Green compost benefits farmers and the reef….

Green compost could be the key to reducing runoff onto the Great Barrier Reef and increasing profits for farmers, according to Regional Development Australia Tropical North Chief Executive Officer Sonja Johnson.

Regional Development Australia Tropical North has sent a case study on a Lakeland banana farm’s use of green compost to the Federal Government after completing a three-year feasibility study into the commercial production of green waste for agriculture.

 Ms Johnson said the study, undertaken by Central Queensland University, Price Waterhouse Coopers and Outsource Management, found agricultural producers were generally supportive of green waste compost to help reduce runoff and meet their environmental obligations.

“Lakeland banana farmer Peter Inderbitzin began successfully composting green waste from his farm to supplement the use of chemical fertiliser and improve the soil more than 13 years ago,” Ms Johnson said.

“Our study supported his experience that using green compost would increase fruit production, reduce water usage, and extend crop life.

“It would also reduce the amount of chemical fertiliser required and overcome reliance on fertilisers, such as urea which comes from the Ukraine and Russia, which were currently experiencing supply chain interruptions.

“Green compost seems like the perfect circular economy solution. However, the study found there is a shortage of green compost with much of it going into landfill as it is contaminated with plastics or other waste like glass and metal.

“To overcome potential biosecurity risks, the raw material needs to be pasteurised into compost before it can be used.

“The cost of transporting raw material to a compost facility and the resulting commercial compost to the farm gate is a limitation.

“This could be overcome by upskilling farmers to undertake treatment on their own property rather than sending it to a processing plant and return., particularly if that plant is more than 150km away from the farm gate. 

“Further work is required to encourage uptake and increase the availability of green waste compost on a commercial scale which would require trials for different crops and the possibility of growing crops specifically to be used in compost manufacture.

“Regional Development Australia Tropical North is in discussions with the Federal Government to seek funding for the next stage to be led by the Queensland Farmers Federation in consortium with peak industry groups and Natural Resource Management groups in the Great Barrier Reef catchment area.”

Comprehensive reports and data from the past three years of critical research, analysis, cooperation and collaboration are now publicly available on the RDA Tropical North website.


Media Contact: 

RDATN CEO, Sonja Johnson – 0493 080 143