Paul Debrincat share-farms with Craig and Jade Buchanan as a part of the LMB Group of farms. He manages the 85-hectare Nerada Farm for LMB on the banks of the North Johnstone River, just west of Innisfail.
After the acquisition of the land parcel, Paul had the job of redeveloping the land that had grown bananas some time ago.
The area takes in many land parcels, with both river flats and undulating red soils. The challenge was to strategically redesign the farm around the gullies and the general terrain.
Paul approached me to inquire about the availability of a Reef Grant. He wanted assistance with the funding of the works required to set up the farm to minimise the loss of soil from the productive area adjacent to the North Johnstone River.
Grant applications were prepared in 2014 for laser levelling/contouring for Round 6 of the Reef Grants and then sediment traps for Round 7. Paul was considered a worthy candidate for both rounds and the projects began.
With the guidance of LMB principal Craig Buchanan and others, Paul designed the farm layout to laser and then contour the rows to minimize the rate of slope within the row. After rainfall, this slows the rate of water flow and reduces the soil movement within the row.
There were immediately impressive results from the laser levelling and contouring work completed with the Round 6 grant.
Even before there was time to establish ground cover, I observed that after a thunder storm with heavy rain, soil movement was minimal.
Later on, the laser levelling and contouring combined with the established grass inter-rows has significantly reduced run-off from this property.
The Round 7 project placed two sediment traps at appropriate locations on the farm as a “last line of defence” to collect any sediment that may leave the contoured and grassed banana paddocks before flowing into the North Johnstone River.
Now the farm is set up to minimize the loss of sediment from the productive area of the farm, Paul is looking to gain funding to assist with the minimizationof the loss of nutrients with the use of automated fertigation.
This will enable Paul to apply nutrients to the banana plants when required and minimise losses through leaching and possible run-off.
With excellent results achieved for the farm, Paul said he was grateful for the assistance received from Terrain and ABGC in accessing the Australian Government Reef Grants for these co-funded projects.