really scaled up in recent years, and prides itself on.
"The good news for farmers is that new technologies are continually evolving.
Mr Stewart said these new and more efficient technologies were expensive and programs such as that announced by the State Government went a long way to helping farmers afford to upgrade to more efficient systems sooner than they otherwise would have been able.
While growers will still need to put many thousands of dollars towards the new technology out of their own pockets, Canegrowers said the funding from the government was a real leg up in helping make adoption more affordable and getting more water projects in place sooner.
Mr Stewart said the foresight of Natural Resources and Mines Minister Andrew Cripps, in driving this important project forward, was to be commended, and showed real leadership in the government's commitment to building agriculture as one of the pillars of the Queensland economy.
Mr Stewart said the funding announced under the State Government's Rural Water Use Efficiency for Irrigation Futures had been designed to target areas where the greatest change could be achieved soonest.
"For the sugarcane industry this is recognition by the government of some of the biggest issues in water use for our industry," he said.
"In some areas that means support for modifying irrigation systems, in others, soil moisture monitoring to assist irrigators to better schedule irrigation.
"In one of biggest sugarcane growing areas in the state - the Burdekin - support is being channelled into addressing problematic rising groundwater which is potentially causing salinity and reducing farm productivity in the area."
Mr Stewart said Mr Cripps and his team were to be commended on the proactive program.
"Farmers are always on the lookout for new technologies which will help them utilise existing resources to the best advantage," he said.
"This program helps them to get these systems in place sooner which is a win for the farmer, a win for the environment and a win for the community."