Cane growers and scientists will gather in Cairns in November to discuss new ideas for reducing nitrogen runoff into the waters of the Great Barrier Reef.

The ‘Innovative Nitrogen Use in Sugarcane’ Forum will provide a space for growers, scientists and industry to discuss the role nitrogen plays in both the sugar cane enterprise and the health of the Great Barrier Reef.

High nitrogen levels are linked to many major reef health impacts including algae blooms, starfish outbreaks, coral reproduction problems and potentially increased susceptibility to bleaching.

Nitrogen-based fertilizer is also a primary operational cost for cane farmers, making the reduction of fertilizer waste an important objective for the industry.

Leading cane growers will bring their viewpoints and expertise to the forum, alongside other major industry players, the industry peak body CANEGROWERS, and Sugar Research Australia.

Multiple Tropical Water Quality Hub projects dealing with nitrogen use will be presented, including Project 25 (promoting behavioural change through fine-scale water quality monitoring), Project 3.1.2 (using Internet of Things technology to improve irrigation management) and Project 2.1.8 (trialing enhanced efficiency fertilizers for reducing total nitrogen use). The Six Easy Steps toolbox will also be discussed.

The forum will be held at the Pullman Reef Hotel Casino in Cairns on November 7-8.

The Reef and Rainforest Research Centre is the primary organising body for the forum.


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