Nitrate buster trialled on far-north Queensland farms to avoid run-off to Great Barrier Reef
Farmers build bioreactors on their farms to reduce run-off of fertilisers that have been blamed for declining coral health.
Key points:Bioreactors, made up of trench systems dug around sugarcane fields, are being tested at Queensland farmsIt is hoped they will act as a potential solution to nitrogen run-off from farms into the Great Barrier ReefMany farmers still dispute that they are at fault for the allegations of nitrogen run-off levelled at them
Six bioreactors are being built around Tully and Innisfail under the Wet Tropics Major Integrated Project, a $15-million Queensland Government project delivered by Terrain NRM.A 10-metre trench dug between sugarcane paddocks and a nearby drain will trap water running from the field, where it will slowly filter through woodchips where bacteria strip it of any nitrates.
Bioreactor expert with Australian Wetland Consulting, Mark Bayley, said the invention mimics natural processes, to denitrify the water."It's a carbon-rich, oxygen-poor environment — essentially it will be like a giant peaty swamp," he said.
"The bacteria, bugs that you can't see, they're using the nitrate as food, [this] is the simplest way to describe it."Nitrogen gas will then seep up through the reactor and into the atmosphere."I think it'll get rid of 80 to 95 per cent of the nitrate."
Unknown quantityWhile science has detected nitrogen making its way to the Coral Sea, uncertainty still surrounds the actual amounts leaving from paddocks."We just don't have a good handle on how much nitrate is in there when it comes off the paddocks, if it comes off in large volumes," Mr Bayley said.Read more: ABC News »
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This is how aquaponics systems convert fish waste into food for the plants, so those trenches could also carry a secondary crop.
Fatal boating accidentTwo men have been found dead in a catamaran drifting off the central Queensland coast.
Two men found dead inside drifting boat off Queensland coastA 39-year-old man from Emerald and a 59-year-old man from the Mackay area are found dead inside a twin-hulled power boat. Wow this is sad. Two men found dead inside power boat off Queensland coast. 🇳🇿😒😮
Two men found dead on board drifting boat in QueenslandPolice have launched an investigation after discovering the bodies of two men on board a boat found drifting in waters off Queensland’s coast.
'Great actor, great guy': Paul Cronin dies at 81Best known for his role in The Sullivans, he won five silver Logies and starred in many Australian television shows.
Insect farming a new source of income during the droughtA Riverland family is diversifying and farming crickets.
Australian actor Paul Cronin dies at 81Known for his role on The Sullivans TV soap opera and founding AFL team the Brisbane bears, Paul Cronin has been remembered as a 'great actor [and] great guy'. Oh God I remember when he came up Main Steeet Murwillumbah on a float at the banana festival. Our big celebrity. I suppose I was 14. Circa 1978-9 Anyway, RIP. R.I.P. 🙏🙏🙏