Compost for a Farming Future

Overview

Over 10 years ago, Lakeland banana farmer, Peter Inderbitzin, began composting green waste from his farms and Cairns Regional Council Transfer Station to supplement the use of chemical fertiliser and improve the soil.

It has since become evident that the use of compost has a much wider application as the benefits have far exceeded initial expectations.

After a decade, results indicate:

  • 60% reduction in use of chemical fertiliser
  • 35% increase in production
  • 9 fold increase in soil organic matter
  • 30% reduction in water consumption
  • 19% saving in energy cost

Comparative work done by the Cape York NRM indicates a significant reduction in sediment and runoff after application of compost and an increase in organic matter. Trials elsewhere by DAF indicate a correlation between pasture health and a reduction in soil and sediment runoff (DAF Wombinoo Trials 2016).

The Hon David Littleproud MP awarded RDA Tropical North (then known as RDA FNQ&TS) $750,000 (GST incl.) over the next three years to undertake research/analysis and a feasibility study into the production of green-waste compost for use in agriculture.

CQUniversity has completed an independent analysis of current data (Phase I) with Phase II, the development of a feasibility study and business case to determine whether the existing model in Biboohra, can be replicated along the east cost of Queensland Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton and Bundaberg being undertaken by PwC.

The project will identify the cost/ benefit to:

  • the agriculture industry;
  • the Great Barrier Reef; and
  • the disposal of green waste

The project is due for completion in September 2021.